Ottawa announces job training plan for aboriginals

Jessie Dawson welcomes the $9.3 million Ottawa is spending to create 500 industrial training spots for aboriginals.

Jessie Dawson welcomes the $9.3 million Ottawa is spending to create 500 industrial training spots for aboriginals.

But the Kwanlin Dun First Nation councillor hopes the Yukon’s swelling mining industry doesn’t bring major social ills with it.

“These impacts affect our way of life,” said Dawson.

Her comments prefaced an announcement that Ottawa will contribute $9.3 million to a five-year, $17-million Yukon training initiative.

The Partnership, People, Production: Get Into It program will train about 500 aboriginal people over five years for long-term jobs in the mining industry.

“Employers are hard-pressed to find skills and talent to make enterprises successful,” said Intergovernmental Affair Minister Rona Ambrose, who made the announcement Tuesday.

The program is part of Ottawa’s Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership initiative created in 2003.

Almost 9,000 jobs — 6,500 of them permanent — will be created by the initiative, said Ambrose.

The creation of long-term jobs is key to success of the program, said Dawson.

In an industry that is hit hard by boom-and-bust cycles, jobs can quickly disappear.

Families are broken up as jobs are found further from home, and high unemployment creates a host of social problems, she said.

“The training program is for the mining industry, but the skills learned are highly transferable,” said Bill Dunn, chair of the Yukon Mining Training Association.

Skills learned can be employed in other industries such as oil and gas, he said.

And training for chefs and administrative jobs can be used is countless areas, he added.

The association is running the program, which receives funding from Ottawa, the territory and industry partners.

Mining industry executives and watchers say they believe mining in the Yukon is poised for a big comeback.

That could keep people employed for a long time.

The Yukon’s mining industry in on the verge of revitalization, said Alexco Resources vice-president Rob McIntyre.

“In my 30 years, I’ve never it so close to a long-term, stable industry,” he said.

“First Nations people are not transient. They’ll be here for a very long time.”

Because of the growing exploration and extraction, the program will be a huge boon to the local economy, said Premier Dennis Fentie.

“This is a very timely investment and compliments the directions of the Yukon,” he said.

The copper mine at Minto has been successful attracting First Nation labour with training programs, said Dunn.

About 30 people onsite are from the Selkirk First Nation and another 30 from other First Nations.

“People are trained onsite, and then when the training is finished there’s a job you step into,” he said.

With more youth graduating from high school than in the past, First Nations are poised to take advantage of training opportunities, said Ta’an Kwach’an deputy chief Gail Anderson.

It is better to employ locals than migrant workers, she said.

“A lot of money left our economy last time,” said Anderson.

“If we train aboriginal workers, then more money will stay in the Yukon.”

The program focuses on five aspects: planning and implementation, site-specific training, onsite training, community and capacity development and administration.

Contact Jeremy Warren at


Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read