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Archived - Backgrounder - Improved On-Reserve Income Assistance Program

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The Government of Canada’s improved on-reserve Income Assistance Program is made up of two elements, the Enhanced Service Delivery initiative and the First Nations Job Fund, that together will ensure First Nations youth have the supports and the training they need to succeed in Canada’s job market.

Enhanced Service Delivery

A total of 22 First Nations organizations will receive funding, as part of the initial stage, under the new Enhanced Service Delivery (ESD) initiative to reform Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) on-reserve Income Assistance Program. This was made possible through Economic Action Plan 2013, in which the Government committed to working with First Nations to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program.

A large part of the work is centered on ensuring that First Nations youth can access the skills and training they need to secure employment. The additional investment in Enhanced Service Delivery will help First Nations take a more proactive approach that focuses on identifying individuals’ employment readiness and the jobs and skills training they require to find and keep a job.

An integral component of Enhanced Service Delivery is case management. Case-workers will work with individuals to identify barriers to employment and to develop a personalized plan to address those barriers. There will be incentives and disincentives, modeled after social assistance programs in their province of residence, to ensure that the individual follows their personal case plan.

Individuals will have access to a range of services and programs aimed at increasing their employability and guiding and supporting them as they move into the workforce. These can include basic life-skills training, skills training and career counseling.

First Nations Job Fund

The jobs and skills training component of the improved program will be implemented through the Government of Canada’s First Nations Job Fund.

The $109 million Job Fund will provide personalized job training to young Income Assistance recipients in participating communities, so they can develop the right skills to secure jobs.

Primarily delivered through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) network, the Job Fund will be implemented in First Nations communities that are willing and able to take part in this initiative. Participating communities will identify 18- to 24-year-old youth who can work and who require training to access available jobs.

To participate in the Job Fund, First Nation communities must meet certain criteria for success, including demonstrating that demand-driven employment opportunities are available in reasonable proximity to the community, so that these youth can get jobs following their training.

The Government of Canada targeted a call for proposals from First Nations and service delivery providers who previously demonstrated sufficient capacity and readiness to proceed with Enhanced Service Delivery and had specific opportunities to access the job market. The following chart includes the names of those participating First Nations and the Job Fund recipients whose proposals were approved for 2013-2014 funding.

Participating Organizations

P/TEnhanced Service Delivery Proponent
(Participating First Nations)
First Nations Job Fund Proponent
PE Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island (Abegweit, Lennox Island) Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island
QC Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government Commission de développement des ressources humaines des Premières Nations du Québec
Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam
Mohawk Council of Kahnawake
Atikamedkw de Manawan
Conseil des Montagnais du Lac-St-Jean–Mashteuiatsh
ON Due to a 1965 agreement in Ontario, a separate process is underway to allocate funds for the benefit of Ontario First Nations. Over $5 million is being allocated by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to the Government of Ontario so that an additional 20 Ontario First Nations may take up the full suite of Ontario Works employment service programming.*
MB Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (DOTC) (Sandy Bay, Long Plain) First Peoples Development Inc.
Fort Alexander/Sagkeeng
SK Battleford Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC)
(Moosomin, Red Pheasant, Saulteaux, Sweetgrass, Ahtahkakoop)
Saskatchewan Indian Training Assessment Group Inc. (SITAG)
Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC)
(Muskoday, Whitecap, One Arrow, Mistawasis, Muskeg Lake, Yellow Quill, Kinistin)
Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC)
(Canoe Lake, Ministikwan, Buffalo River, English River, Waterhen Lake, Birch Narrows, Makwa Sahgaiehcan, Flying Dust, Clearwater River)
Yorkton Tribal Council (YTC)
(Kahkewistahaw, Keeseekoose, Sakimay, Cote, The Key, Ocean Man)
Lac La Ronge First Nation
AB Maskwacis Employment Centre (MEC)
(Ermineskin Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe)
Six Independent Alberta First Nations of Hobbema
Tribal Chief Ventures Inc.
(Beaver Lake, Cold Lake, Frog Lake, Heart Lake, Whitefish Lake No. 128, Kehewin)
Tribal Chiefs Employment and Training Services Association (TCETS)
Blood Tribe Community Futures Treaty Seven (CFT7)
Paul First Nation Six Independent Alberta First Nations of Hobbema
BC Okanagan Indian Band
(Osooyos, Westbank, Penticton, Okanagan, Upper Similkameen, Lower Similkameen)
Okanagan Training and Development Council (OTDC)
Seabird Island
(Seabird, Chawathil, Shxw'ōwhámel, Squiala, Cheam, Union Bar)
Sto:lo Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
(Ditidaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Hupacasath, Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k:tles7et'h', Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Yuułu'ił'ath)
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
YK Partnership between Council of Yukon First Nations and First Nation clients in the Whitehorse area currently served by the AANDC regional office
TOTAL 22 Enhanced Service Delivery Proponents
(70 First Nations)
11 First Nations Job Fund Proponents

*Please also note that the Government of Canada will provide funding under the new First Nations Job Fund to four Ontario Aboriginal organizations funded under the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. These ASETS recipients are:

  1. Aboriginal Labour Force Development Circle
  2. Grand River Employment and Training
  3. The North Shore Tribal Council
  4. Ogemawahj Tribal Council

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