Ottawa invests in skills development, jobs for Indigenous youth

Investment will create new opportunities, enhance business skills and increase the visibility of Indigenous businesses

Ottawa invests in skills development, jobs for Indigenous youth

The federal government is investing over $5.4 million to support Indigenous economic development in Southern Ontario.

The investment will improve skills development for youth and create more than 130 new jobs.

It will also improve food security and access to attainable housing, and advance Indigenous tourism, according to the federal government.

Ottawa is delivering the funding to five Indigenous-led organizations: 

  • Curve Lake First Nation
  • Indigenous Experiences Mādahòkì Farm
  • Tecumseh Community Development Corporation
  • Two Rivers Community Development Centre
  • Grand River Modular

“The five Indigenous-led organizations that received support today are working hard to address critical issues like improving food production, housing access, skills development for youth and advancing Indigenous tourism,” said Bryan May, parliamentary secretary to the minister responsible for small business and to the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

“The government of Canada will continue to work hard to support inclusive growth for the benefit of all Canadians.”

More than 350,000 young Indigenous people will come of employment age before the year 2026, and they could boost the country’s economy by $27.7 billion per year if they are given the right employment supports, according to a 2020 report from the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and the Diversity Institute.

Business development training for Indigenous youth

The Indigenous-led organizations will use the funding as follows:

  • The Tecumseh Community Development Corporation (TCDC)is utilizing an investment of $975,000 to support entrepreneurial skills and capacity development training, with a focus on Indigenous youth and communities throughout southwestern Ontario and the Bruce Peninsula.
  • Two Rivers Community Development Centre (TRCDC) will use $924,000 from the federal government to offer entrepreneurial skills and capacity development training with a focus on Indigenous youth and businesses across the communities it serves. With this support, Two Rivers CDC will offer workshops, a youth entrepreneurship program, and events to promote Indigenous entrepreneurship and businesses. This project will support the creation of up to 60 jobs.

“This government of Canada investment through FedDev Ontario will provide entrepreneurial skills training, workshops and a youth entrepreneurship program. It is expected to create new opportunities, enhance business skills and increase the visibility of Indigenous businesses,” said Dave Vince, Chief Executive Officer, Two Rivers Community Development Centre.

“The initiative aims to build a generation of Indigenous business leaders who can contribute to the growth of their local economies and empower their communities.”

Under-represented groups need more than just upskilling and training, according to a Canadian academic.

The other Indigenous-led organizations will: 

  • Grand River Modular will use an investment of nearly $190,000 from the federal government to build a prototype modular home demonstration unit that is designed to meet the urgent need for affordable housing.
  • More than $2.4 million in funding will allow Curve Lake First Nation to purchase equipment to operationalize a new, state-of-the-art, one-acre greenhouse facility that can produce fish and vegetables, which will be sold to regional distributors.
  • Ottawa-based Indigenous Experiences (also known as Mādahòkì Farm), will use an investment of almost $855,000 to install an ecologically-balanced pond that reflects the cultural heritage of Canada's First Nations communities and their connection to the natural environment.

What are the barriers to Indigenous youth employment?

Here are some basic solutions that employers can provide to address the barriers to employment faced by Indigenous youth, according to Indigenous Corporate Training:

  1. Literacy and education. Work with the school to implement a mentoring program that encourages children to believe that an education is important.
  2. Cultural differences. Invest the time to go into the community nearest your project or business to learn about that community’s culture, history, challenges and achievements.
  3. Stereotypes. Consider the provision of Indigenous Awareness Training for employees to help them understand the background of common myths and help employees overcome and avoid stereotypes.
  4. Poor interview. Consider working with the local community employment people to offer a series of workshops on how to write a resume and cover letter, how to prepare for an interview, and hold a series of mock interviews and provide opportunities for practice.
  5. Transportation. Arrange a shuttle service that will pick up the workers at or close to their homes and take them back again at the end of the shift.
  6. Child care. If the community does not have a child care facility, build one and hire a qualified child care worker, provide qualified child care on-site, or connect with a local, culturally aware child care provider to ensure there are spots available for the children of your employees.

Here are 10 ways to support Indigenous employees in your organization.

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