Michael McLeod

Your member of parliament for

Northwest Territories

Michael McLeod

Your member of parliament for

Northwest Territories


RELEASE: Helping Indigenous people in the NWT gain vital job skills and experience

A strong economy depends on a strong middle class where everybody has a real and fair chance to succeed. Despite being the fastest growing segment of the country’s population, Indigenous peoples continue to be underrepresented in Canada’s workforce.


That’s why today Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour announced two projects under the Skills Partnership Fund (SPF).


Up to 80 Indigenous peoples will take part in a new project delivered by the Gwich’in Tribal Counci to help them develop their skills and gain valuable work experience. The Taii Trigwatsii (Breaking Trails) project will receive $4,553,065 and will help participants in Gwich’in communities of Inuvik, Fort McPherson, Aklavik, and Tsiigehtchic.


In addition, up to 18 Indigenous women will take part in a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Program. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) will receive $826,984 to test innovative training approaches, address barriers to employment and build capacity throughout the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Aurora College is partnering with IRC to deliver the two-year LPN program at Aurora Campus in Inuvik, NT.




“Breaking down barriers to employment for Indigenous people will ensure that everyone has a real and fair chance at success. Helping Indigenous people get the skills and training they need to find good jobs will help grow the economy and strengthen the middle class and help those working hard to join it.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour


“By providing more opportunities and training for Indigenous people, the Government of Canada is demonstrating the importance of helping all people get the skills and experience they need to help build strong communities like ours across the country and to contribute to growing the middle class.”

– Michael McLeod, MP Northwest Territories


“With 50 percent of Gwich’in Participants under the age of 30, we are appreciative of and encouraged by the commitment of the federal government to support the Taii Trigwatsii (Breaking Trails) project which has been designed by indigenous peoples for indigenous peoples to provide employment and essential skills training within the Gwich’in Settlement Area.  Removing barriers to employment and building community capacity is a continuing challenge as we work towards land claim implementation, and opportunities such as the Skills Partnership Fund to provide training focused on addressing the socio-economic needs of our community dovetails nicely with the mandates of both the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Government of Canada.”  

– Jordan Peterson, Deputy Grand Chief/Vice President, Gwich’in Tribal Council


“Inuvialuit Regional Corporation is always looking for ways to increase capacity throughout the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and working with partners such as the Government of Canada and Aurora College we are able to offer opportunities such as the Licensed Practical Nurse program to our beneficiaries and others. We hope that those completing this program will utilize their new skills in the northern economy, becoming meaningful participants and achieving self-reliance. It is exciting and comforting for many that more and more Inuvialuit and northerners will be present in the hospitals and health centres that are present within our region and the NWT.”

Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation


“The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation has worked towards making the Licensed Practical Nurse program a reality for many years. Aurora College is pleased to partner with the IRC to deliver this and other programs that meet the needs of the communities and that will provide meaningful employment opportunities for local residents.”

  • Jane Arychuk, President, Aurora College


Quick Facts


  • Indigenous peoples in Canada represent the youngest and fastest-growing segment of the country’s population. Over the next decade, 400,000 Indigenous youth will be preparing to enter the workforce.


  • The SPF receives $50 million in funding per year, and to date has leveraged approximately $250 million (cash and in-kind) from partnerships since its inception.


  • From April 2010 to March 2017, the SPF has served more than 32,000 Indigenous clients, which included  helping over 12,000 individuals get jobs in natural resources, trades and the health sector and assisting 1,500 individuals return to school.


Associated Links




Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament, Northwest Territories




Tony Devlin, Gwich’in Tribal Council

Director Corporate Services

867- 777 – 7923



Taylor Giffin

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Communications Coordinator