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For Immediate Release


Sept. 4, 2008

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

Human Resources and Social Development Canada




VICTORIA – New funding will triple the number of Aboriginal communities benefiting from business training to help Aboriginal people become self-employed or start their own business, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Michael de Jong announced today.


            The Aboriginal Business & Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) program will receive an additional $500,000 in funding as part of a six-year strategy to improve training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people across the province.


             “This new funding allows Aboriginal BEST to expand their program and provide more Aboriginal people with the business tools needed to launch their careers,” said de Jong.  “It’s a tangible demonstration of our continued commitment to broaden the educational and employment opportunities available to Aboriginal people.”


            Since its inception in 2004, over 500 students have completed Aboriginal BEST training and 64 per cent of previous participants are currently employed or self-employed. The program offers 12 free training sessions, covering a wide range of business issues, including business planning, market research, financial management and operating challenges.  In previous years, six communities per year participated in the program, but this year, Aboriginal BEST is looking to target 18 communities.


             “A key goal of the new funding is to help Aboriginal communities to access training and employment opportunities,” said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. “I am pleased that through our Labour Market Agreement with B.C. we are one step closer to making this happen.”


            In 2007/08, the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation provided $80,000 to support the program. The additional $500,000 funding from the federal government, through the Labour Market Agreement (LMA), will allow Aboriginal BEST to develop and sustain a six-year strategy to expand the program and deliver training opportunities to more Aboriginal people and retain skills and experience within their communities.


            Through the New Relationship with the Aboriginal people and the Transformative Change Accord, the Province is committed to providing increased education and training opportunities for Aboriginal people to help close the socioeconomic gaps.


            Under the LMA, each year for the next six years, the Government of Canada will provide approximately $66 million to the Province. Through a variety of programs, these funds will increase training for employed individuals who are low-skilled and require essential skills, or who require recognized credentials to reach their full potential in the current marketplace. They will also help increase access to training for unemployed individuals who are underrepresented in the labour market and who currently do not qualify for Employment Insurance.


            For more information on the New Relationship and the Aboriginal BEST program, visit:  and


            For more information on the LMA, visit







Maria Wilkie

Communications Director

250 953-3211

Media Relations Office

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

819 994-5559





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