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Extremely disappointing’: Minister slams Ottawa over funding cuts

May 27, 2024

Family Services Minister Margaret Nakashuk asks for restoration of $625M fund

Family Services Minister Margaret Nakashuk says she and other territorial and provincial ministers are calling for a meeting with the federal government to discuss the possibility of restoring a $625-million fund to support job training. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

NationTalk: Nunatsiaq News: Family Services Minister Margaret Nakashuk says federal funding cuts are impacting her department’s ability to expand job training programs in Nunavut.

Nakashuk criticized the federal government May 23, the opening day of legislative assembly’s spring sitting, for not including additional Targeted Labour Market Transfer Agreement funding in this year’s federal budget.

Last year’s federal budget allocated $625 million through the transfer agreement to support job training, on-site work experience, career counselling, and job search assistance in the provinces and territories.

“I planned to rise today to highlight the work Family Services is doing to train Nunavummiut for job readiness using federal government funds from the Targeted Labour Market Transfer Agreement, but I am unable to do that because the Government of Canada cut $625 million [from] the labour market transfers in budget 2024,” Nakashuk said.

“This is extremely disappointing and means a loss of $890,000 [in] training dollars in Nunavut, which forces us to make deep cuts to 18 different training programs and cancel a call for training proposals.”

Nakashuk said the funding would have helped with education and training programs, and to address the high costs of living in the territory.

Without it, she said Ottawa is sending Nunavut “backwards in time.”

“The Government of Canada is hindering the ability of Nunavummiut to contribute fully to the economy, perpetuating unemployment, underemployment, cycles of poverty and limiting our progress toward a more equitable and prosperous society,” she said.

Nakashuk was not the only government minister frustrated with the cut. Her counterparts across Canada issued a statement last month asking for the funding to be restored.

Those ministers, Nakashuk said, have requested a meeting with Randy Boissonnault, the federal minister of employment, workforce development and official languages.

Nunatsiaq News contacted Employment and Social Development Canada on May 24 requesting a response to Nakashuk’s statement.

At the time of publication, Nunatsiaq News has not received that response.

By  Jeff Pelletier – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter