The Evolution of Workforce Placement

Born and raised in Rexton, New Brunswick, Shannon Warren moved to Vancouver in the late 1990s to work as a house framer. A few years later, in the early 2000s, he relocated to Calgary for something the city is famous for – job opportunities. Today, job opportunities form the framework of Warren’s business, Matrix Labour Leasing Ltd., a full-service human resource company.

Founded in 2002, Matrix grew from the ground up. Warren was working on the SAIT Polytechnic Heritage Hall project when his employer asked him to source more local carpenters. “Having lived in Calgary for a couple of years at that time, I knew a few guys,” says Warren. “When the workers I recruited came on to the project, the company asked me to handle the billing for their hours.” It was a new experience for Warren, but it didn’t take him long to recognize the need for such a service for other construction companies. “It just made sense to turn the concept into a business,” he adds.

Nearly 13 years later, Matrix has become a trusted source of skilled trades for firms across Canada. The company has connected workers with contractors for iconic projects such as the West LRT Calgary transit line, the southeast leg of the Calgary Ring Road, and the BHP Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan.

Now, Matrix has launched a powerful, robust, online community called Matrix Connect. It’s a social media-like platform that has streamlined the way employers and jobseekers can connect, with a simplified one-click application process, improving engagement and accessibility, and reducing costs for employers, who are increasingly reporting that they’re hiring the right candidate for the right job.

Matrix’s success stems from its it’s full-service approach, taking care of human resource matters from end to end, including payroll, workers’ compensation management, wage negotiation and benefits. “Our business model is very appealing to clients,” says Warren. “They may not have time to worry about HR details for large or concurrent projects.”

Matrix primarily focuses on the construction industry, but recently the company saw opportunities to expand into the prolific Alberta oil and gas sector, giving rise to Align Staffing. “We are fully set up to service oil and gas clients,” Warren explains. “We have tried-and-true quality controls in place to ensure the employees we send to clients meet their exact needs.” Align’s approach is focused on safety and training for employees, and establishing quality communication channels between staff and employers. What’s more, Align is a proud member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association. Of equal importance, Align has established relationships with key opinion leaders and First Nation members of influence across Canada to recruit, train and place First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in progressive apprenticeships and professional disciplines.

Matrix’s internal database includes more than 10,000 skilled tradespeople and the company handles background checks, safety training and whatever else employees need to perfectly match clients’ requirements. “We are big on safety, training and technology,” says Warren. “Workers can come to us and find job opportunities and education in one place.” Matrix is innovative in its approach to attracting and retaining the very best staff, offering incentives such as RRSP programs and tuition reimbursements through Merit Contractors Association.

The company celebrated a milestone year in 2013, ranking on both the Fast Growth 50 and PROFIT 500 lists of fastest-growing companies. To top it off, Warren was named one of Business in Calgary’s Leaders of Tomorrow for 2013. The company’s 12th annual Stampede party in 2014 raised $9,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, plus more than $10,000 the year previous. “Ten thousand dollars is about the cost of granting one child a wish through the foundation, so we set that as our goal,” says Warren. The company also hosts regular fundraisers during the winter holiday season.

“It’s our corporate culture I’m most proud of,” concludes Warren. “We look after our clients and our workers, and we give back to our city, too.”


To find out more about Matrix and what we do, contact us today on 403-201-9520.

Contact Us