Ontario Construction News staff writer
The federal government has launched an open call for proposals for the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF), an Indigenous labour market program that funds partnerships between Indigenous organizations and employers.
Through targeted projects, funding provides Indigenous people with the skills needed for in-demand jobs. The goal is to reduce the skills and employment gaps that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and increase Indigenous participation in the labour market.
Priority will be given to projects that target the following sectors:
- Green Economy – Industries that support the more efficient use and alternative sources of renewable energy.
- Information and Communications Technology – Industries that support and contribute to the manufacturing of goods and/or the delivery of services related to broadband, connectivity, computers, software and other communications technology.
- Infrastructure – Industries that support the construction, function and maintenance of physical infrastructure advancing Canada’s goals. They may also support the development of a community.
- Blue Economy – Industries that support long-term growth in ocean-based sectors such as ocean-based energy, marine infrastructure, aquaculture, commercial fisheries, coastal and marine tourism and ocean technology.
- Indigenous Public Sector – Indigenous governments and public services owned and operated by Indigenous governments, such as law enforcement, emergency services, infrastructure, land administration, public transit, public education, child care and health care.
Indigenous organizations can apply until May 9 through grants and contributions online services, by e-mail or by mail.
“Through the Skills and Partnership Fund, Indigenous people will gain in-demand skills and experience in priority areas identified by their communities. When more people are able to have a rewarding career and participate fully in Canada’s workforce, our entire country benefits,” said Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment.
Indigenous people represent the fastest-growing segment of the Canadian population, accounting for 5% of the total population according to the most recent census (2016).
According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Market Survey, the employment rate of Indigenous people not living on a reserve reached 58.4 per cent in January 2022, two per cent higher than the pre-pandemic rate from January 2020.