The federal government’s $6 million in funding to train people from Matawa First Nations in the mining sector is unlikely to improve employment prospects for aboriginal people, an Ontario researcher says.
Lindsay Bell, a university of Toronto researcher, looked at mine training programs in the Northwest Territories. She says after being trained, few aboriginal people found jobs in the mines.
The federal government announced earlier this month that 260 people will be trained through the fund.
The money will go to a group of stakeholders called the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance, which includes Matawa First Nations, NorOnt Resources and Confederation College.
The program will feature 15 courses including environmental monitoring, heavy equipment operation and several pre-trades courses such as carpentry, plumbing and welding. Other job possibilities range from security guard to camp cook to electrician.
The Ring of Fire alliance says out of the 260 trainees, 200 will enter employment.
Bell said, however, the money geared to training could be better spent somewhere else.
"[The federal government should] put a larger emphasis on infrastructure development and other educational opportunities so that First Nations people can really have the choice of how they want to live in the future," she said.