Published on: 11/30/2012 2:02:32 PM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

Building a healthy Ring of Fire workforce

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

With an eye to preserving and protecting a next-generation workforce in Ontario's Far North, Queen's Park is delivering $375,000 to hire mental health and addictions workers for communities in the Ring of Fire.

It's part of a larger provincial strategy geared to hire 80 workers to help Aboriginal youth in the communities near one of the biggest mineral development camps in Ontario's history.

These new workers will provide counseling, individual and group therapy, crisis invention and traditional health services to Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik and Webequie. The Ring of Fire is 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

The Ring of Fire is a tremendous economic development opportunity that would generate new wealth, social benefits and direct and indirect jobs for area First Nations," said Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci in a Nov. 28 statement. "It’s important that we ensure First Nations in the region have the resources they need to build strong, vibrant and healthy communities. Together, we can ensure Ring of Fire communities benefit fully from natural resource development."

Investments like this one are important to helping ensure our youth have access to high-quality health services," said Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse. "This new support means hiring and training a dedicated mental health and addictions worker who can provide the young people living in our community with counseling, therapy and other critical supports."

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