THE MACLEAN'S INTERVIEW

‘WHAT WE SAY HAS AN ECHO IN THE WEST’

BENOIT AUBIN October 11 2004
THE MACLEAN'S INTERVIEW

‘WHAT WE SAY HAS AN ECHO IN THE WEST’

BENOIT AUBIN October 11 2004

TOP 10 PHYSICAL WORKPLACES

Not the place you’d expect to find a top-notch space to work: an open-pit and underground mine complex in the Subarctic. But the Ekati diamond mine, 300 km northeast of Yellowknife, attracts workers with an appetite for adventure. Most of its 850 employees work two weeks on, two weeks off at the mines or the ore-processing facility. They make biweekly commutes on companypaid flights from Yellowknife and First Nations communities throughout the N.W.T. What’s so great about this place? Caribou roam the treeless tundra beyond. Summer days are endless. Billiton compensates for the isolation with free board in private rooms with baths, pay and benefits above industry norm, and academic and career training. Workers also have what’s been called the best recreation centre north of Edmonton, with Internet access, squash, basketball, golf simulators, saunas, even yoga classes. Why the emphasis on exercise? Consider the dinner menu from a recent Monday:

1. Radical Entertainment Inc., Vancouver

2. Intuit Canada Ltd., Edmonton

3. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., Cambridge, Ont.

4. Algorithmics Inc., Toronto

5. IBM Canada Ltd., Markham, Ont.

6. BHP Billiton Diamonds lnc„ Vancouver

7. General Dynamics Canada Ltd., Ottawa

8. Telvent Canada Ltd., Calgary

9. BioWare Corp., Edmonton

10. Zenon Environmental Inc., Oakville, Ont.

Salad bar. Savory chicken, spare ribs, chicken balls, egg rolls, chow mein, fried rice, potatoes with gravy, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, pizzas, macaroni and cheese, fettuccini, assorted burgers. Dessert. The menu is often augmented with such local fare as caribou and musk-ox. All you can eat. And all free.

KEN MACQUEEN