Harper Announces Support for Northern Innovation in Mining
By A Correspondent
Prime Minister Stephen Harper on August 19 in Whitehorse, Yukon, announced support of $5.6 million over four years – through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency – for the construction of Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM), which will help Northerners acquire the skills they need to fill local jobs in the rapidly growing mining and exploration sectors, while conducting applied research and enhancing Yukon’s attractiveness for mining investment.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and Minister for the Arctic Council, Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Senator Daniel Lang and Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament for Yukon.
“Our Government is taking action to create the right conditions for continued growth in the Northern mining sector, and to ensure that Northerners derive maximum benefit from the abundant natural resources in their territories,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Our Government’s investment in this new Centre will address critical skills shortages facing the region, while providing the citizens of Yukon and the North with better access to the education and training that can lead to high quality jobs.”
The CNIM will be a one stop state-of-the-art education, training and research facility for people looking to begin a career in the mining industry as well as for those who want to improve their skills. Through the Centre, thousands of Yukoners will have access to accredited career training opportunities, helping provide a solution to current and future skilled labour shortages in the territory.
The CNIM will also conduct applied research and development to address northern specific challenges in order to grow and improve the competitiveness of Yukon’s mining sector.
Through the CNIM, all Yukoners, including Aboriginal peoples, will have access to accredited career training opportunities with direct linkages to skilled jobs in the territory, including Heavy Equipment Operator, Industrial Electrician and Industrial Welder. Programs such as Underground Miner, Millwright, and Mill Operator offered through the CNIM will enable Yukoners to train for skilled and technical positions, currently being filled by workers from outside the territory.
In addition to creating an estimated 40 construction jobs and six full-time and part-time jobs, within its first five years the CNIM is also expected to generate up to 520 trades, mining and apprenticeship graduates, plus 710 students completing shorter non-credit courses, who will provide much needed skilled labour for the North's rapidly expanding mining and exploration industries.
As committed to in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada will contribute to the construction of the CNIM at Yukon College’s Ayamdigut Campus in Whitehorse. The investment will also provide the means for a mobile trades school that will make training more accessible by delivering courses in smaller communities and at mine sites in Yukon. Construction of the new Centre is planned to begin in 2014, and is expected to be completed and operational by 2017.
Yukon College is the Territory’s only post-secondary institution. It offers a broad range of degree, diploma and certificate programs, as well as upgrading and professional training courses at 13 campuses in 12 Yukon communities. The College is also at the forefront of northern innovation and knowledge in mining with its internationally-recognized Yukon Research Centre. The Centre is a leader in permafrost research and cold climate innovation and has attracted partnerships with the universities of Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Alberta, Laval, McGill and Queen’s.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested over $430 million towards initiatives that support the mining industry in the North. Investments are related to skills development, resource based research and northern capacity development. In Yukon, some examples include:
- Over $4 million for Geoscience projects which will provide essential information to support mineral and resource exploration planning and development.
- Over $3.5 million to the Yukon Mine Training Association to assist in their efforts of increasing training opportunities in the skilled trades sector.
- Over $900,000 to Yukon College for their School of Mining and Technology to develop and launch Geosciences Technology and Geo-Hydrological Technology programs. The programs are the first of their kind in the North to specifically target resource industry needs.
- Over $384,000 to support Yukon First Nations negotiations of impact benefit agreements and socio-economic partnership agreements with the mining industry. This would ensure that First Nations participate in and directly benefit from mining activities in their communities.