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August 7, 2013

Positioning Aboriginal Women for Management Roles in Northern BC

Filling the current gap in training with first time offering of Aboriginal Leadership Program in Dease Lake

News Release

Moving aboriginal women beyond front-line administrative roles to position them as leaders in their Northern communities is the focus of the Associate Certificate in Aboriginal Leadership being offered by Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) for the first time this September in the small northern community of Dease Lake, B.C.

The Associate Certificate is filling a current gap in training. It is aimed at helping aboriginal women advance their education and take on management and leadership roles.

Dease Lake, with a population of approximately 375 (based on the 2006 census), has a relatively low (5.5 per cent) unemployment rate due to the number of resource-based projects (i.e. mining, run-of-river hydro-electric) in the area.

Most of the previous training has targeted the trades.  This program, as defined by the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement, is specifically aimed at women who are not enrolled in high school or post-secondary training, are unemployed and not receiving Employment Insurance benefits, or are employed and low-skilled.

The 15-credit Associate Certificate is designed as the first step toward a university path.  Students who complete the Associate Certificate can ladder into the Aboriginal Leadership Certificate, Aboriginal Leadership Diploma and the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma offered at JIBC. They can also transfer the credits to other post-secondary institutes including: Thompson Rivers University, University of the Fraser Valley, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and Royal Roads University.

About 70 Aboriginal learners in Prince Rupert, New Westminster, and Greenville in the Nass Valley, have participated in the program which is offered in a culturally sensitive manner.

Lectures are combined with role-playing, and small group discussions to support participants to explore how their personal history, cultural attitudes, and biases may have previously prevented them from returning to work or school. 

Many First Nations people do not have the resources to leave their community to further their education. This is especially true for women who have greater responsibility for children and family.

Research conducted in 2010 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that individuals who held master’s or bachelor’s degrees had about the same median incomes regardless of their cultural backgrounds. In 2006, the same study found that aboriginal women with bachelor’s degrees or higher earned more than non-aboriginal women with equivalent education.

JIBC will partner with The Tahltan Central Council, Tahltan Health & Social Services, the Tahltan Band, Tahltan Nation Development Corporation and Iskut First Nations. The First Nations Technology Council will be delivering computer workshops that will support the training. The program is funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement.

The program is set to begin in Dease Lake on September 3, 2013. For more information call JIBC at 1.604.528.5647 or email aboriginal@jibc.ca  


Cheryl Matthew, JIBC

“Through Indigenization efforts at JIBC we have been working to establish mutually beneficial and respectful partnerships with First Nations people across the province to provide culturally relevant education that leads to capacity building for communities” said Cheryl Matthew, Associate Director, Indigenization, JIBC.”

 Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education

“We are working to ensure Aboriginal people in B.C. get the post-secondary education and training they need to get good jobs, support their families, and meet B.C.’s labour requirements. JIBC’s Associate Certificate in Aboriginal Leadership program will provide students the tools they need to achieve their personal and professional goals.”

 Annita McPhee, President, Tahltan Central Council

With six active resource development projects underway on Tahltan territory, the need for skilled employees to fill senior administrative and management positions has never been higher,” said Annita McPhee, President of the Tahltan Central Council.  “These projects are creating unprecedented opportunities for Tahltan women to move into fulfilling careers at home. The Tahltan Central Council is pleased to have developed a relationship with JIBC to deliver a program that will support Tahltan women.”

Quick Facts from a 2010 study by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The income gap between Aboriginal people and the rest of Canadians only slightly decreased between 1996 and 2006. The difference was $8,135 in 2006 compared to $9,428 in 1996.

 Aboriginal people residing in urban communities had higher median employment income than those in rural communities.

  • First Nations workers living off-reserve earned much more than those living on-reserve. However, the income gap between First Nations workers and non-Aboriginal Canadians remained significant.
  • There was a minimal difference in earnings for Aboriginal people who have obtained bachelor’s degrees or higher when compared to non-Aboriginal Canadians with the same qualification. However, Aboriginal people with high school education or less experienced significant income disparity.
  • Younger Aboriginal people who have attained post-secondary education fared economically better than older Aboriginal people with same qualification.

See more at BC Centre for Employment Excellence.

Tags: Aboriginal women, BC, Dease Lake, leadership

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Last updated April 10, 2014