Manitoba Hydro has announced plans for two hydroelectric generating stations (GS) in Northern Manitoba: Wuskwatim GS on the Burntwood River and Gull (Keeyask) GS on the Nelson River. The proposed hydroelectric projects represent approximately $4.0B in construction costs. Over 2,000 jobs are projected at peak construction. It is estimated that the effort will contribute up to $2.0B to the national Gross Domestic Product with one half of this amount accruing to Manitoba.
These projects (and possibility a third major project, Conawapa), have the potential for up to 20 years of direct/indirect employment for northern Aboriginal Manitobans and for other economic spin-offs.
In order to capture employment and economic opportunities for northern Aboriginal people, and in particular those First Nations in proximity of the two proposed projects, funding to support the Initiative is being provided as follows:
WED - Western Economic Diversification
INAC - Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
HRSDC - Human Resources Skills Development Canada
This $60.3M multi-year Initiative will train and prepare over 1,000 Aboriginal residents for 800 hydro construction and related employment opportunities. The Initiative will run from 2001/02 – 2009/10.
$22.0M of the federal contribution is through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP).
It is the first large scale Aboriginal human resource strategy in northern Manitoba to be planned, designed and implemented by northern Aboriginal Partners to prepare their members for employment opportunities on the projects and related opportunities.
The Hydro Northern Training and Employment Initiative is a key platform of the government’s Northern Development Strategy - a long term plan to develop the human and natural resources of northern Manitoba. The education and training objectives of the strategy are to (a) increase high school completions (b) better align training to northern labour market opportunities and (c) ensure that Northerners get jobs in the North.
Through other priority areas such as health, housing, transportation and economic development, the Strategy seeks to create opportunities for social and economic changes to benefit all northern Manitobans.