The Government of Saskatchewan and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) today announced the panelists who will lead the Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Métis people in Saskatchewan.

The task force panelists include Gary Merasty, Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility of Cameco, Rita Bouvier, researcher/writer and community-learning facilitator and Don Hoium, Executive Director, League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents of Saskatchewan.

“Through this partnership with FSIN, the joint task force will consult with First Nations and Métis people and provide advice on practical solutions to eliminate education and employment gaps,” Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Minister Rob Norris said. “I want to thank the task force for agreeing to lead this process in support of First Nations and Métis people gaining the skills and knowledge needed to fully participate in Saskatchewan’s economy.”

“First Nations believe in a consistent, quality education and successful achievement rates for our students who are the future of our communities,” FSIN Vice Chief Simon Bird said. “An educated First Nations workforce will allow full participation in the economic and social benefits enjoyed in Saskatchewan today. The joint task force on Education will give our grassroots communities a voice throughout the process.”

“If First Nation and Métis communities can take some bold steps to support their students and if the provincial and federal governments can make some targeted investments, we can see a drastic improvement in the educational outcomes of this population over the next few years,” Panel Chair Gary Merasty said. “It is also critical for employers and corporate Saskatchewan to make some strategic investments in this area. The positive impact on the Saskatchewan economy in the future would be significant.”

The joint task force will focus on several key goals including:

  • Improved early childhood outcomes and transition to school;
  • Increased high school and post-secondary completion rates;
  • Improved participation in the labour force and employment; and
  • Greater quality of life and enhanced self-sufficiency.

The task force is expected to begin broad public consultations in early spring 2012, with the task force report to be complete early in 2013. Cost of the task force is $2 million.

For more information, contact:

Bonny Braden
Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration
Phone: 306–933-5846