GERALDTON — The Ontario government is investing $3.6 million to help 150 Indigenous people receive training to start careers building and running the new Greenstone Gold Mine in Geraldton. They will learn the skills they need to become construction craft workers, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, crane operators, welders, and millwrights.

Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who was joined by Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, and Jane McKenna, Parliamentary Assistant to Minister McNaughton.

“While better days are ahead as we approach summer, we know that many Indigenous people in Northern communities and throughout our province have suffered job losses in the past year and are still looking for meaningful employment and well-paying opportunities,” said Minister McNaughton. “There are many promising career opportunities in the skilled trades, and we want to make sure people are able to access the training they need to get these good jobs and support their families. This project is a great way to connect Indigenous communities with fulfilling careers and support the growth of Northern Ontario’s mining sector.”

Led by Minodahmun Development LP., the Indigenous Workplace Development Program will focus on helping Indigenous communities, including women, youth, and people with disabilities, prepare for apprenticeships in construction and mining trades. The program will consist of a combination of in-class instruction, hands-on learning, and job placements with companies that are directly involved in the new mine. Project participants can receive financial supports to offset the costs of accommodation, transportation, and child care while they train, and participating employers who offer work placements to program participants will be able to get up to $3,000 in wage subsidies per placement.

“As our economy emerges stronger than ever from this pandemic, our government continues to support meaningful opportunities for Indigenous communities across the province,” said Minister Rickford. “The Greenstone Gold Mine is another incredible development in the heart of Northern Ontario that will create jobs and prosperity for Geraldton and local Indigenous communities. This project has the potential to become an epicentre of mining in Northwestern Ontario based on its strategic location near the Ring of Fire region.”

This free training will be available to Indigenous jobseekers from Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland and Ginoogaming First Nations, and the Municipality of Greenstone.

“The Greenstone Project is a generational employment opportunity for our First Nations and the local community, and we believe this is the beginning of something much bigger as the region transforms into Ontario’s newest mining hub,” said Joe Donio, President of Minodahmun Development LP. “For our First Nations to truly benefit from mining, our people need to be the one’s building and working at Greenstone Gold Mines. This community-based training program is designed to get our people ready for employment with a focus on skilled trades, work placements, and apprenticeships through culturally appropriate training. It will remove barriers and create a strong Indigenous workforce by enhancing education, training, and work experience opportunities to create intergenerational prosperity for members. Northern Ontario is facing a labour shortage, especially for skilled trades, and there are no better people to fill this shortage than local First Nations members who have lived in Greenstone since time immemorial.”

This new investment is part of Ontario’s $115-million Skills Development Fund, designed to support fresh ideas for training and skills development that will help our economy recover and prosper.