Thunder Bay

Ottawa, Queen's Park combine for $20M funding announcement at Confederation College

The federal and provincial governments have announced a combined $20.7 million dollars for a pair of education institutes in northwestern Ontario.

$18M to Confederation for new TEC Hub, $2.7M to Oshki-Pimache for First Nations skills training

Federal innovation, science and economic development minister Navdeep Bains (2nd from left), along with Thunder Bay-area MPs Don Rusnak and Patty Hajdu were at Confederation College Thursday announcing funding for the school's TEC Hub building. (Twitter)

The federal and provincial governments have announced a combined $20.7 million dollars for a pair of education institutes in northwestern Ontario.

Navdeep Bains, the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, made the announcement in Thunder Bay, Ont. Thursday, along with provincial ministers Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro.

$18 million will go to Confederation College — $9 million from each senior level of government — for the construction of the school's Technology Education and Collaboration Hub. The project is slated to include workshop and lab space and will house all of the college's apprenticeship, trades and technology programs.

"That's where a lot of the magic happens, that's where the creativity really comes together," said Bains.

"That's where you really promote the diversity of thoughts and ideas and in that process is where you really come up with neat solutions to problems that we're facing."
Bains (centre) also announced funding for the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute to help deliver trades training to Indigenous communities, and for upgrades at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School. (Supplied by Confederation College)

In addition, $2.7 million was announced for the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute, a First Nations education centre that provides training for Indigenous people in Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory.

Some of that money will go towards the organization's Pathways to a Prosperous Future project, which, through the use of a mobile trades lab, brings training in a variety of skills, like plumbing, mechanical and electrical, to almost 50 First Nations communities.

The rest of the funding will go to upgrading skilled trades work spaces at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.

It's hoped the students hands-on experiences in the renovated workshops will inspire them to pursue post-secondary education, said Bains.

"You want to create a sense of excitement, a sense of hope and optimism and also you want to engage them when they're formulating what careers they want to pursue and I think definitely those investments would really do that, motivate them essentially to be able to pursue a career in those areas."

The funding to the college and the high school is viewed "as a historic down payment on the government's vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation," Bains was quoted as saying in a press release accompanying Thursday's announcement.