Ottawa has announced new funding to increase Indigenous access to marine training programs.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced Tuesday the federal government will provide $6.2 million to the British Columbia Institute of Technology over the next three years.
“Our government is committed to maintaining a well-trained marine labour force reflective of Canada’s diverse population,” stated Garneau in a press release.
The funding will deliver a joint project between BCIT’s marine campus in North Vancouver and Victoria’s Camosun College.
The new program is part of the $1.2 billion dollar Oceans Protection Plan, and aims to grant opportunities to the marine industries’ underrepresented groups, such as women, northerners, Inuit and Indigenous peoples.
Under the program, BCIT and Camosun College will consult with members of the Indigenous community, as well as marine employers, to ensure that the courses provide effective access to marine training.
“BCIT is committed to providing flexible pathways to learning, to facilitating reskilling, and to improving learner access,” said BCIT president Kathy Kinloch in a statement.
“This announcement will enable us to continue the important work of supporting Indigenous communities and students through delivery of skills training and providing opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the marine industry,” said Kinloch.
According to Transport Canada, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection, since the Oceans Protection Plan was implemented in November 2016.