Ontario Seizes Opportunities to Engage an Untapped Resource

TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - The Government of Ontario is partnering with Canada's leader in Aboriginal inclusion to host a one-day forum that will bring industry partners and Aboriginal employment service providers together to discuss the province of Ontario's workforce and innovative approaches to Aboriginal inclusion.

Workforce Connex Ontario is part of a national forum series organized through the Aboriginal Human Resource Council (AHRC). Dignitaries, industry and Aboriginal leaders will be on hand to discuss new regional partnerships and solutions to employment training, recruitment and retention issues.

"The skills shortage is Canada's most pressing human resource challenge for the next 25 years. The economy is slowly recovering and employers in Ontario can harness the power of inclusion and accelerate Aboriginal workforce engagement. We realize there are new opportunities in the province's green energy, service and construction sectors and our people are an untapped resource ready to capture these opportunities," said Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council.

"Connecting the knowledge and skills of Aboriginal people with employment opportunities is key to improving the lives of First Nation, Inuit and Métis people," said Brad Duguid, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. "Knowledgeable human resources professionals can be catalysts for improving the lives of Aboriginal people while positioning their employers for greater success in the future."

"Our government is working with all of our partners to support the participation and success of First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners in post-secondary education and training to help them prepare for the jobs of today and the future," said John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. "Helping these young people get the skills and training they need is an important part of ensuring the greater participation and success of Aboriginal people in the workforce."

Aboriginal people are the youngest and the fastest growing population in the country - increasing six times the rate of Canada's non-Aboriginal population. Aboriginal people work in all industries of the economy and have great potential for expanding the labour force with the changing economy and Canada's GDP. According to study findings released in May 2009 by the Canadian Centre for the Study Standard of Living; if Aboriginal people in Canada attain the same level of education and employment as non-Aboriginal people our country's GDP would climb by an estimated $401 billion by 2026.

Ontario Workforce Connex is the 12th forum held in the series administered by AHRC and funded through the Sector Council Program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The Ontario forum is also supported by the Government of Ontario ministries of Aboriginal Affairs and Training, College and Universities.

SOURCE Aboriginal Human Resource Council

For further information: For further information: Nicole Robertson, Communications Advisor, Muskwa Productions & Consulting, c: (403) 616-4999, e: nicole.robertson@telus.net; Peggy Berndt, National Director, Communications and Marketing, Aboriginal Human Resource Council, c: (780) 720-1118 e: pberndt@aboriginalhr.ca

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