The Northwest Territories will receive $46 million from Ottawa, over six years, to spend on training to help residents get jobs.

The funding is an increase of $4 million on previous agreements, the federal government claimed. The money is intended to help people under-represented in the territory’s workforce, like those with disabilities, women, and Indigenous people.

Michael McLeod, the NWT’s Liberal MP, said the funding was proof his government is committed to investing in northerners. Caroline Cochrane, the territorial employment minister, said strengthening the labour market was critical to the territory’s economic future.

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The new funding agreement was announced on Wednesday at the offices of the NWT Native Women’s Association in downtown Yellowknife.

The association is receiving $145,000 per year, through two programs, as part of the funding deal.

Cabin Radio spoke to Rachel Tambour-Zoe, from the Katlodeeche First Nation, who works as the association’s victim service coordinator.

Rachel Tambour-Zoe and Delilah Turner, NWT Native Women's Association staff
Rachel Tambour-Zoe (left) and Delilah Turner, NWT Native Women’s Association staff. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

“It’s huge. We’re a non-profit so any kind of funds we get really helps us out a lot,” said Tambour-Zoe, who can be on-call at all hours of the day helping victims of crime in the territory.

“We have a training centre here and I also run training programs for volunteers and for my staff. Now we have this new funding, we can go a lot further with our courses. I’m really excited.

“I do get overwhelmed. The clients, they can’t see their worker being overwhelmed in any way. We work very hard.”

The funding moves from Ottawa to the territorial government through two major initiatives, the Labour Market Development Agreement – which helps people who are eligible for employment insurance (EI) benefits – and the Workforce Development Agreement, which provides assistance not related to EI.

The federal government expects 1,300 people in the NWT to be helped by the funding.

Meanwhile, the territory announced it has redesigned its suite of programs to help people get jobs in response to the new funding agreement.

As an example, the territory’s Small Community Employment Support Program now directly funds designated community authorities, who can then provide on-the-job training to their residents.

“This new approach recognizes that communities are best placed to identify their own labour market needs and priorities,” said a territorial government statement released on Thursday.