by John Copley
Kevin Montour, owner/operator of Maskwacis-based, Nautuasis Safety Services Ltd. established his company on January 1, 2014. The 49 year old entrepreneur knew that he wanted to contribute to the province’s growing workforce by providing something that he both prioritized and practiced – work site safety . He had more than 20 years experience under his belt in a variety of industries that all had that one thing in common.
“Safety,” noted Montour, “is the singularly most important factor of almost any job you can name, especially when it comes to outdoor activity and working in one of the many trades-related industries in Alberta.”
That’s one of the main reasons he set out to establish a company that emphasizes safety by providing a unique variety of safety training programs, courses and initiatives.
“We as Aboriginal people want to participate equally in the workforce,” stressed Montour. “We also want to help ensure that every Aboriginal person who wants to participate in the trades-related fields – including oil and gas, mining, forestry and construction – has the ability to do so. The best way to begin that process is to apply for work and then see us to ensure that all of your requirements as far as safety is concerned, are met. Companies and contractors can also call us when they have men and women that need training in safety procedures and protocols.”
The training offered at Nautuasis is available to anyone interested in taking it, but the company does work closely with the province’s Indigenous communities because Montour’s goal “is to help ensure that as many Aboriginal people that want to work, and are able to work, get the opportunity to do so.”
Safety is a priority throughout Alberta’s and Canada’s trades-related industries and Nautuasis offers training programs that ensure employees are able to understand and comply with the health and safety regulations set down by both smaller privately owned business and large corporations throughout Alberta’s various economic sectors.
“We began by providing safety ticket training to members of the Maskwacis First Nations of Treaty 6, as well as to the surrounding communities, including Treaties 7 and 8,” explained Montour. “We have become quite busy over the last year and half and do have some expansion plans in mind at the moment. We are currently involved in general first aid training, training for camp jobs, firefighter first aid training, wilderness first aid, WHMIS, H2S Alive and CSTS (Construction Safety Training System) which provides an overview that covers all industries via a 15-part module that ensures participants fully understand the safety rules and regulations in industries throughout the country. We provide national and global certification and safety service training for individuals seeking new employment, starting new careers, and entering or re-entering the trades. We also offer advanced skills and knowledge programs that help to enhance an individual’s knowledge about the importance of safety issues and compliance.”
In addition to the safety module mentioned earlier, Nautuasis also offers training in confined space rescue, confined space-entry/monitor, combined packages confined space EMR, fall protection, flagger training, ground disturbance II, Red Cross First Aid CPR.AED Level C, ESTS (electrical safety training systems), and PCST (pipeline construction safety training).
Nautuasis is a mobile company and takes its safety training programs out to other communities – and that includes a specialized training module that can help business ventures that are in need of COR (Certification of Recognition) to attain the required certification.
“Our training programs,” explained Montour, “are relatively inexpensive and depending on the program cost between $75 and $175 per client; group rates apply when we have 10 or more participants.”
The various training modules run anywhere from five days to more than a month.
Driver training is a new training module and one that Montour wants to have up and running by the end of the year.
“We have a new instructor who will be joining us in the immediate future,” noted Montour. “William Giroux will head up our new driving academy and will provide instruction and training in everything from learners to graduate licenses, including Class 1 and Class 3 (airbrakes). He will also instruct a course on Oilfield Defensive Driving (ODA).”
Nautuasis is currently interested in bringing more Aboriginal instructors on board; if you have expertise in any of the province’s trades-related fields and are looking for an exciting new challenge contact Kevin for more information.
Montour works with the various agencies and employment centres to recruit clients for his training programs. One of these centres, the Maskwacis Employment Centre Society (MEC), has already referred numerous clients to Nautuasis for training. The results have been good.
“We are very pleased that Kevin has opened his doors and offers his services here at Maskwacis,” assured MEC Manager Lana Johnson. “Last year we had over 3,000 people come through our doors looking for employment opportunities. Last month alone we had more than 200. There is a need for Kevin’s services and we are getting a lot of positive feedback.”
Trisha Wildcat is one of three Job Coaches who works out of the MEC offices in Maskwacis; she is working with Montour and the clients sent to him by MEC.
On holidays and unavailable for comment, Wildcat’s input was briefly described by Johnson.
“Our job coaches,” she explained, “are a type of service provider for our clients. They help our clients prepare themselves for the job market by working with them on resumes, letter-writing and interview preparation. They also work on a client’s interview skills to help ensure that once they are in front of an employer they are able to communicate effectively.”
From October last year until September this year MEC saw 4733 clients; 1026 were new clients.
With his varied and accomplished background, Kevin Montour is a man of many talents. He’s an accredited National Construction Safety Officer and a ticketed journeyman with years of experience in water and waste management and oilfield services. A qualified EMS (Emergency Medical Services) technician, Montour is also a qualified Field Operator in the oil and gas industry, a long and short distance big rig truck driver, and for eight years the owner of a busy towing company that was one of the first Aboriginal on-reserve towing operators to contract with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). He’s also put in many hours getting informed and bringing his own skill levels to where he needs them to be. As an instructor, he assured, “you need to be fully up-to-date” with all of the regulations.
“I’ve worked hard over the years and I’ve spent a great deal of time upgrading my personal and business skills,” noted Montour, whose company “is making a positive difference both on the job site and in the community. Once again, it’s about gaining a better footing in Canada’s various economic opportunities; to do that Aboriginal people must be trained and prepared for the roles that face them. I thank God every day for his guidance and his blessings; without his help our success would be incomplete.”
Montour acknowledged that for many years First Nations leaders didn’t realize that workers from their communities, whether they worked on or off reserve land, were required to receive the same safety training and have the same safety knowledge as any other worker. He said that because reserve lands and Aboriginal people are federally legislated they had no idea that when it came to working conditions, First Nations, Métis and Inuit workers had to comply with the same rules as everyone else.
“According to the OH&S Act, Regulation and Code legislation, we are all equal when it comes to safety protocol, so with that understanding we felt it was our duty to educate our First Nations people. We, like all Canadians, must maintain and honour the accountability that comes with safe work practices; we are all in this together.”
After being hired in one of the industrial sectors, some employees will require additional training before certain jobs can be offered; the guidelines may vary between companies, depending on the type of work they are recruiting for.
“When additional training is required,” assured Montour, “we are there to help. The basic safety training that we offer will get you hired in most cases, but sometimes that isn’t enough and when it isn’t we will be there to bring you up to date on pretty much any additional safety training you may require.”
With an impressive list of credentials at his fingertips, Kevin Montour has the ingredients he needs to succeed, and that’s what he’s been doing since he first opened for business. His company’s qualifications include the fact that he is registered and certified to instruct for organizations and businesses that include the Alberta Construction Safety Association, Alberta Certified Peer Health and Safety Auditor, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering and more.
To learn more about Nautuasis Safety Services Ltd., or to enrol your employees or clients into one or more of the unique preparedness and training programs offered by the company, contact Kevin at 780-585-0303 or [email protected].