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First Nations employment study underway in QB

May 21, 2024
By Marcus Bankuti, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door


Kanesatake, Que., is taking part in a major Indigenous-led survey that seeks to empower communities to make choices about employment and education.

The Workforce Profile and Labour Market Information survey, led by the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec (FNHRDCQ), will help paint a picture of the local labour market that could be used to develop and implement employment and vocational programs.

The program is being delivered locally in conjunction with the Kanesatake Employment and Training Service Center (KETSC).

According to Tess Lalonde, who is working on the project for Kanesatake, the goal is to conduct at least 400 interviews in the community over 16 weeks, an average of around five per day.

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“I am really, really tickled,” said Lalonde, who previously worked on the landmark Food, Environment, Health, and Nutrition of First Nations Children and Youth (FEHNCY) survey.

“I’m really happy because it’s by First Nations about First Nations, so it stays First Nations. It’s not some university people trying to get information out of First Nations.”

She said the goal is not only to determine where and how Kanehsata’kehró:non are participating in the labour market, but also to ask whether they are happy or if they are looking for a change. Education and how it relates to work is another important question, she said.

“I find Kanesatake is really rich with all these certificates and diplomas people have because we’re so close to Concordia and McGill,” said Lalonde.

“I’m thinking this is going to be really interesting, what I’m going to find out on the workforce and on the education for people, too.”

She’s already spoken to a variety of people, she said, and she is hoping to speak to Kanehsata’kehró:non of all ages and in all situations, whether an elder who dreams of retirement or a young adult thinking of changing fields or even entering the workforce for the first time.

She’s also speaking to employers to ask about their hiring practices and what they’re looking for.

“It’s about information so they can customize to see what programs are really needed in the communities, because often the government will throw out a program, but it’s not really – where can they go work for that?” said Lalonde.

According to Lalonde, the survey is part of a five-year program, and she will be following up with people she’s interviewed to ask different questions and see how things have progressed for them.

When the Kanesatake surveys are done, there will be a draw for those who participated, Lalonde said, and more prizes will come with a Quebec-wide draw.

Interviewees also receive $25 gift cards, she noted.

“This is to help First Nations people achieve professional success,” said Lalonde.

“It’s going to be really interesting what I’m going to find out along the way.”


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