Initiative Aims To Help Disabled Metis Find Jobs
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 14:26
The Metis National Council, the federal government and a private group have joined forces to help Metis with disabilities get jobs.
Representatives for all three partner groups signed a memo of understanding on the deal today in Saskatoon.
The federal government will provide $325,000 to help cover costs for a national advisory group.
The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work will help set up that group, and will be represented on it.
The group will look for the best ways to help Metis people with disabilities get jobs.
A national forum for Metis Nation employment counsellors will also be set up.
Its purpose is to train those counsellors so they can help disabled Metis people get into the workforce.
Metis National Council vice-president David Chartrand says the program is badly needed.
"It is truly something that's worrying many of our communities' citizens, and a lot of individuals, given the very high (rates of) chronic illnesses, diabetes and so forth," Chartrand says.
Complications from diabetes can result in amputations and blindness.
Gary Tinker, a Metis man with cerebral palsy who has been a long-time advocate for northerners with disabilities, will be a member of the advisory group.
Tinker says he's been waiting a long time for something like this.
"I'm very happy about the agendas moving forward," he says.
The money from the federal government lasts from now until March 31, 2011.
At that time, the program will be assessed to see how it's working, and whether the money should keep flowing into it.