Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous People and Québec - The Québec government announces multiple commitments to support economic development in Indigenous communities

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QUÉBEC CITY, Nov. 26, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - At the close of the Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous People and Québec, the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, described numerous measures designed to increase the involvement of the First Nations and Inuits in the economic recovery and promote sustainable growth in their communities. The Minister was speaking on behalf of his fellow ministers Lucie Lecours, Jean Boulet, Sonia Lebel, Eric Girard and Andrée Laforest, respectively responsible for the economy, labour, the Conseil du trésor, finance, and municipal affairs and housing, and presented an overview of the actions that will be launched shortly by the various participating government departments in order to achieve the governmental objectives for growth and autonomy in Indigenous communities.

Economy

The measures drawn up by the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation are designed to stimulate entrepreneurship within Indigenous communities and facilitate their economic development alongside the development of Québec as a whole.

  • The Ministère plans to fund the hiring of two resource persons to work at the First Nations of Québec and Labrador Economic Development Commission (FNQLEDC):

  • Indigenous enterprises will be able to benefit from a number of current and future initiatives as part of the digital transformation offensive. This includes Indigenous enterprises in the social economy and the project of the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité to raise awareness, train and support collective enterprises in their digital transformation process.

Finance

The government's main goal in the area of finance is to deal with the increase in the cost of living, mitigate the shortage of workers, support families and communities, and continue work to strengthen the healthcare system. More specifically, this will involve,

  • Increasing the labour force in the construction sector, in particular by promoting the hiring of Indigenous workers.

  • Increasing funding for the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse to allow it to intervene more effectively in outlying regions, especially with Indigenous communities, and to process complaints more quickly.

Labour

The Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale will provide $3.2 million in financial support for the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Québec (FINHRDCQ) to support the integration of First Nations members into the workforce. The Commission will hire 15 liaison officers and two coordinators to match available First Nations workers with businesses facing a labour shortage.

The officers, selected by the Indigenous authorities, will complete existing government actions and support the implementation of the objectives of the Ministerial Strategy for Labour Market Integration of First Nations and Inuit People, which include valuing and developing the Indigenous workforce on the labour market.

Secétariat du Conseil du trésor

The Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor intends to identify ways to adjust the rules governing public contracts to have a positive impact on Indigenous businesses.

The state wants to set an example by giving priority to the purchase of Québec goods, services, and construction work, in a manner consistent with agreements on the liberalization of public contracts.

In addition, the government also intends to introduce legislative amendments to create new opportunities for public bodies and new business opportunities for enterprises. These changes could also improve access to public contracts for Indigenous enterprises.

Quotes:

"The Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous People and Québec marks a turning-point in relations between our nation and the Indigenous nations. The Québec government is now fully disposed to include Indigenous communities in all its major economic projects, which can only create more benefits for all citizens of Québec. My hope is that, together, we can initiate a spectacular recovery that will overshadow the difficulties of the pandemic and strengthen Québec's place on the worldwide economic stage."

Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs

"We believe that the measures announced in the financial update I presented yesterday will answer some of the concerns expressed by Indigenous communities. In light of the discussions over the last two days, I am even more convinced of the leading role that can be played by the First Nations in Québec's economic development."

Éric Girard, Minister of Finance

"Our government will soon set out a new approach to public contracts that will leave more room for local procurement. This series of actions will be designed to make public contracts more accessible for local enterprises, multiplying the economic opportunities for Indigenous businesses. The actions will be announced shortly, and I am looking forward to giving you more details!"

Sonia LeBel, Minister Responsible for Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du trésor

"Québec relies on the contribution of its Indigenous entrepreneurs, on their know-how and on their ideas about ways to develop the economy. Measures must be put in place to respond to their needs and help them develop projects and lead them to a successful conclusion. I salute the concerted actions taken to support the economic development of the Indigenous peoples."

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development

"Today's announcement is intended not only to provide employment services for Indigenous individuals and enterprises, but also to consolidate the partnership the Ministère has developed with Indigenous communities. In addition, the project responds to the calls for action made in the report of the Viens Commission, tabled in September 2019, which recommended that Indigenous clients be given access to Québec government services through points of contact between communities and Québec's public services. Our government is now taking action to implement the recommendation."

Jean Boulet, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity

"These measures show a clear commitment on the part of our government to work constructively and respectfully with the Indigenous peoples to find ways to develop Québec's economy together. I believe that they will generate major benefits for Indigenous communities and for Québec as a whole."

Lucie Lecours, Minister for the Economy

"Communities are the foundation for our vitality, our health and our identity. As Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, I intend to continue to work with the Indigenous communities to ensure that each community is adapted to the realities it faces. Québec must be made greener, healthier, and more prosperous, and we must achieve this by working together. The Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous People and Québec has made a constructive contribution, and our discussions will continue to guide our actions."

Andrée Lforest, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Minister Responsible for the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean Region

SOURCE Cabinet du ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones

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