Gabriel Dumont Institue


Nurturing Our Future Métis Public Health Services Project Announcement

New federal investment supports multi-stakeholder health services project to increase Métis capacity in the healthcare sector

Oct 25, 2023

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The Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) signed a new five-year agreement with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to create and deliver the Nurturing our Future – Building Métis Public Health Services Project that will increase Métis representation in the health employment sector, build sustainability across Métis public health services, and overall improve Saskatchewan patient outcomes. A special project announcement took place on October 25, 2023, at the Gabriel Dumont Institute Museum & Art Gallery. 

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Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Skills and Partnership Fund, this project will work to address the major shortage of skilled labour in the health sector in Saskatchewan by implementing demand-driven skills development training programs. “By supporting this project through the Skills and Partnership Fund, we are able to address labour shortages in the health sector in Saskatchewan and ensure more Indigenous people are empowered with the training and resources they need to start their journeys in high-demand careers. This is how we will build a healthier, more equitable Canada – for everyone.” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault. The total project contribution from ESDC is $14.6 million. 

Key project stakeholders include the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan (MN—S) and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). The Institute’s entities GDI Training and Employment and Dumont Technical Institute will also be major contributors to the project. “For over 25 years, GDI has been training students to be healthcare professionals in a wide variety of occupations.” said Brett Vandale, Acting GDI Executive Director “Our graduates leave us with the professional skills to provide a high standard of care and the ability to enhance the quality of care for Indigenous communities by ensuring graduates are also connected to their culture.” 


Brett Vandale stands at a podium draped in a red Métis scarf wearing a black suit and light blue shirt. He has short salt and pepper hair and a serious expression.

Brett Vandale, Acting Executive Director of the Gabriel Dumont Institute, photo by Juli Labrecque

The investment will expand health-related training programming to support Métis capacity in high-demand healthcare positions and fill employment vacancies with qualified Métis trainees with the support of our partners. The project will train approximately 600 Métis clients in healthcare programs over the next five years. This project is scheduled to run until January 21, 2028. 

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The SHA will support this innovative partnership by recruiting and supporting GDI’s qualified Métis healthcare program graduates. “We successfully partnered with Gabriel Dumont Institute to employ Indigenous Birth Support Worker Program graduates in 2019, supporting Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Actions through increased support for Indigenous expectant mothers, families and communities,” said Thona Longneck, Executive Director of SHA First Nations and Métis Health. “The Nurturing Our Future Project expands this previous partnership between SHA and GDI to advance TRC Calls to Action 7, 20, 23, and 92. It will improve employment outcomes for Métis citizens, specifically increasing the number of Métis professionals working in the healthcare sector by providing equitable access to jobs, training and education opportunities.”

Senator Nora Cummings stands at podium draped in a Red Métis scarf she has short cropped silvery hair and a white blazer wearing glasses and a big smile.

Métis Nation—Saskatchewan Senator Nora Cummings, Photo by Juli Labrecque

The MN—S has also partnered on this initiative to provide Métis students with additional sponsorship and employment opportunities in the health sector. MN–S President Glen McCallum said, “Distinctions-based programs and services are priorities for our government. To collaborate with Canada, the SHA, and GDI on this training program means more culturally appropriate care will be provided by Métis people within our healthcare system and the Métis patient experience will vastly improve. It’s important that our young Métis citizens know they can be a part of increasing Métis capacity by taking advantage of these career training opportunities in healthcare.” The partnership will work together to create more work experience programs, health entry programs, and meaningful employment opportunities for Métis that meet the needs of the SHA and MN—S labour market.

Beginning this fall, DTI has increased the number of available seats in its Licensed Practical Nursing and Continuing Care Assistant Programs, and applications are open now for the 2024/2025 Licensed Practical Nursing Program. GDI will continue to work with project partners to develop future training programs to support the Healthcare Industry across Saskatchewan, including more training in the areas of Phlebotomy, Mental Health and Wellness, and Indigenous Birth Support.

A crowd of people sitting in chairs facing a podium in the GDI Métis Museum and Art Gallery

Photo by Juli Labrecque

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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