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Funding Delivered In Northwest To Pursue Business And Employment Opportunities In Oil And Gas

by NationTalk on May 12, 2007882 Views

News Release – May 11, 2007

People in northwest Saskatchewan will soon be better equipped to investigate business opportunities and find employment in Saskatchewan’s booming oil and gas industries. Canada’s New Government and the Government of Saskatchewan are providing a total of $1.67 million to the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) to implement three projects in the area of business development and employment training.The investment was announced today by Saskatchewan First Nations & Métis Relations Minister Maynard Sonntag, on behalf of Industry and Resources Minister Eric Cline and Northern Affairs Minister Joan Beatty, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification.

“It is important that our governments help First Nations and Metis peoples and northerners take advantage of opportunities in their regions and make the most of our strong economy,” Sonntag said. “These projects will contribute to northern development and lead to a better quality of life for people in this area.”

“Canada’s New Government is proud to invest over $1.3 million in these projects which will give residents of northern Saskatchewan, including First Nations people, the resources and training they need to capitalize on the increasing business and employment prospects in oil and gas,” said Minister Ambrose. “We are proud to get things done for the residents of northern Saskatchewan by working in partnership with other orders of government.”

The largest project, involving $1.4 million, will provide the MLTC funds to establish an Oil and Gas Secretariat to pursue emerging business opportunities in the oil and gas sector on behalf of its members. The other two projects will provide job training to northerners seeking employment on oil drilling rigs or as heavy equipment operators in the oil, gas, mining or construction industries.

Meadow Lake Tribal Council represents nine First Nations in northwestern Saskatchewan with a combined membership of 11,000. According to tribal Chief Helen Ben, oil and gas initiatives will provide MLTC members with additional employment, training and business opportunities. “We have been fortunate in the past to become significant players in the forest industry and this new funding will help us to become involved with an even larger industry. We realize that the real effort will be made by the young men and women who are still in school today, getting a better education and better training. But we know they can do it and our Tribal council intends to be there to help.”

“Investments made into training programs under the Northern Development Agreement are providing access to gainful employment for Northerners in all sectors,” Northern Development Board chair Al Rivard said. “Early results of the oil and gas exploration in northern Saskatchewan are encouraging, these training programs provide northern residents with transferable skills so that once this new exciting sector comes to fruition, we will have trained northerners ready and willing to take on these new opportunities.”

Funding for the MLTC capacity building project is being provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement. This Agreement funds initiatives that increase Aboriginal participation in the economic mainstream, develop Saskatchewan’s small and medium-sized business sector, support economic and technological innovation, and assist with diversifying Saskatchewan’s economy. This contribution reinforces the commitment of both governments to increase First Nations involvement in the development of Saskatchewan’s non-renewable resources.

The drilling rig and heavy equipment operator programs are receiving funding from the Canada-Saskatchewan Northern Development Agreement (NDA). The NDA is providing $20 million over six years (2002 to 2008) for a variety of northern economic development initiatives. About $13.8 million has been announced to date to support 43 projects. In addition to a broad range of training and employment programs, the Agreement has invested in expanding high-speed Internet service to more than 35 northern communities.


For more information, contact:

Brenda Tarasiuk
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Phone: 306-975-5943
Cell: 1-888-338-WEST

Bob Ellis
Saskatchewan Industry and Resources
Phone: 306-787-1691

Scott Boyes
Saskatchewan Northern Affairs
La Ronge
Phone: 306-425-6669
Cell: 306-425-8869

Gordon Iron
Meadow Lake Tribal Council
Meadow Lake
Phone: 306-236-5654

Dean Desjarlais
Northern Development Board
La Ronge
Phone: 306-425-2444

>> Oil and Gas Capacity Backgrounder.pdf (31.1 KB)

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