True North Treasure Initiative Video

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Transcript: True North Treasure Initiative, a Strategic Partnerships Initiative of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Ricky Fontaine

The Labrador Trough is a huge stretch of land in the form of a crescent, starting near the town of Fermont and running toward Kuujjuak through the town of Schefferville. Iron ore deposits are everywhere. Ricky Fontaine, Innu of Uashat Mak Mani Utenam and Director General of the community. The True North Treasure Initiative is a program for trying to find common ground between the private sector, the public sector and the communities. This means trying to find a way to build community capacity so that benefits can be drawn from the opportunities afforded by the natural resources sector.

Coco Calderhead

My name is Coco Calderhead. I am in charge of community affairs for Tata Steel Minerals Canada. Even before coming here, the mining company signs Impact and Benefit Agreements. These agreements aim to maximize returns and spin-off for Aboriginal communities.

Chief Réal McKenzie

When something this big hits you, you're not ready for anything, to train your people, set up businesses, do all the things that need to be done to deal with these contracts. Mega-contracts! We're talking about $150 million, $200 million in contracts here. Chief Réal McKenzie of the community of Matimekosh-Lac-John. For those who don't know Matimekosh-Lac-John, it's Schefferville. Tata Steel, it's... Development, oil, transportation … it's big.

Coco Calderhead

The True North Treasure Initiative allows us to elaborate and discuss immediate needs, and there is an understanding of both sides and a dialogue that is very positive and constructive.

Guillaume Vincent

When a mining company sets up shop near a community, it can mean a thousand jobs, jobs for people who need to eat, clothe themselves, get around, so for a community it's a very important lever. My name is Guillaume Vincent, and I am Director General of the CDEM, the Corporation de développement économique montagnaise. What we have done with the True North Treasure Initiative in recent years has been mainly infrastructure projects, projects like, for example, the hotel here in Uashat, the convenience store in Matimekosh-Lac-John, a train simulator at the CEGEP here.

Pierre Bastien

Aboriginal economic development is largely a matter of opportunity. So here we had an opportunity, then the Initiative said: let's invest in this opportunity to improve the lot of the communities. My name is Pierre Bastien, Director General of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Economic Development Commission. We know that a mining company is like a village once established. It will need cleaners, restaurateurs, transportation… all sorts of things. It becomes like a small village, and then we need people, as far as possible local, to do these jobs. We have therefore developed a consultation process in the communities to find out what kinds of businesses exist, and we have inventoried them. The inventory runs to 1,100 enterprises listed in the communities.

Coco Calderhead

We are holding on to this information, this inventory, and in our supply chain we will ensure that the information on these companies is made available to people who want to bid on contracts.

Ralph Cleary

We met with the director of human resources of Tata Steel, and obviously his first question was: "Listen, we are ready to hire First Nations people, but we need to know what kind of labour is available, what kind of training and work experience they have." My name is Ralph Cleary. I am an Innu from Mashteuiatsh. I am Director General of the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec. The True North Treasure Initiative's contribution is keenly felt by our organization. This Initiative has allowed us to develop labour profiles and new partnerships. Labour profiles are inventories of the resources within communities in terms of jobs and training.

Coco Calderhead

And the True North Treasure Initiative is a key partner for us, a major partner for developing programs and trainings and for better preparing people for the work they have to do.

Chief Réal McKenzie

It's the future we are talking about. When we see young people training like that to find jobs, it augurs well for their future.

Ricky Fontaine

And this is what the Initiative strives to do. It means finding synergies among all the initiatives that may be running on the North Shore and the Labrador Trough and making sure that as many people as possible benefit.

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