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Ontario Helping to Create Jobs for Aboriginal Youth

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Ontario Helping to Create Jobs for Aboriginal Youth

Province Celebrates Graduates of Aboriginal Youth Employment Programs

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Ontario is helping more Aboriginal youth find summer jobs and rewarding careers.

In partnership with Confederation College and Lakehead University, 52 Aboriginal youth from 30 First Nations communities have graduated from the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program and the Mink Lake First Nations Youth Employment Program. The two-year summer employment programs provide Aboriginal youth, aged 16-19, with the opportunity to gain natural resource management experience through work projects in the forestry, mining and energy industries. Youth may also pursue further education in fields such as political science, engineering and Aboriginal Law.

First Nations youth represent a large and increasing percentage of the workforce in northern Ontario. These programs help participants build awareness and knowledge about natural resources management, policies and practices, while removing barriers to employment by providing job skills training, education and summer employment.

Helping young people develop their careers is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, Ontario contributed $300,000 to both programs.
  • Since its inception in 2000, over 370 youth from 51 First Nations communities across northern Ontario have graduated from the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program.
  • This year, the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program had 29 youth participants from 13 First Nations communities and the Mink Lake First Nations Youth Employment Program had 23 youth participants from 17 First Nations communities.
  • Each program participant may obtain two high school co-op credits while working during the summer.
  • 93 per cent of first year participants successfully completed their first year in the program.
  • 864 summer job placements have been created to date within the program.

Additional Resources


“We are pleased to partner with Confederation College and Lakehead University to offer these programs to Aboriginal youth wanting to gain knowledge and experience in natural resources management. These programs provide young people with the skills they need to participate in the workforce and make positive contributions to their communities and Ontario.”

Bill Mauro

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“Our government is proud to offer our continued support to these programs, which make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal youths. Not only are we inspiring and empowering these individuals to become successful in their education, training and future employment, we’re also creating opportunity for personal development and achievement. I wish each participant great success in their future endeavours.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development and Mines

“Aboriginal youth represent one of the largest untapped potentials for our economy. I’m thrilled that we continue to work with our partners on initiatives like the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program and the Mink Lake First Nations Youth Employment Program because investing in Aboriginal youth represents an investment in the future prosperity of First Nations and Ontario as a whole. When First Nations prosper, Ontario prospers.”

David Zimmer

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

“We are proud to have played a role in inspiring many First Nations youth to pursue post-secondary education and in some cases, natural resources career paths. Not only does the program provide participants with meaningful employment throughout the summer, it also helps to further develop their skills and gives them a real-world experience while they learn. Confederation College congratulates all of the graduates of the program.”

Jim Madder

President, Confederation College

“This program is a great opportunity to learn about the many fascinating aspects of natural resource management. For participants who become inspired to consider a career in the natural resources sector, Lakehead University stands ready to support and nurture their journey.”

Dr. Brian J.R. Stevenson

President, Lakehead University

Media Contacts

  • Media calls only: Emily Kirk

    Minister’s Office


  • Media calls only: Media Desk

    Communications Services Branch




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