Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 20, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Lac La Biche County was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2018):
- Lac La Biche County provides maternity leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, to 100% of salary for up to 15 weeks, and offers a variety of flexible working arrangements to help them balance their work and personal lives
- Lac La Biche County offers the convenience of subsidized access to a shared use fitness facility onsite at its primary office -- the facility features a variety of equipment, a basketball court and Zumba and bootcamp classes, making it easier for employees to stay in shape
- As part of the organization's health plan, employees receive a health spending account of up to $750 per year, allowing them to top up coverage according to their personal needs
Lac La Biche County: A big place with a big heart
When senior employees come to Lac La Biche County from other parts of the world to join the municipal government, Shadia Amblie shows them the highlights: the NHL-sized hockey rinks, for example, the new high school, the religious centres, the running track and, farther out of town, a few of the 152 lakes in the 13,700-sq-km region, ideal for fishing, boating, hiking and just getting away from it all.
If they haven't found a place to live, Amblie takes them to the Airport House, transitional housing where they can live with their families for a month or two, equipped with everything from furniture and high-speed Internet to pots and pans in the kitchen.
"We want them to settle in," says Amblie, the county's Chief Administrative Officer.
Having grown up in Lac La Biche with seven siblings, Amblie guides her visitors through the area with knowledge and pride, drawing attention not just to its physical attractions but to its cultural attributes, as well.
"We have many different nationalities who came here to start new lives," she says. "We're unique. We're one of the few rural Albertan communities of this size with both a mosque and a college."
It's the job of Amblie and the county staff of almost 170 employees to serve their community, under the direction of a nine-member council, attending to everything from fire services and environmental programs to waste management and economic development.
For Angie Schaub, employment with the county enables her to put her skills and experience to good use as the county's Payroll Coordinator without leaving the place where she grew up. "There are other jobs outside the community that pay well," says Schaub, who has 20 years of experience with provincial and municipal governments, "but this one allows me to sleep in my own bed, see my family every day, and feel that I'm part of the community."
Schaub and her husband, an independent contractor, live on 3.5 acres outside the town. "Good jobs like this one, with stability and benefits, are hard to find in this economy," she says.
Newer staff from out of town share Schaub's and Amblie's enthusiasm for Lac La Biche. "The majority who have come and stayed at the Airport House are still here," Amblie says. "In municipal government, you're in a position to make a difference, and I think our staff does a great job."