‘Utilizing workplace health and safety as a catalyst for change, leads to safer families and safer communities’
Ontario is investing $280,500 for the Nokiiwin Tribal Council to provide culturally-appropriate training and programs that will help protect the health and safety of workers from First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario.
“We are committed to supporting workers, students and families living in First Nation communities of the Robinson Superior Treaty area and beyond,” said Greg Rickford, minister of energy, northern development and mines and minister of Indigenous affairs. “This initiative offers an opportunity to harness workplace health and safety as a catalyst for positive and lasting change.”
The programs – under the G'minoomaadozimin ‘We Are Living Well Health & Safety Initiative’ will address mental health and workplace violence and harassment, and expand supports for vulnerable workers.
The G'minoomaadozimin project will offer training to help foster respectful workplaces and design programs that utilize the Seven Grandfather Teachings, namely: Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Humility, Truth & Wisdom. These teachings are inherent to the First Nations belief system.
“G'minoomaadozimin is steered by the needs and priorities of our member First Nations. The continuation of this initiative, especially during this unprecedented time, is integral to developing safety initiatives and solutions that are built on the traditional cultural foundations of our communities,” said Audrey Gilbeau, executive director, Nokiiwin Tribal Council. “Utilizing workplace health and safety as a catalyst for change, leads to safer families and safer communities.”
The Nokiiwin Tribal Council will also implement activities and tools to support safer workplaces, homes and communities and engage youth through creative storytelling exercises and artistry to foster safety and mental health.
The council’s mandate is to provide culturally-appropriate advisory services and training opportunities that enhance growth and prosperity for member communities in response to their individual needs and priorities.
“As Ontario's economy begins to reopen, it is important to ensure that workers from First Nations communities are returning to safe and healthy workplaces,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “I have made the health and safety of every worker a key priority as Minister. The culturally sensitive training and programs developed and delivered by Nokiiwin Tribal Council are crucial supports.”
In June, the University of Alberta launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled Indigenous Canada, which explores Indigenous histories, culture and present-day issues in Canada.
Indigenous youth are in need of support as they continue to face employment challenges, according to a report from the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University.
Previously, Ontario invested $10 million in the Support for People and Jobs Fund for Indigenous-owned small and medium-sized businesses that are either ineligible for, or unable to access, existing federal and provincial COVID-19 response initiatives for small businesses.
Since 2015, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has provided over $1.1 million in funding to the Nokiiwin Tribal Council.
The federal government also invested a total of $50 million to support Indigenous groups, and women who have been victims of violence and sexual assault amid the COVID-19 pandemic.