Harper Government supports workplace essential skills training for Aboriginal people in the North

CAMBRIDGE BAY, NU, July 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Member of Parliament for Nunavut, and Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, today announced $3.1 million in funding for a new project that will provide Aboriginal Canadians living in the North with essential skills training for good, well-paying jobs.

The Nunavut Literacy Council has developed a partnership with the Northwest Territories Literacy Council and the Yukon Literacy Coalition to create the Northern Alliance for Literacy and Essential Skills (NALES). NALES will work with stakeholders in the natural resources, tourism and service industries to integrate literacy and essentials skills training into new and existing workplace training programs. As a result, working-age Aboriginal youth and adults who are out of school, unemployed or underemployed will improve their skills and job readiness.

Today's announcement is one example of what the Government is doing to help Canadians. To help hard-working families, the Government increased the Universal Child Care Benefit, introduced the Family Tax Cut and made improvements to the Child Care Expenses Deduction and the Children's Fitness Tax Credit.

Quick Facts

  • The natural resources industry currently supports approximately 30,000 jobs for Aboriginal Canadians—making it a leading employer of Aboriginal people in Canada.
  • Over 400,000 Aboriginal youth in Canada will be entering the labour force over the next decade. Aboriginal youth are the fastest-growing demographic in Canada and require support and programs to help them fully realize their potential and meaningfully participate in Canada's economy.
  • The essential skills are reading, writing, document use, numeracy, computer use, thinking, oral communication, working with others and continuous learning. They are used in nearly every job.
  • Through Economic Action Plan 2015, the Government will provide $215 million over five years, beginning in 2015–16, and $50 million per year thereafter to the Skills and Partnership Fund.


"Our Government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. By investing in this project, we are helping Aboriginal Canadians across the North increase their workplace skills for good, well-paying jobs. Families, employers and communities as a whole will benefit from a more qualified and ready workforce."
– The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Member of Parliament for Nunavut

"Canada's long-term prosperity depends on the labour market participation of all its citizens, particularly those under-represented in the workforce, such as Aboriginal people. By investing in literacy and essential skills, our Government is helping Aboriginal people get the skills and training they need to secure meaningful employment and build better futures for themselves and their families."
Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament for Yukon

"NALES is a working partnership between the Nunavut Literacy Council, the Northwest Territories Literacy Council and the Yukon Literacy Coalition that supports northerners' access to training and employment. This federal funding will allow NALES to expand its work in literacy and essential skills training, which will increase opportunities for northerners to successfully enter the labour market."
Cayla Chenier, Project Director, Nunavut Literacy Council

Associated Links

Literacy and Essential Skills 
Aboriginal Labour Market Programs 
Canada's Economic Action Plan 


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Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

In 2007, the Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) to support adult Canadians in developing the knowledge and skills they need to enter and succeed in the job market.

Through OLES, the Government works in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations to provide Canadians with the tools and resources they need to take advantage of job opportunities, contribute to their communities and share in the country's prosperity. OLES provides funding through the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program and the National Essential Skills Initiative.

Aboriginal labour market programs

The Government of Canada has a number of skills training programs for Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) supports over 80 Aboriginal organizations throughout Canada in the delivery of programs and services to increase Aboriginal participation in the job market. 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.

The Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF) encourages Aboriginal organizations to create partnerships with governments, businesses and community organizations that improve skills training and create opportunities for Aboriginal people. The SPF was launched in July 2010 with support of $210 million over five years.

The Government of Canada is also improving the on-reserve Income Assistance 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.


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


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