Yellowknife isn’t called the land of opportunity for nothing, and Fred Deschenes believes that coming to the North is an adventure, one that he helps people around the world to embark upon.
Deschenes is the president of the board of directors for a Francophone organization called ‘Conseil de développement économique des Territoires du Nord-Ouest’ (CDETNO).
They help to develop the economy of the Northwest Territories through various programs but they are primarily focused on bringing people to the North.
“It takes on a Francophone and Francophile approach (for) various reasons,” said Deschenes. “One of (the reasons) is ensuring that capacity is maintained in the North.”
He said that they approach Canadians and the rest of the world with programming, immigration, entrepreneurship, investments, tourism, and so on.
He says that the organization, through their programs, not only help Francophones to connect to the North quickly, but everyone with an interest in giving the North a shot.
“Everybody should benefit from our recruitment efforts.”
Deschenes believes that part of the appeal of the North are the opportunities for employment and personal growth.
“There’s opportunities that are in the North that are not (available) elsewhere, or at least not in Canada.
“The cost of living is higher but the opportunity to make more money is also a little bit better.”
He said that the Francophone population is a small but important part of the economic fabric of the Northwest Territories.
“It’s my role and responsibility to make sure that the organization is known across the board for both employers and employees and that’s where we’re at for economic development at this point,” he said. “It’s the organization and the benefit of the people in the Territory that counts.”
CDETNO was created by a group of Francophones in 2001 that were interested in extending the opportunities offered in the NWT to French-speaking people.
The following year, the group developed a three-year plan to develop the economy within the NWT Francophone community.
In 2003, they became an independent non-profit organization under their current label, CDETNO.
Among CDETNO’s many services, they offer employment assistance and training which helps people interested in coming to the North find jobs and improve as employees. Some examples of that services is computer lab training, help writing a resume, career coaching, and so on.
People interested in their programs can learn more on their website.