Transiency, Fly-In/Fly-Out Workers, and Sustainability: Perceptions From Within a Resource-Based Community

The dynamics of the modern workforce required for large industrial development has changed over the last several decades. More specifically, many companies based in oil and gas extraction are opting to adopt a fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) workforce model, in particular those based on the extraction and production of oil and gas, in an attempt to minimize infrastructure costs and alter the cyclic boom/bust nature associated with resource extraction.

Using semistructured interviews with key informants from Fort McMurray, Alberta, perhaps the most notorious resource-based community in Canadian history, this paper details how residents perceive the FIFO workers and what effects this new employment strategy may have on their community.

The primary findings indicate that, while it is necessary to have access a large workforce, the use of FIFO workers negatively affects the local community in several ways. First, the use of FIFO workers not only reduces the interaction that employees have with the nearby community but also alters their perception of that community. Second, FIFO workers access local infrastructure (e.g., healthcare) but do not support further development through taxes and discretionary income. Third, the transiency of FIFO workers affects place-attachment and long-term sustainability of the region.

This research contributes to existing literature on resource-based communities, sustainable urban development, and FIFO employment through use of a Canadian case-study that illustrates local experiences of the effects of a relatively new employment model that has the potential to affect resource-based communities significantly.

Find the full paper here.



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