Minister Bergen Congratulates Graduates of Neeginan College of Applied Technology

WINNIPEG, Sept. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), today attended and spoke at the ninth annual graduation ceremony of the Neeginan College of Applied Technology. In her remarks, Minister Bergen noted that many students were unable to attend because they were already employed and working at the time, a clear measure of the success of the program.   

Neeginan College, as the post-secondary training arm of the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD), provides certified and apprenticeship-level training. Today, students graduated from a variety of programming, including Welding, Carpentry, Gas Turbine Repair and Overhaul, and Medical Lab Assistant.

Quick Facts

  • The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) links training to labour market demand. It supports 85 Aboriginal organizations throughout Canada in the delivery of programs and services to increase Aboriginal participation in the job market.
  • CAHRD has received $5 million in ASETS funding annually since 2010. This year, the Neeginan College of Applied Technology is receiving $950,000 of CAHRD's funding to deliver training in high-skill and in-demand fields.
  • The Government of Canada creates opportunities for apprentices and supports the skilled trades. The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant are cash grants that encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training in Red Seal trades. Through these grants, apprentices receive up to $4,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, tools or other expenses.
  • Other Government of Canada measures to create opportunities for apprentices include the introduction of the Canada Apprentice Loan, support for training programs and tax credits such as the Tool Tax Deduction for apprentices and tradesmen, and the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit for employers.


"Today represents an important accomplishment for all of these graduates. As a federal government, we have tailored our policies and programs to ensure that jobs and opportunities are available so that all Canadians can contribute their skills and talents to the Canadian workforce, including the skilled trades. As the graduates embark on this next phase of their lives, I congratulate them on their commitment and hard work."

– The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)

"CAHRD's graduations are timed to coincide with the seasonal equinoxes because these times of the year are celebrations of renewal to the Aboriginal community. For many of our graduates this is what is taking place in their lives right now – a celebration of renewal and new beginnings. Neeginan College of Applied Technology students have worked very hard to get to this place in their lives, and we are proud to celebrate all of their hard work and successes with them."

Marileen Bartlett, Executive Director of CAHRD  

Associated Links

Canada's Economic Action Plan

Aboriginal Labour Market Programs

Apprenticeship Grants

Canada Job Grant


Aboriginal labour market programs

Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy:

The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) is part of the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development. ASETS focuses on three strategic priorities: supporting skills development; fostering partnerships with the private sector and the provinces and territories; and accountability and results. ASETS was launched in April 2010 with support of $1.6 billion over five years.

Other Aboriginal labour market programs:

The Government of Canada also funds the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF). Launched in July 2010, SPF encourages Aboriginal organizations to create partnerships with government, business and community organizations that improve skills training and create opportunities for Aboriginal people.

The Government of Canada is also improving the Income Assistance on-reserve program.  A key component of this initiative is the $109 million First Nations Job Fund. The Job Fund provides personalized job training to young Income Assistance recipients in participating communities, so they can develop the right skills to secure jobs. 

Other Aboriginal support measures

Economic Action Plan 2014 includes several investments to help Aboriginal people build better futures for themselves and their families. These include:


  • $1.25 billion from 2016–17 to 2018–19 in support of First Nations Control of the First Nations Education Act. In addition, Economic Action Plan 2014 confirms a new Enhanced Education Fund that will provide funding of $160 million over four years starting in 2015–16.
  • $323.4 million over two years to continue to implement the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan.
  • $303 million annually in support of First Nations housing needs on reserves.
  • $66.1 million over two years to renew the Atlantic and Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiatives. Both initiatives help integrate First Nation fishing enterprises into existing commercial fisheries, providing economic opportunities for First Nation fishermen and improving the overall management of fisheries on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
  • $40 million over five years for disaster mitigation in First Nations communities and reaffirmation of the Government's commitment to providing stable funding for response and recovery activities.
  • $25 million over five years to continue efforts to reduce violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
  • $22.2 million over two years for the Aboriginal Justice Strategy.

Apprenticeship grants

  • Apprenticeship Incentive Grant: a cash grant of $1,000 for apprentices who complete the first and/or second level of their apprenticeship program in a Red Seal trade, up to a maximum of $2,000.
  • Apprenticeship Completion Grant: a cash grant of $2,000 for registered apprentices who have successfully completed their apprenticeship training and obtained their journeyperson certification in a Red Seal trade.

Interest-free Canada Apprentice Loans available January 2015

  • Apprentices in a Red Seal trade will soon be able to apply for interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training.
  • Interest charges and repayment of the Canada Apprentice Loan will not begin until after the recipient completes or leaves their apprenticeship training program.

Tax deductions and tax credits for apprentices, tradespeople and apprentice employers

The Government offers a tax deduction for apprentices and tradespeople to help cover the cost of new tools. Tuition and occupational, trade and professional exam fees are also eligible for a tax credit. This is in addition to a tax credit for employers to encourage them to hire apprentices.

For more information, visit

Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for apprentices

When apprentices go on training, they can get access to EI faster.

Apprentices have:

  • shorter processing times with unique input codes provided by provinces and territories;
  • the opportunity to apply for EI benefits seven days before training begins;
  • only one two-week waiting period per apprenticeship, so claimants are not generally required to wait prior to subsequent training periods;
  • access to the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program. Employers can top-up a training apprentice's EI benefits to 95% of the normal wage without reducing their EI benefits.

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,, Follow us on Twitter


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