Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 29, 2011 15:07 ET

Canada, Saskatchewan And Five Tribal Councils Sign a Memorandum of Understanding to Increase First Nation Labour Force Participation

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - March 11, 2011) - The Government of Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and five Tribal Councils in Saskatchewan, representing more than half of Saskatchewan's 70 First Nations, have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to work together to increase labour force participation for First Nation people in Saskatchewan.

The MOU was signed by the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians; the Honourable Rob Norris, Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration; Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas; Meadow Lake Tribal Council Chief Eric Sylvestre; Agency Chiefs Tribal Council Chief Steven Jim; Yorkton Tribal Council Chief Gilbert Panipekeesick; and File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council Chairman Edmund Bellegarde.

"This Active Measures MOU is an example of the kind of progress made possible when there is collaboration between the federal, provincial and First Nations governments and a willingness to succeed by all parties," said Minister Duncan. "Through this partnership, we will work together to implement strategies that will increase skills training and employment opportunities for First Nations in Saskatchewan."

Active Measures refers to partnerships, programs, policies and investments that: increase the labour force participation rate and employment; decrease the income assistance dependency on reserve; and create incentives for individuals to pursue skills training.

"The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to improving the education and employment outcomes for First Nations people," Minister Norris said. "We are pleased to partner with the Federal Government and Saskatchewan Tribal Councils to ensure First Nations people are full participants in our economic prosperity."

The MOU is intended to enhance collaboration and partnership among the parties in order to improve labour force outcomes for First Nation people in Saskatchewan – particularly youth. The Agreement will focus on improving job readiness to successfully transition First Nations income assistance recipients to employment through the development and implementation of Active Measures strategies.

"The Active Measures MOU is a reflection of the critical role First Nations are playing in order to improve training and employment outcomes for their membership," said Rob Clarke, MP for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River. "I want to congratulate the First Nations that have already started successful initiatives focused on employment counselling, improving access to life skills and literacy training and improving program delivery models."

"The MOU signatories recognize that our collaboration will be needed to address challenges at the local level that deter young people from entering the workforce," said Tribal Chief Steven Jim of the Agency Chiefs Tribal Council. "We will use this two-year agreement to bring attention to basic challenges that must be overcome to enable our youth to reach their potential."

"This agreement establishes a formal avenue to explore and shape policies that affect the lives and futures of First Nations communities," said Tribal Chairman Edmund Bellegarde of the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council. "The MOU opens the door for meaningful discussions to occur at the local level to identify and address specific policy barriers that are preventing a level playing field for First Nations people to engage in the provincial economy."

"Improving the quality of life for the families of our member communities is essential, and improving their participation in the workforce is key to making this happen," said Tribal Chief Felix Thomas of the Saskatoon Tribal Council. "The MOU will connect leaders and partners to focus on the unique conditions of First Nations communities and develop training programs, opportunities and supports they need to break the cycle of dependency."

"Signatories to this agreement recognize that the systems that are in place are not working for First Nations communities and changes need to be made," said Tribal Chief Gilbert Panipekeesick of the Yorkton Tribal Council. "We are hopeful the MOU will stimulate both discussion and action to address deficiencies in these systems to both enable and compel our communities to take a more active role in the workforce."

"First Nations communities encourage young people to access training and enter the workforce and we have developed many business partnerships to help our young employees make a successful transition to the workforce," said Tribal Chief Eric Sylvestre, Meadow Lake Tribal Council. "We are hopeful this MOU will help develop programs and structures that motivate to enhance industry partnerships across the province."

The MOU identifies a number of priority areas such as: youth career planning and skills development; strategies to address barriers to training and employment; short-term training, including literacy, adult basic education, and essential skills; and partnership development with industry and private and public sectors in the development of training and employment opportunities.

A multi-partner Active Measures Steering Committee will be formed to provide leadership and oversee implementation of the MOU.

In Saskatchewan, INAC has invested more than $5 million in strategic pilot projects since 2007-2008, including approximately $3 million in 2010-2011.


Backgrounder – Active Measures

Backgrounder – Active Measures Pilot Projects


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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    Michele-Jamali Paquette - Press secretary

    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations

    Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration
    Marieka Barrie