Government of Canada invests in Inuit organizations to launch new skills and employment training program

News release

Distinctions-based program empowers Indigenous people to improve skills and find jobs

July 8, 2019        Iqaluit, Nunavut           Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada and Inuit partners are taking significant action to ensure Inuit have greater opportunities for employment and can achieve lifelong prosperity for themselves, their families and their communities. Working in partnership is the best way to ensure better outcomes for Inuit.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown, Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, alongside the Kakivak Association, announced the launch of the Inuit Labour Market Strategy under the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program.

The Government and Indigenous partners co-developed the implementation of the ISET Program, which is a result of efforts to renew relationships with Indigenous peoples. The program builds on the success of its predecessor, the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS), which has served approximately 375,000 Indigenous people.

Partner organizations such as the Kakivak Association, and a broad network of Indigenous organizations across Canada, deliver the ISET Program to provide skills development programs and job-training services to Indigenous people so they can improve their skills and meet their long-term career goals. Each organization designs and delivers programming based on the needs and priorities of their communities.

In Budget 2018, the Government committed a historic $2 billion investment over five years, and $408.2 million per year ongoing to create the new ISET Program. It will improve support for Indigenous partners through increased funding flexibility and longer-term agreements. These enhancements reflect the Government’s commitment to advancing reconciliation and fostering a better future for Indigenous people and all Canadians.


“Our government is committed to renewed relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on reconciliation and recognition of rights, respect, and co-operation. This partnership puts the power in the hands of the Inuit to implement their own skills training programs and services. We are proud to collaborate with the Inuit organizations, such as the Kakivak Association and ITK to create equal opportunities for Inuit.
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“The Government wants to reduce the skills and employment gaps that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. That is why we are pleased to partner with Inuit organizations like Kakivak Association to implement the new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program. This program includes increased funding and enhanced approaches to help Inuit improve their skills and find employment.”
–the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown, Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

“Employment, workforce development and labour is one of eight identified joint priorities between Inuit leadership and the federal government through our Inuit Crown Partnership Committee process. I am pleased to see this financial commitment for Inuit organizations to be able to advance training and skills development for Inuit through this program.”
–Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

“We are pleased to see stable, long-term funding delivered to Inuit through the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program that focuses on the unique needs and priorities of Inuit.”
– Monica Ell-Kanayuk, Vice President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

“The new ISET Program will increase the level of service and support provided by Kakivak Association and similar organizations across Inuit Nunangat. Improved partnerships and long-term, flexible funding agreements build on years of successful program delivery and enhance our ability to help Inuit succeed.”
–Joe Attagutaluk, Board Chair, Kakivak Association

Quick facts

  • The Indigenous population is young and is the fastest growing population in Canada. More than 400,000 Indigenous youth will be of age to enter the job market over the next decade.

  • The Government of Canada and Indigenous partners are working together to ensure that Indigenous people have the same opportunities for skills development and employment as non-Indigenous Canadians.

  • The ISET Program takes a distinctions-based approach to recognize the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, in addition to a dedicated funding stream to support services to urban and non-affiliated Indigenous people.

  • Of this new funding, $161.2 million over five years, and $32.6 million per year ongoing, is dedicated to the Inuit Labour Market Strategy.

  • The Inuit Labour Market Strategy recognizes the unique needs of the Inuit, and aims to reduce the employment and skills gaps between Inuit and non-Indigenous people.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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