ABSTRACT

In many cases, the location of mineral or oil and gas reserves dictates that there is no alternative but to create a temporary site to house workers for the duration of the mine or field lifespan. The use of fly-in/fly-out work arrangements in Canada has grown steadily since the 1960s and has essentially replaced the traditional resource town as the preferred settlement option for new resource development. Indeed no new, purpose-built, resource towns have been constructed since Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia (BC) in the early 1980s. Positive aspects of the fly-in/flyout phenomenon include the potential to reduce the ecological footprint associated with town site development, reduction of social and economic disruption in the event of closure and the spread of economic benefits and increased lifestyle choices for members of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities who may be reluctant to leave their home communities and territories for reasons of family or place. On the negative side, however, there are legitimate concerns raised by communities regarding the potential severing of industry-community ties, and of relative abandonment by senior governments that has created a particular policy vacuum related to fly-in/fly-out operations.