Aboriginal Mentoring and Training Association executive director Laurie Sterritt at the opening of the AMTA office in Williams Lake

Aboriginal Mentoring and Training Association executive director Laurie Sterritt at the opening of the AMTA office in Williams Lake

AMTA’s funding cut by federal government

Skills training in B.C. received a blow after the federal government announced it has cut Skills Partnership Agreement funding to AMTA.

Skills training in B.C. received a blow after the federal government announced last week it has cut Skills Partnership Agreement funding to the Aboriginal Mentoring and Training Association (AMTA).

The cut has forced the program’s closure, AMTA’s founding executive director Laurie Sterritt said.

“This left us with no choice but to close our doors,” she told the Weekend Advisor.

AMTA began its journey in late 2009, and by the time Sterritt has put a plan in place and hired staff it was spring of 2010.

Twenty-one employees, including four in Williams Lake, will lose their jobs because of the closure.

“The number of candidates impacted is in the hundreds who will be cut off immediately,” she said, of programs scheduled to begin in November.

An ongoing intake for the Pathways to Success program in Williams Lake will cut off another dozen candidates.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie said the cancellation is a disaster for First Nations, the region and B.C. overall.

“Several people in our community have gone through the program and got jobs in mining and heavy duty mechanics,” Louie said. “Both Gibraltar and Mount Polley have constantly said they need workers.”

When contacted Tuesday, Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris said he wasn’t aware of the funding cut, but called back Wednesday after speaking with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt’s office.

The program’s funding is being discontinued for two reasons, Harris explained.

“Natural resource development has ground to a pretty slow pace except in forestry and many industry proponents have promised to provide training programs to people living in the region.”

Harris suggested it’s not that a training program is being discontinued with the closing of AMTA, but instead the onus of providing training to local people within regions where companies are developing industries has been transferred to companies.

Sterritt said more than 350 companies are in AMTA’s network, with active participation from companies like Gibraltar Mines, Teck Resources all over the province, New Gold, Acres Construction in the Thompson Okanagan and Summit Camps.

Taseko Mines Ltd. vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison confirmed Gibraltar has worked closely with the program.

“We provided an office space in our Williams Lake office for AMTA, we provided transportation for candidates and have hired numerous students, who we found all to be capable and keen,” Battison said, adding those employment training opportunities probably would not have happened without AMTA.

According to Sterritt there has been a trend pressuring not-for-profit organizations in Canada.

“We have been absolutely committed to moving the dial on the skills gap and we have really engaged with First Nations across the province and with the resource sector communities and making a difference,” Sterritt said, explaining the model they’ve created is in such close alignment with federal and provincial government plans to grow the economy through tapping into that aboriginal potential work force.

“It’s very hard to let it go for sure but we know we’ve followed through with our commitments.”

All layoffs will be completed by Nov. 28, she confirmed.





Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler comes off a night shift on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Our Hometown: The doctor is in the house

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler was born and raised in Williams Lake

The Williams Lake Trail Riders Arena is slated to have a new roof installed this spring after funding from the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Trail Riders Arena, stable stalls, to get new roof at Stampede Grounds

Some of the stalls currently aren’t able to be rented out due to leaks in the roof

A sign is seen this past summer outside Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Yunesit’in First Nation completes second round of vaccinations

A total of 26 people have since recovered from COVID-19 after having tested positive

A 100 Mile RCMP officer stands watch at the intersction of Highway 97 and Horse Lake Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Volunteers, police search Highway 97 for articles related to high-speed chase

Search will stretch from Canco Gas Station in Lac La Hache to 150 Mile House.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read