LOCAL EMPLOYMENT PLANNING COUNCIL and KIIKENOMAGA KIKENJIGEWEN EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING SERVICES ROLL-OUT NEW DRIVER’S LICENSING PROJECT FOR REMOTE MATAWA FIRST NATIONS
THUNDER BAY, ON: The Local Employment Planning Council (LEPC) for the District of Thunder Bay and Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS) announced today that they are rolling out a new Driver’s Licensing Project within the communities of Eabametoong, Nibinamik, Neskantaga, Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations.
For members of these communities, obtaining a driver’s license involves the additional costs of flying at least two times to an urban centre due to the lack of this Ontario government service in their communities. The nearest DriveTest Centres from these communities are in Pickle Lake or Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Due to the lack of broadband internet in these communities, members also face difficulty in accessing resources that DriveTest Centres provide. As the employment and training service provider for these communities since 2010, KKETS has seen firsthand how the lack of a driver’s license negatively impacts on a trainee’s ability to connect to employment opportunities.
The project, aimed at addressing this disparity and improving Indigenous employment rates, includes an education/awareness campaign and a sponsorship program which will assist 30 people from these communities in obtaining their G1 license. Another important part includes examining how the lack of Ontario government driver’s license services in the remote north has an impact on employability and developing potential solutions to address barriers so that people from the Matawa communities can better capture employment opportunities now and into the future.
The project is expected to run until May 31, 2017.