The federal government is spending $12.6 million over three years to establish a marine training centre in Hay River, it announced at the beginning of the month.

The program will be run through a partnership between the GNWT and the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium, which is using some of the funding to expand its programs in Nunavut and Nunavik.

Calling the Mackenzie River the NWT’s “marine highway to the Arctic Ocean,” Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann praised the investment in the marine economy in a statement.

The program will train more than 150 people annually, stated Jeffrey Maurice, chair of the consortium.

“(We will) deliver marine training that will provide Northerners, women, Indigenous peoples and Inuit with the skills they require to become part of the ever-expanding marine industry in Canada’s Arctic,” stated Maurice in a release.

Infrastructure department spokesperson Kelley Ryder says the consortium will be handling the details of when the facility will open and what will be in the curriculum, but News/North was unable to get this information from the consortium by press time.

The funding is part of Canada’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, announced in November 2016. Through this plan, the federal government has promised to make investments in speeding up resupply operations, creating a Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary for the Arctic with eight new community response boats, creating a seasonal inshore rescue boat station in the Arctic, and extending the season of operation for Canada’s icebreakers.

Additionally, the plan promises to improve the Northern operations of Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program, to help with search and rescue, monitoring offshore vessels, and spotting marine pollution.

The funding to establish the marine training facility is specifically earmarked towards reducing barriers to getting into the industry for women, Indigenous populations and Northerners in general.

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