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Ottawa, Ontario (March 10, 2010) — The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-status Indians, today announced the start of construction to renovate and expand the Uauitshitun School in the community of Natashquan, Quebec. This project was made possible thanks to an investment of $6.4 million under Canada's Economic Action Plan .
“Our Government is working to ensure First Nation students have access to the same educational opportunities as other Canadians,” said Minister Strahl. “It is essential that First Nations have access to healthy, safe schools that meet the demands of their communities.”
The Uauitshitun School currently houses students from preschool to grade five, and was temporarily expanded in both 2000 and 2005 using prefabricated modules for classrooms. This project will replace the modules with permanent facilities, while the existing school will be renovated to meet current standards and better address educational needs. Construction will be ongoing from February 2010 to March 2011 and is managed by the First Nation.
This investment will add new classrooms and improve firefighting equipment and overall facilities. The renovations will benefit existing students and ensure the school is capable of meeting future needs. This project is part of the $200 million for new schools and major renovations included in the $1.4 billion investment for Aboriginal peoples under Canada's Economic Action Plan.
“This work is excellent news for the community but especially for the students,” stated Mr. François Bellefleur, Chief of the Innu community. “Natashquan youth deserve to study in a safe, healthy and modern school. In the long run, modernizing the school, in particular by building new classrooms, will certainly contribute to the success of our youth.”The Government of Canada is taking action to improve the lives of First Nations by investing in educational facilities that will provide lasting, sustainable benefits to First Nation communities.
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