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Government, Labour

Ontario funds training for First Nation members for Highway 17 project

DCN-JOC News Services
Ontario funds training for First Nation members for Highway 17 project

KENORA, ONT.—Approximately 110 members of Treaty #3 First Nations communities will be provided with the training needed to get a job twinning the TransCanada Highway 17 as construction craft workers, heavy equipment operators, general construction workers and concrete workers.

The training is made possible thanks to a $3.7 million investment from the Ontario government.

The Highway 17 project involves widening the highway from two to four lanes between the Manitoba-Ontario border and Kenora. It will benefit members of four Kenora area First Nations in Treaty 3 territory, represented by the Niiwin Wendaanimok communities and prioritize people who are unemployed, underemployed, or at risk of losing their jobs. The communities involved include the Washagamis Bay First Nation, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, Wauzhusk Onigum First Nation and Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation.

Large construction projects in the Kenora region often rely on the use of outside labour, which has left many First Nations people without the skills and work experience to qualify for these jobs when they are available in the area, states a release.

The funding provides each participant with up to $3,000 to cover costs such as transportation, child care and other expenses that could act as barriers. Training runs until July 2023. According to the release, some of these jobs pay as high as $44 an hour.

“Our province faces a severe shortage of skilled workers, with tens of thousands of jobs in construction going unfilled daily,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, in a statement. “Many of these jobs pay six figures, with pension and benefits. Today’s investment will give First Nations people in northern Ontario the training and skills they need to open the door to these meaningful career opportunities, helping build better lives for themselves and their loved ones.”

To apply, contact lmajor@niiwinwendaanimok.com

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