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SYDNEY (NS) – August 5, 2011 – The five First Nations communities on Cape Breton Island will continue to develop their business and leadership skills thanks to Government of Canada support for two initiatives designed to promote greater participation in the economic development of the region.
“The Government of Canada recognizes that economic development is key to improving the standard of living and quality of life for Aboriginal people,” said the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport) on behalf of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and La Francophonie.
The Unama'ki Economic Benefits Office (UEBO) will receive operational funding to continue its economic development work on behalf of the First Nations communities on Cape Breton Island. Originally established in 2007 to oversee business opportunities for First Nations companies arising from the cleanup of the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Site, the UEBO has broadened its horizons to find new opportunities for Aboriginal businesses in various sectors while providing young Aboriginals with training for skilled, well-paying jobs.
The total operational budget of the UEBO over the next three years is approximately
$1.3 million. ECBC is providing financial assistance of $438,000, and the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Project, through Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, is providing $755,000. This funding from the project is in addition to the approximately $337,000 provided to the UEBO in June 2007.
“It is through key investments such as these that our government is supporting Cape Breton’s Aboriginal communities while strengthening their economic foundation,” said Minister Fletcher on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for Status of Women.
In addition, the Eskasoni Band Council, on behalf of all the First Nations communities in Cape Breton, will oversee the implementation of the Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Accounting and Development (LEAD) Program. This program will help build expertise within the Island’s Aboriginal communities and businesses in the areas of management, human resources and financial management. Delivered in the community and tailored to local needs, LEAD includes mentoring, immersion into the business world and an opportunity to earn transferrable, post- secondary credits.
"Our Government is working with our partners to assist Aboriginal people in obtaining the knowledge, skills and training they need to participate in economic opportunities," said the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. "These investments demonstrate our government's commitment to working with partners to provide First Nations with the tools they need to create economic development opportunities for the First Nations community and in turn boosting Canada's economy."
The total cost of the LEAD Program is $181,835. ECBC is contributing $87,000 and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is contributing $42,049.
Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation offers programs in support of economic development initiatives and is responsible for delivering ACOA's programs on Cape Breton Island and in the Mulgrave area.
Office of Minister Valcourt
613 790 3637
902 564 3617
Owen Fitzgerald, Executive Director
Unama’ki Economic Benefits Office
902 562 4700
Director, Community Economic Development,
Eskasoni First Nation
902 379 2800
Public Works and Government Services Canada
902 496 5356