REGINA, April 2, 2004 -- The Honourable Hélène Chalifour Scherrer, Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament (Wascana), today announced the Government of Canada's collaboration with agencies such as Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services (RTSIS) in providing Aboriginal youth in the city with vital opportunities for education, skills development, and employment.RTSIS will receive $251,110 to provide a variety of services such as a high school/work-placement project, lifeguarding instruction, recreation opportunities, and traditional cultural teaching and support from Aboriginal Elders.The Government of Canada is also collaborating with the North Central Family Centre. The Centre will receive $114,696 for its "Life Enhancement" project, which provides opportunities for North Central area youth to get involved in a variety of activities that keep them off the streets and positively engaged in their community."In the Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed itself to removing the barriers faced by Aboriginal people in our society," said Minister Chalifour Scherrer. "In particular, we must give Aboriginal young people the means to reach their full potential and to participate in the growth of their communities. The partnerships we have established with organizations in this region will help us to meet this goal.""In Regina, many young Aboriginal people don't have the chance to actively participate in their community and take their rightful place in society," said Minister Goodale. "Organizations like RTSIS play an essential role for Aboriginal youth, allowing them to take full advantage of opportunities to develop, to improve their future prospects, and to continue to promote their culture."Financial assistance is provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centres Initiative. This Initiative provides Aboriginal youth, aged 15 to 24 and living in urban settings, with projects and activities that are culturally relevant and based in the Aboriginal community. The Initiative supports and assists Aboriginal youth in enhancing their economic, social, and personal prospects. Funding for these projects was provided for in the March 2004 federal Budget.Information:Pat Breton Press Secretary Office of the Minister of Finance (613) 996-7861 Mylène Dupéré Press SecretaryOffice of the Minister of Canadian Heritage (819) 997-7788 BACKGROUNDERThe four projects of the Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services (RTSIS) supported by this funding announcement are as follows:The First Nations High School program gives high school students the opportunity to gain work experience and life-skills training. The project encourages young people to learn new skills, stay in school, and forge connections with the business community. ($81,075) The Resident Elder Services project offers Aboriginal youth the opportunity to have contact with Elders on-site at the Gathering Place. Youth are able to participate in traditional ceremonies, learn traditional knowledge, and engage in spiritual reflection and healing. ($76,294)The Senior Aboriginal Lifeguard/Instructor Program provides lifeguard training for Aboriginal young people, enabling them to complete provincial lifeguard certification that will lead to employment opportunities with the City of Regina. Youth have the opportunity to gain employment that is not traditionally filled by Aboriginal persons. ($29,751)The Neighbourhood Recreation Project provides youth with a place to go, outside of school hours, where they can participate in a variety of activities in a safe environment. Activities are offered in a variety of schools in Regina's inner city. ($63,990)RTSIS is an urban organization providing programs and services to First Nations people living in Regina and in the surrounding communities. Their mandate is to achieve one-stop service delivery, ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of programs and services to the Treaty/Status Indian population in the City of Regina.The North Central Family Centre project supported in this announcement is the following:The Life Enhancement Project provides disadvantaged Aboriginal youth in Regina's inner city with regular activities, counselling and advocacy. The project seeks to deter participants from being drawn into criminal activity, rates of which are higher in North Central than anywhere else in the city ($114,696).North Central Family Centre is a relatively new agency and is an offshoot of the Soul's Harbour Drop-In Centre.