Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

June 24, 2009 12:00 ET

Government of Canada Training Initiative to Benefit Aboriginal People in Northwestern Ontario

SIOUX LOOKOUT, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) - Aboriginal people in Northwestern Ontario will have access to a new skills and employment training initiative, leading to long-term jobs, thanks to support from the Government of Canada. This new initiative, combined with enhanced service delivery, was announced today by Mr. Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

The Whitefeather Forest Training Initiative will provide Aboriginal people with the skills and employment experience required to work in the mining and forestry industries. This initiative is funded through the federal government's Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) program, which provides Aboriginal people with the training and skills they need to take advantage of job opportunities in industries such as northern mining, oil and gas, forestry, and fishing.

"Aboriginal people in Northwestern Ontario will certainly benefit from the $5.3 million investment announced today, which will help increase their participation in the job market," said Mr. Rickford. "I am also pleased that Service Canada will be there to help ensure that the people of Northwestern Ontario are able to access programs and services in a manner that works best for them."

More than 51 First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario require access to Government of Canada programs and services such as Employment Insurance benefits, the Canada Pension Plan and Social Insurance Numbers. Service to these communities will be enhanced by Service Canada staff visits to Community Offices and other First Nations communities, and by services being provided in the Aboriginal languages of the communities.

The Whitefeather Forest Training Initiative represents a diverse partnership between the Pikangikum First Nation and a number of community, federal and provincial government, academic and industry partners. The goal of this partnership is to provide training for 260 Aboriginal people and secure 180 long-term jobs in the mining and forestry industries.

"The ASEP program represents an opportunity for the community of Pikangikum and its people to welcome partnerships with government and partners of corporate Canada in promoting the development of employment and training capacity for the Pikangikum First Nation," said Mr. Alex Peters, President of the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation.

Goldcorp is one of the valued partners in this initiative. "As an industry partner, Goldcorp, through its Red Lake Gold Mine, is committed to supporting the Pikangikum First Nation's efforts to improve community members' employment skills through training opportunities that exist at the Mine," said Mr. Mike Lalond, Mine General Manager at Goldcorp. "Leaders and Elders in the community have worked cooperatively with Goldcorp representatives to make this happen. This is an important step for the community towards improving its economic progress."

"We are pleased to be working with a range of partners to help build a better future for Aboriginal people in the province's northwest," said the Honourable Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources for Ontario. "I commend the Pikangikum First Nation for taking a leadership role and look forward to the opportunities that will be created for the community by the Whitefeather Forest Training Initiative."

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Aboriginal people through targeted investments to improve their skills development and employability, and to help them secure long-term jobs.

This initiative is funded as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, in which the Government continued its commitment to enhancing the availability of training by investing an additional $100 million over three years in the nationwide ASEP program. This investment will support up to 25 new ASEP projects, which could result in up to 6,000 jobs for Aboriginal people across the country.

Service Canada is the Government of Canada's one-stop service delivery network, giving citizens access to a range of federal services online at www.servicecanada.gc.ca; by phone at 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232); through a teletypewriter (TTY) at 1-800-926-9105; or in person at over 600 points of service in communities throughout Canada.

To learn more about the Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.


BACKGROUNDER

Improving Access to Skills and Training for Aboriginal People in Northwestern Ontario

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government is enhancing support to Canadians during the global recession, and is investing in the country's long-term growth.

To help Aboriginal people, the Government of Canada has invested an additional $100 million over three years for the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership program to help support new projects. In addition, $75 million will support short-term focused initiatives to help Aboriginal people obtain the specific skills they require to benefit from economic opportunities through the Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund, which will provide support for projects beginning in September.

Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership Program

Launched in 2003, the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) program is designed to maximize training and job opportunities in major economic development projects across Canada. It does this by meeting employers' needs and labour market demands for skilled workers. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Aboriginal people through targeted investments to improve their skills development and employability, and to help them secure long-term jobs.

ASEP's ultimate success is contingent on the strong partnerships forged between Aboriginal groups, the private sector, federal, provincial and/or territorial governments, labour, and educational institutions. Since the program's inception, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has successfully delivered programming with over 90 partners.

Whitefeather Forest Training Intiative ASEP Project

The Whitefeather Forest Training Initiative was established to create work for unemployed Aboriginal people living in the vicinity of the Pikangikum First Nation in Northwestern Ontario, who are at risk and facing one or more barriers to obtaining employment.

Employment created by the Whitefeather Forest Training Initiative will be based on the Whitefeather Forest management and conservation area, and these positions will be in the trades, infrastructure, tourism and recreation sectors related to the mining and forestry industries. A recruitment strategy will be implemented to ensure that disadvantaged groups such as women and persons with disabilities participate and obtain employment. Basic upgrading and training would be provided for the following six occupational areas: heavy equipment operators, miners, forestry technicians, park guides, park wardens and construction tradespeople.

Partners in this initiative include: the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board; the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council; Goldcorp; the Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation; the Pikangikum Education Authority; Confederation College; the Pikangikum First Nation; the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)/Canadian Forest Service.



Project Sponsors

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HRSDC $5,343,743 45%
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Industry Partnership $4,536,165 38%
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Aboriginal Governments and Organizations $1,339,840 5%
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Government of Ontario/Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities $481,808 5%
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NRCan - Canadian Forest Service $203,000 1%
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Total Project Value $11,933,686 100%
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Enhanced Service

Service Canada is the Government of Canada's one-stop service delivery network, giving citizens access to a range of federal services online at www.servicecanada.gc.ca, by phone at 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232), through a teletypewriter (TTY) at 1-800-926-9105, or in person at over 600 points of service in communities throughout Canada.

Service Canada is continually looking at ways to improve service to remote and First Nations communities. Offering Canadians greater access to Government of Canada information and services in native Aboriginal languages is just one of those improvements.

Currently, service in Aboriginal languages is provided at the Kenora Service Canada Centre and at six Scheduled Outreach Sites-The Dalles, Northwest Angle 37, Rat Portage, Shoal Lake 39, Washagamis Bay, and Whitefish Bay.

Through Service Canada's new service delivery model, an increased number of Northwestern Ontario communities will have access to Government of Canada programs and services. More people living in remote Northwestern Ontario communities will receive services in Aboriginal languages at Community Offices and through outreach visits by Service Canada staff.

For More Information

Information on programs and services offered by Service Canada can be found at www.servicecanada.gc.ca.

To find a Service Canada Centre, a Community Hub Office or a Scheduled Outreach Site in Northwestern Ontario, including dates and hours of operation, please call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232), TTY: 1-800-926-9105, or visit http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/cgi-bin/hr-search.cgi?app=hme&ln=eng#ct.

This news release is available in alternative formats on request. Call 1-800-788-8282 on a touch-tone phone or through a TTY.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482
    or
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559
    or
    Whitefeather Forest Training Initiative
    Robert Smith, Executive Director
    807-773-5349