Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council will be receiving up to $1,649,066 to help approximately 72 youth across the three territories to develop the skills they need to get, and keep good jobs.

On Aug. 10, Daniel Vandal, federal minister of northern affairs, on behalf of Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion met with Ilitaqsiniq to discuss the project being funded through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS).

This is a part of a larger national effort YESS is undertaking to give youth 37,000 new job placements across Canada over the next two years.

“Ilitaqsiniq addresses the economic, social and systemic issues Inuit face in our territory by providing innovative and culturally meaningful programming,” said Adriana Kusugak, executive director of Ilitaqsiniq.

“With the funding provided by Employment and Social Development Canada under the YESS, Ilitaqsiniq will work with youth to build on the strength and resilience of our young people to overcome the adversity and barriers they often face when it comes to employment opportunities.”

In a release by Employment and Social Development Canada, the participation rate in the labor market for Indigenous youth between the ages of 15 and 29 reached a low-point in May 2021 at 21.6 per cent, compared to 48.6 in September 2020.

In comparison to non-Indigenous youth the number fluctuated from 76.9 in September 2020 to 75.1 in May 2021.

The visiting minister hopes this will address this gap with the help of the Literacy Council.

“I was happy to meet with Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council, tour their workshop and learn about this innovative project and other programs they offer to support youth,” said Vandal.

“I look forward to seeing the development of this project, and the tremendous impact it will have on young people in Nunavut and across the North.”

Kusugak said they will work with their territorial counterparts the NWT Literacy Council and the Yukon Literacy Coalition to “engage with youth across the three Northern territories.”

According to the Conference Board of Canada, economic growth in the territories is expected to outpace the rest of Canada in the short-term. However they also add disengagement in learning and employment with Indigenous youth is significant.

“Creating more opportunities for young people to gain the valuable skills and experience they need is more important now more than ever,” said Qualtrough in a statement.

“We know young Canadians today are facing unprecedented challenges, with disruptions in their job placements, studies and internships. Partners like you are creating life-changing opportunities by helping Indigenous youth who may be facing barriers entering the labor market get the skills and professional training they need to build their future careers.”

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