Federal and provincial governments hope to bring together an industry suffering from one of Canada’s worst skills shortages, and a community with significant under-employment
The skills shortage is already affecting industries throughout Canada, with significant gaps in skilled labour for the natural resources sector. An initiative from the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan is aimed at bridging that gap, and helping Aboriginal Canadians find long-term employment.
Through the Skills and Partnership Fund, the federal government will help 800 Aboriginal people find jobs by investing more than $7.9 million in Northern Career Quest for its training-to-employment project in the mining industry.
Saskatchewan would also invest $1.5 million in the project through the Ministry of the Economy.
"Engaging our province's Aboriginal people in the economy is of great importance and is one of the highlights of our government's recently released growth plan," legislative secretary to the premier for First Nations engagement spokesperson Rob Norris said. "Strategic investments in initiatives like Northern Career Quest facilitate employment and will prove to be highly beneficial in helping to build Saskatchewan's Aboriginal workforce and in addressing our provincial labour force needs."
The project will also be partly funded by industry partners, including Cameco and Areva, as well as Northlands College.
The initial success of the Northern Career Quest program has created about 1,450 jobs in northern Saskatchewan, according to Gary Merasty, Northern Career Quest chair and vice-president of corporate social responsibility at Cameco. "By going ahead with a second expanded program, communities, industry and government are ensuring that progress continues for First Nations and Métis people in northern Saskatchewan."