Photo: Members of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto dance group perform following the launch of the Bloor Street Culture Corridor. The centre is one of two downtown organizations serving urban Aboriginal youth to receive federal funding.
Two downtown organizations serving urban Aboriginal youth have received funding infusion from the federal government to assist in addressing barriers to employment.
Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training at 167 Gerrard St. E. and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto at 16 Spadina Rd. have been awarded a total of $144,590 in funding through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Urban Aboriginal Strategy, which was recently improved to allow for more funding available to support community organizations and projects.
This new approach recognizes the important role urban Aboriginal organizations play and aims to promote community engagement, planning and partnerships with the goal of increasing the participation of urban Aboriginal people in the Canadian economy.
At Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, the funding will help support and expand the “innovative programs and services” the organization has been offering since 1994, said Carol White, a program coordinator, in a March 2 release.
Specifically, it will help pay for a new Aboriginal Urban Youth Skills Program she said would “provide unemployed Aboriginal youth with the necessary skills to explore meaningful employment opportunities.”
“Traditional teachings are an integral part of this program as this knowledge is fundamental in knowing who we are as Aboriginal people,” White said.
Over at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, there’s a an Aboriginal Youth Mental Health and Addictions Program known as ENAGB, which, with the continuously planning of its seven-member youth council, is working to provide wraparound services for Aboriginal youth within the GTA.
This new funding from the federal government will help this program to continue and grow and in turn help youth succeed in life and gain meaningful employment, said Cynthia Bell, the ENAGB program manager at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, in the statement.
“Employment and employment skills will always be an important factor in empowering our youth toward living a healthy lifestyle; receiving this support has allowed our youth council and staff the opportunity to work with youth in developing a strategic plan and provide training for youth to move toward the implementation of ENAGB’s Waazhi NakiiWORK, an Odd Job Squad,” she said.
The two Toronto organizations, which were selected through an adjudicated call for proposals administered by the National Association of Friendship Centres, are among several across the country to receive support for projects help create opportunities for urban Aboriginal youth.
“For over half a century, Friendship Centres across Canada have been addressing the needs of urban Aboriginal people through our unique wraparound service delivery model,” said Nelson Mayer, president of the National Association of Friendship Centres, in a press release.
“We are pleased to have the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto expanding its services and welcome Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training into the network of service delivery under the Urban Aboriginal Strategy.”
Further, this funding will help organizations serving urban Aboriginal youth across Canada develop and run projects that aim to promote skills and training and entrepreneurship, and support Aboriginal women, children and families.
This support will also help these groups build improved partnerships that foster a better understanding of the issues urban Aboriginal populations face, while working to encourage growth in numbers of Aboriginal people in the workforce as well as increase support for trained, skilled workers.
“Our government is proud to support projects that help enable Aboriginal people to take advantage of our country’s economic prosperity,” said Mark Strahl, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, in a release.
“Supporting measured that help create jobs and encourage Aboriginal participation in the economy is key to a more prosperous and vibrant Canada.”
Visit https://www.aadncaandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100014265/1369225120949 for more information about the Urban Aboriginal Strategy.