Social Empowerment

Spirit Bear Research Foundation's field technicians conduct ecosystem-based wildlife research across seventy unique sites throughout Kitasoo/Xai'xais territory. Photo by Spirit Bear Research Foundation.
Spirit Bear Research Foundation's field technicians conduct ecosystem-based wildlife research across seventy unique sites throughout Kitasoo/Xai'xais territory. Photo by Spirit Bear Research Foundation.

By increasing the number and stability of family-supporting salaries in the region while also making long-term investments in workforce development, First Nations are increasing the health and resiliency of their communities.

First Nations are creating new opportunities for their people to work, learn, and apply their knowledge and skills throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii. Their conservation and economic development inititiaves are increasing income levels, providing significant on-the-job training programs, and investing in community members’ achievement of certifications and attendance at colleges and universities.

Social Empowerment Outcomes

First Nations are providing new family-supporting employment opportunities and retaining community members in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

Creating New Employment

First Nations have created 1101 permanent new jobs (comprised of full-time, part-time, and seasonal positions) with a full-time equivalency of 668 through projects supported by Coast Funds. Of these jobs created 847 are held by First Nation community members, which is equivalent to 13% of the working age population of First Nations communities in the region.

Permanent Jobs Created by Sector

Community Well-Being Impact

New employment opportunities enable people to remain in their home communities with family-supporting income levels. These positions counter the migration of local populations to urban centres and provide alternative employment to workers in resource-dependent industries that are affected by changes in global commodity prices. These positions offer career paths to youth to develop skills that they can apply locally. Part-time and seasonal positions offer flexibility for members who are self-employed in seasonal sectors of the economy and who participate in cultural activities, such as fishing and harvesting.

We’ve always tried to work locally, with local contractors before we go outside. We give the options to everyone and we always try to keep it local as much as we can. That’s really important to us.

— Harold Leighton, CEO of Metlakatla Development Corporation

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First Nations are increasing local incomes that support families throughout in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

Increasing Personal Income Levels

As a key element of conservation and economic development initiatives, First Nations have invested $49,994,830 in local family-supporting salaries through projects supported by Coast Funds.

Cumulative First Nations' Investment in Local Salaries

Community Well-Being

First Nations are supporting the well-being of members by providing family-supporting incomes through conservation programs as well as the start-up and expansion of local businesses. These wages are spent locally in remote communities and act as an important economic multiplier, building stronger, and more resilient local economies.

We invested funding from Coast Funds to assist with salary costs related to our involvement in ecosystem-based management implementation, as well as the costs of community engagement regarding that work.

— Dallas Smith, President, Nanwakolas Council Society

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Talking Stick – Fall 2017

The fall 2017 issue of Talking Stick features the Wei Wai Kum Nation’s new seaside cottages in Campbell River, Old Massett Village Council’s longhouse village at Tlielang (Hiellen), and how First Nations are creating family-supporting jobs across the coast.

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First Nations are building community members’ skills, knowledge, and experience with on-the-job workforce development and applied training programs.

Workforce Development and Skills Training

First Nations have conducted 432 initiatives that have trained 1154 people and provided 17,282 training days with the support of Coast Funds.

Workforce Training and Development Initiatives By First Nations

Community Well-Being Impact

First Nations are investing in training to enable First Nations community members to work at new organizations in the region and meet the growing demand for skilled workers. This training includes data analysis, ecological restoration work, ecotourism guiding, safety, first aid, and vessel operation, all of which are growing areas of demand for skills employees throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

We look to develop our workers at every opportunity. Taan Forest staff have participated in sustainable forestry management training, extensive first aid on-the job-training, and forest engineering training.

— Bob Brash, Chief Executive Officer, Haida Enterprise Corporation

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First Nations are investing in training for community members to achieve professional certifications throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

Achieving Certifications

Investment in training has resulted in the achievement of 582 certifications through projects supported by Coast Funds.

Workforce Certifications By First Nations

Community Well-Being Impact

Certifications are important for community members to obtain advanced employment opportunities and for First Nations to build the capacity of their local workforces. In turn, this enables industry and conservation programs to staff positions in their remote locations that otherwise may be difficult to fill.

The investment in technical skills improves the safety of businesses and conservation programs, and supports First Nations to lead conservation work in their territory through scientific research and field work.

This year, our training focused on increasing the capacity for vessel operation among new staff. Three staff received certification in Small Vessel Operator Proficiency, and now everyone on staff is certified to run our research vessels safely. We fulfilled Transport Canada requirements certify all staff with Marine Emergency Duties training so that one certified staff member may be on board at all times.

— Jen Gordon, Research Biologist, Lax Kw’alaams Fisheries Stewardship

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First Nations are investing in community members to attend programs at college and universities.

Attending Higher Education

First Nations have supported 218 people who have attended programs through university and college degree programs as an element of  projects supported by Coast Funds.

Higher Education Attendance Through First Nations' Projects

Community Well-Being Impact

First Nations conservation programs and businesses are supporting their employees, board members, and management to attend higher education institutions. Investing in the education of these individuals is supporting new and expanding businesses as well as environmental stewardship initiatives in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii. As First Nations community members move into managerial positions, they are increasingly able to lead new conservation and economic development projects across the region.

Over time high-school completion rates are also rising in many communities. The BC Ministry of Education reported that on Haida Gwaii, for example, from 2006 to 2018, Aboriginal high-school completion rates increased from 26% to 90%. Interim superintendent for the district, Joanne Yovanovich, says the increase is largely due to community support: “We recognize the parents and the communities support for education—for the most part the community holds that as a high value, that the kids graduate.”

We are proud to have supported a member receive long term training with an Executive MBA Program as part of our investment in education.

— Jeff Svanhill, former Finance Manager, Heiltsuk Economic Development Corporation

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