Mine training group loses main funder

Everyone anticipates a busy mining season. But just as it starts to get underway, the main organization helping to ensure Yukoners are included in the frenzy has lost its biggest funder.

Everyone anticipates a busy mining season.

But just as it starts to get underway, the main organization helping to ensure Yukoners are included in the frenzy has lost its biggest funder.

Up until now, the Yukon Mine Training Association has received most of its money from the federal Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership program.

But that program ended on March 31.

The territory’s mine training association has trained more than 1,069 applicants since the federal program started funding it in 2008, said Sascha Weber, YMTA executive director.

More than half of those graduates have gone on to well-paying jobs in the mining sector and other industries, doing everything from administrative work to heavy-duty mechanics.

To do their work, the association needs about $3.5 million per year, said Weber.

“And the biggest chunk of that was from the ASEP,” he said.

The aboriginal skills program was launched in 2003 with $85 million for five years.

It has been used to fund programs all across the country, like mine training associations in the N.W.T., northern B.C. and the Yukon.

In 2007, a year before the program was set to end, the federal government invested another $105 million. Two years later, Canada’s Economic Action Plan put another $100 million into the project.

Early in 2011, it was announced that ASEP would “sunset” at the end of March 2012.

And that’s a shame, said Ramsey Hart, program co-ordinator for MiningWatch Canada.

The program was well-used and well-liked, especially in the North, he said in a recent interview.

Groups like the Yukon Mine Training Association, and its mirror organizations in the N.W.T. and northern B.C., appreciated that they had the final say on how the money was spent, which assured that the programs suited the communities and their needs, said Hart.

There are now two other, similar options available, he said.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has another program, Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, but it is for individuals to get money to enter skill training already being offered. It’s not available to organizations like YMTA to be able to offer that training.

And in 2010, Ottawa started the Skills and Partnership Fund.

This is the “replacement” for ASEP, but even after Hart’s office sent inquiries for more information, they still aren’t sure what the fund does or how it works, he said.

“It’s much broader,” Weber said of the replacement fund. “So it’s a little more competitive.”

The YMTA knew the federal program was going to end so this news doesn’t come as a surprise, said Weber.

The association has already secured next year’s funding from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Northern Strategy Trust, he said.

“We’re going to revise the service and program structure that we offer based on future funding,” he said.

The money that came from the old program was specifically for aboriginal people, said Weber.

Since the program gave YMTA the majority of its funding – $9.2 million over three years – a major focus of the YMTA’s work was for Yukon First Nation people.

But Weber doesn’t sound nervous.

“We were here before ASEP and we’ll be here after,” he said.

The association was established in 2006. With the mining industry booming in the territory, the training association will have lots of work ahead of it. Hopefully the industry and the territory will pitch in more in the upcoming years, said Weber.

“If you look at the potential for mine development, if any of those projects go forward, there’s a large number of employees required,” said Weber.

“Our role is that if there are those employment opportunities, and also business opportunities, then it should be locals getting the first chance to tap into those benefits and opportunities,” he said.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read