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Federal Finance Minister Announces 2015 Budget

May 11, 2015

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On April 21, 2015, the Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver presented his 2015 budget speech in the House of Commons. As expected, there was both support and criticism of the budget. The Mining Association of Canada, for example, declared its support of the budget and stated that the “budget invests in essentials.”


Former Prime Minister Paul Martin stated that the “budget has virtually nothing in it for Aboriginal Canadians,” while University of Winnipeg’s Professor Wab Kinew asserted that the budget allocated more funds for Canada’s 150th birthday – $210 million over the next four years – than for Aboriginal education ($200 million over 5 years). Jorge Barrera of the APTN noted that “Finance Minister Joe Oliver didn’t mention the word “Aboriginal” or “First Nation” in his budget speech.” National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations described the budget as “a status-quo budget,” and added “the status quo is not acceptable.” So, does the budget have anything for GDI or the Métis?


One of the most significant proposals in the budget was $215 million over five years beginning in this year and $50 million per year thereafter to the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF), which provides skills development and training for Aboriginal peoples, in partnership with businesses and other levels of government. GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Initiative, 2011-2014, was funded by SPF. So this is a commendable decision by the government. SPF will complement the $350 million provided annually for the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS). GDI Training and Employment is a beneficiary of the ASETS.


The budget allocates $33.5 million over five years for administrative support for Aboriginal labour market programs and to launch a pilot labour force survey on reserve in order to improve available labour market information.


The budget will continue to fund on-reserve and off-reserve surveys targeting First Nation, Inuit and Metis people with $33.2 million over the next five years, $22.3 million coming from the existing budgets of Aboriginal Affairs, Health Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. The next survey is expected to range from 2016-2017 to 2020-2021 and focus on “participation in the economy.”


The budget had a one-time investment of $65 million to business and industry associations to allow them to work with willing post-secondary institutions to better align curricula with the needs of employers. GDI can potentially benefit from this funding through partnerships with businesses.


Although not a direct funding to our work at GDI, the $1 million over five years to promote the adoption of the Blue Seal Certification program across Canada will benefit clients of the GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Project who proceeds to Blue Seal certification upon earning their journeyperson status.


$248.5 million over five years in Aboriginal labour market programming and $4 million over two years in enhanced Labour Market Information to support the launch of a new one-stop national labour market information portal. The portal will complement, and likely benefit GDI’s work in determining labour market information in the MN-S regions. For more information on the 2015 budget, please visit : Budget 2015

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