Close to two hundred delegates mostly from First Nations and Métis ASETS holders met with their federal government partners to share best practices and promising approaches that will enable them to drive out greater education, employment and training results for Aboriginal people and strengthen their role in the Canadian economy.
The conference this year had a particular focus on the renewal of the ASETS Strategy which recently was extended for two years after expiring on March 31, 2015. The case was clearly made that the ASETS programs has to be placed in a long term planning framework to meet the needs of the young, diverse Aboriginal labour force.
The conference also enabled delegates to question the two director generals from Employment and Social Development Canada responsible for ASETS, Robert Smith and James Sutherland, on ASETS renewal, the Strategic Partnership Fund, and administrative changes in the department impacting on ASETS.
In opening remarks to the conference, MMF President David Chartrand, who is also the MNC Minister responsible for ASETS, described the profound effects of ASETS on the lives of Aboriginal individuals and on the social and economic development of their communities. MMF case studies presented during the conference reinforced this point, including the work of an MMF construction company on Manitoba Hydro’s bipole transmission line and the MMF partnership with Forbes Bros., Canada’s leading company in powerline transmission towers.
In his welcoming remarks to delegates, MNC President stressed the importance for the three national Aboriginal organizations representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis – AFN, ITK and MNC- to continue to pursue their distinctions-based approach to programs such as ASETS in order to address the distinct needs, circumstances and priorities of their peoples.
The State of Aboriginal labour Market Programming in Canada – Dr. Donna E. Wood (University of Victoria)
Partnerships for Mentoring & Capacity Building – Katie Motta (CAMSC)
Implementing Economic Development Strategies Through Partnerships – Allan Clarke, AANDC
Aboriginal Contracting & Employment – Jay Joyner (Transcanada Pipelines)