Training deal done
Nunavut receiving funds

Yellowknife ( May 22/00) - A new agreement is designed to put more people in Nunavut back to work.

Recently the territorial government and Ottawa reached the Canada-Nunavut Labour Market Development Agreement. Under the deal, the territory's Department of Education assumes more control over programs and services provided to the unemployed in Nunavut.

On hand for the signing on May 11 was Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart.

"What we felt was important and the right thing to do was provide that money, the money for training and development, to the Government of Nunavut," Stewart said, "so the Department of Education could design the programs that make sense for the men and women of the communities here."

Each year Nunavut will receive funding from Ottawa. For each of the next two years Nunavut will get just over $2 million, plus an annual contribution of $787,000 to cover administrative costs.

Unemployed Nunavut residents who are currently collecting Employment Insurance benefits, or have received them within the past three years, will be eligible for territorial programs and services under the agreement.

Residents who are re-entering the work force and who have collected parental or maternity benefits will also be eligible.

The agreement calls for a number of programs, including on-the-job training incentives for employers, as well as measures to increase workers' skills or even help the unemployed start their own businesses.

Ottawa has signed Labour Market Development Program deals with most provincial and territorial governments.

"We're trying to streamline things, make the service better and reduce the overlap with education," Stewart explained.

Ian Rose, director of policy for the Nunavut Department of Education, said that in the past, Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) would have decided what training projects would go ahead, adding, "we can now determine what programs will fit here."

Pointing out HRDC does not necessarily have staff in every single community, Rose said, "We have a good network within the territory."

Stewart said the new deal will not affect any existing agreements between aboriginal people and HRDC.