A commitment to helping fund education has helped a Peace River pulp mill earn a spot on the 2019 list of Alberta’s Top Employers. Mercer Peace River Pulp Ltd. was one of 75 companies based in Alberta chosen by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers project.

Employers are evaluated on criteria like work atmosphere, health benefits, employee communications, and community involvement. Indigenous and Community Engagement Facilitator at Mercer Peace River Amber Armstrong says the achievement is a nod to the hard work of everyone associated with the pulp mill.

“For us, it’s a reflection of what they do in health and safety, what they do in performance management when we work in the landscape and we work in the mills. It’s a huge recognition to say, ‘you’ve done a great job and other people can actually understand that.'”

In particular, it’s noted that Mercer offers academic scholarships for children of employees who are interested in post-secondary studies. Armstrong says $2,000 is available for each.

“It really does make a difference to our team members, because how we support their children is a reflection of how they support our workplace.”

Two other $2,000 scholarships are also offered for students going into environmental or boreal forest studies and for students going into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The goal, Armstrong believes, is to encourage them to pursue careers that keep them in the Peace Country.

“Stay in touch and mentor these students, then they’ll come back to the north and they’ll continue to contribute. I really think it’s an investment that has long-term returns.”

Daishowa-Marubeni International’s Peace River Pulp Division was part of a recent acquisition by Mercer International. It formally changed its name to Mercer Peace River Pulp Ltd. at the beginning of February.