The president of the NWT Chamber of Commerce has given Dominion Diamond Corporation ‘an epic fail’ for its decision to move its corporate office outside of Yellowknife.
The company announced on Monday that its office will be relocating to Calgary in an effort to cut costs.
The decision will impact 100 employees based in the Northwest Territories, though it remains to be seen what exactly that means.
Richard Morland says he was ‘profoundly disappointed’ by the announcement, especially at a time when the resource industry is struggling.
“The effect in the Yellowknife community, I think, will be significant,” he told Moose FM.
“I’m just not happy that the company has seen fit to abandon the principles on which it was founded.
“We take people at their word when they say they stand for a certain set of principles and they seem to have abandoned those principles.”
The relocation is expected to be completed by the middle of 2017 and save the company $19 million annually.
But Morland says the move sends a bad message and shows a lack of commitment to the North.
“When we lose the voices of senior leaders of resource companies in the North, that means that those voices are no longer in the conversation,” he said.
“I would give the board of Dominion an epic fail on recognizing the strategic importance of having their senior leaders in the North.
“Some of [the employees affected by this] will leave town for good and they’ll take their families with them so that means less money being spent in the community.”
Morland, who is also a former chief operating officer for Ekati when it was owned by BHP Billiton, says the decision goes against everything Dominion was founded on.
He says it’s time for the territorial government to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to attracting and retaining business.
“I think [the government] needs to take notice of what’s going on and start to act in a way that’s consistent with the rhetoric they’re talking about in terms of the territory being open for business.”
Despite Monday’s announcement, Dominion says it will maintain an office in Yellowknife for ‘certain key positions’.
Meanwhile, operations at the Ekati diamond mine – which the company owns – will continue uninterrupted and development of the Jay deposit will also be maintained.