Federal budget renews Urban Aboriginal Strategy
This year’s federal budget had some good news for 13 urban aboriginal communities across Canada.
Until 2014 the Government of Canada has made the commitment to renew the Urban Aboriginal Strategy, which aims to promote self-reliance and increase life choices for aboriginal peoples in key centres across Canada.
One of those centres is Prince Albert.
Since it was initiated in 1997 the program has focused on providing investments to programs that improve life skills, improve job training skills and entrepreneurship, and support aboriginal women, children and families.
Noreen McBride with Prince Albert's Urban Aboriginal Strategy believes the government made a good decision when they chose to renew the initiative and carry it on in our communities.
She said the program has played a vital role for many initiatives in the city by helping to provide them with that much needed funding.
“It’s really exciting because you are able to help other projects within the community that might not have enough funds to operate,” McBride said. “They are not a sole funder, usually it is a partnership funding so they are usually helping a project that has some funding in place, but needs that little bit of support to enhance what they are doing.”
One particular program she said it has helped to keep alive is the Just Workers program, which is a restitution initiative for youth that are in conflict with the law.
“So kids aged 12 to 17 if they have committed a crime within the community and they lack the skills and abilities to go out and earn and pay back restitution to their victim, we are able to support those kids with little jobs in the community,” McBride said.
“We pay them and 75 per cent is paid to their victim of crime and then they can retain 25 per cent, it’s what we call an incentive towards non-criminal behaviour, meaning you can go out and teach the kids that you can go out and get a job and earn the money properly. You don’t need to steal or lie or cheat to have those funds.”
Other programs the strategy has helped in Prince Albert are the Stop Now and Plan SNAP® Under 12 Outreach project, the local elder care project, and the Metis women HIV/aids health promotion project. As well as their healthy eating active living project heal initiative to name a few.
In total the government has invested $27-million over the next two years for the strategy that will be distributed amongst the 13 urban centres it operates in.