Training and employment programs offered by the Manitoba Metis Federation will get a boost of more than $160 million through a new agreement signed with the federal government.
Federation president David Chartrand and Patty Hajdu, the federal minister of employment, made the announcement in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
The new agreement will ensure 15,000 Métis citizens get the training they need to become gainfully employed, said Chartrand.
“This new program will give us the expansion to really put an investment in … where there’s going to be a win-win on both sides,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Under previous employment development programs, funding was limited to programs that ran for 64 weeks or less. This new agreement will allow for multi-year training programs, and includes fewer restrictions around how those programs spend the money, said Hajdu.
“For example, money would be transferred to the Métis nation, but then the way that the money could be used was extremely proscriptive and very, in some cases, short-term” under the old program, she said.
“If the agreements are very short-term, it’s very difficult for communities to do long-term planning.”
The Manitoba Metis Federation has been developing partnerships with private-sector employers to identify their needs and devise training curricula to fill those gaps, Chartrand said.
By allowing for multi-year training programs, the MMF can plan for labour shortages at firms with aging workforces facing retirement.
“I think there’s an incentive for employers to make sure they’re tapping into all of that talent,” said Hajdu.