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September 13, 2018 – The federal government has announced funding to support Indigenous jobs in Canada’s forestry industry.

Amarjeet Sohi, minister of natural resources, says $400,000 for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council will sustain over 400 jobs near its NorSask Forest Products facility in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.

"Indigenous-led businesses and job creation are crucial to the Canadian, Saskatchewan and Meadow Lake economies," says Sohi. "[The] investment in the NorSask sawmill will help ensure operations stay strong while building greener, more efficient solutions for manufacturing."

Funded through the Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI), part of the government’s Softwood Lumber Action Plan, the contributions will support the council’s efforts to enhance safety, capacity and production efficiencies.

Larry Iron, vice-chief of Meadow Lake Tribal Council, says that the funding is an indication of support by the government for economic development in Indigenous communities. "Specifically, the financial support provided by NRCAN undergirds 30 years of MLTC ownership, investment, employment opportunity and growth in the forest product manufacturing sector in northwest Saskatchewan," Iron says. "Through this kind of affirmative action, the federal government demonstrates its commitment to ensuring ongoing and sustained participation of Indigenous communities in forestry-based economic opportunities."

This project represents the first component of a larger initiative, also supported by Indigenous Services Canada, with the goal to improve on product quality and reduce manufacturing costs and fibre waste.

The IFI provides funding to support Indigenous-led economic development in Canada’s forest sector. The funding aims to increase Indigenous participation in forestry-related opportunities, businesses, careers and governance.

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