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Ontario Creating Job Opportunities for Indigenous Youth

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Ontario Creating Job Opportunities for Indigenous Youth

Province Celebrates Graduates of Indigenous Youth Employment Programs

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Ontario is continuing its support for natural resources management training and skills development programs that provide Indigenous youth with opportunities for summer jobs and rewarding careers.

The First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program (FNNRYEP) and the Mink Lake First Nations Youth Employment Program (MLFNYEP) are offered through partnerships among the province, Confederation College and Lakehead University. Both two-year summer employment programs give Indigenous youth, aged 16-19, natural resource management experience through work projects in the forestry, mining and energy industries.

Nearly 50 Indigenous youth from 25 First Nations communities across the province have graduated from the programs this year. Past graduates of these programs have gone on to rewarding careers as foresters, underground miners, heavy equipment operators and Assistant Band Managers, and have also pursued further education in fields such as political science, engineering and Indigenous law.

Programs like the FNNRYEP and the MLFNYEP enable experiential learning and help build on Ontario's world-class skills, education and training systems to prepare the current and future workforce for the technology- and knowledge-based jobs of today and into the future.

Helping young people develop their careers is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • Each program participant can 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 programs.
  • 929 summer job placements have been created to date within the programs.
  • Since the inception of FNNRYEP in 2000 and MLFNYEP in 2015, more than 389 youth from 52 First Nations across Ontario have graduated.
  • In 2016, Ontario contributed $200,000 and in-kind support to both programs.
  • The FNNRYEP and MLFNYEP are offered in partnership with Confederation College and Lakehead University.

Additional Resources


“First Nations youth represent a large and increasing percentage of the workforce in Northern Ontario. Our investment in these programs will 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 opportunities.”

Kathryn McGarry

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“This program demonstrates the tremendous potential of Indigenous youth in Ontario. Youth are able to gain on-the-job experience and have opportunities to develop their own careers. Our commitment to partnering with Indigenous organizations and communities to create programs that support Indigenous youth is one way we’re helping Ontario’s young people access the jobs of the future. Congratulations to all of the graduates!”

David Zimmer

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“Indigenous youth are a critical component of Ontario's workforce. These programs are a great example of how strategic partnerships among Indigenous communities, the province, post-secondary institutions and the private sector can work together. While many of the participants will go on to post-secondary education and careers in the natural resources sector, others will find success in various fields as a result of the confidence, life skills and experience they have received.”

Bill Mauro

MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan

“This program is an important example of how organizations can work together to improve access to education for students. We are proud to partner with Outland Camps, the government of Ontario and our First Nations communities to empower youth to pursue their post-secondary and career dreams. Through skill development, meaningful work experience, opportunities for mentorship and exposure to the natural resources industry, participants receive critical training to help prepare them for their future aspirations. We congratulate the graduates for their hard work and dedication this summer and look forward to supporting them as they continue their educational journeys.”

Dr. Jim Madder

President, Confederation College

“Supporting today's and tomorrow's learners by providing them with diverse paths to pursue post-secondary opportunities is a strategic priority of Lakehead University, Northwestern Ontario and Canada. Developing ways to make a university education a real prospect for Indigenous students is an obligation of us all, and we are proud to be participating in these programs and working with all partners.”

Dr. Brian J.R. Stevenson

President, Lakehead University

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