For Immediate Release

February 16th, 2023  – The Provincial Government is providing $910,649 to fund the expansion of the Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades to Corner Brook and St. John’s, and to maintain the existing office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. This new footprint enables the office to serve more status and non-status Indigenous Peoples interested in seeking employment opportunities in the skilled trades.

New and emerging construction opportunities across the province influenced the decision to expand. Mining exploration and development on the west coast and central regions, hydrogen generating proposals for Bay St. George, and the pursuit of landing liquefied natural gas from the Grand Banks in Placentia Bay are creating more opportunities for Indigenous People to secure work in the skilled trades.

The three offices will ensure that programs, policies, procedures and reporting mechanisms support both status and non-status Indigenous Peoples. The offices will also ensure that non-status Indigenous People will be able to self-identify and will not be required to show documentation proving their Indigeneity.

The Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades, funded by the Provincial Government and operated by Trades NL, opened its Happy Valley-Goose Bay location in March 2020 to promote, recruit, support and advance the economic development of Indigenous Peoples in the skilled trades. The Office has a mandate to pursue a target of reaching 15 percent Indigenous representation in building and construction trades in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For a list of operational activities for the Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades, please see the backgrounder below.

“By opening new offices in Corner Brook and St. John’s, we are offering enhanced support to Indigenous peoples looking to enter the skilled trades and building on the great work of Trades NL in this area. Indigenous tradespeople are playing a big role in creating a bright future for Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Honourable Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Expanding the Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades is essential to ensure status and non-status Indigenous peoples receive the support they need to enter the skilled trades. Opportunity is knocking for skilled Indigenous tradespeople across Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills

“The Happy Valley-Goose Bay office operated by TradesNL has achieved success in supporting Indigenous peoples who have sought employment opportunities in the skilled trades sector. Expanding the Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades to Corner Brook and St. John’s will greatly assist in recruiting and supporting individuals wishing to take advantage of new construction opportunities taking place in the Province.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation

“We are thrilled to be increasing our ability to serve Indigenous Peoples across our province. Trades NL remains committed to ensuring Indigenous People with an interest in the skilled trades receive our encouragement and support to ply their talents in the rewarding work tradespeople perform every day.”
Darin King
Executive Director, Trades NL


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Media Contact:
Shanelle Clowe
Manager, Communications & Strategic Partnerships

About Trades NL
Trades NL is an umbrella labour organization which promotes and coordinates the interests of 16 building and construction trades unions, representing more than 60 trades and 15,000 skilled trades workers in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. For 70 years, our craft continues to construct, fabricate and maintain some of the world’s most complex facilities.

About Trades NL: Indigenous Skilled Trades Office
Trades NL: Indigenous Skilled Trades Office, located in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, is dedicated to recruiting, promoting, supporting and advancing the economic growth of Indigenous People of Newfoundland and Labrador within the skilled trades – with an emphasis on Red Seal occupations. This office seeks to create new employment opportunities for Indigenous apprentices and journeypersons, increase apprenticeship completion rates, and foster greater commitment and participation of employers and unions to create employment opportunities, overcome barriers and enhance supports in the workplace.


Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades: Activities and Operations

The Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades activities can be categorized into two categories: partnership and outreach, and employment and training support.

All offices assist clients in obtaining and maintaining meaningful employment by removing barriers to ensure successful progression from apprenticeship to Red Seal certification.


Partnership and Outreach

  • Promotion of skilled trades among Indigenous populations;
  • Development of partnerships with Indigenous groups, unions, employer associations, employers and project owners;
  • Promotion of the benefits of hiring Indigenous Peoples;
  • Maintaining a database of infrastructure and construction projects with forecasts of skills requirements;
  • Working with project owners to establish targets for Indigenous employment and tracking progress; and
  • Maintaining an advisory committee on project activity, engagement and development.

Employment and Training Support

  • Providing Indigenous workers with linkages to affiliated unions and employment opportunities;
  • Development of employment plans for trainees and case managing them through to employment;
  • Supporting workplace diversity and inclusion;
  • Provision of workplace supports to improve retention;
  • Exam preparation support for trainees; and
  • Arranging wage subsidy funding for placements.

To learn more about Trades NL’s Indigenous Skilled Trades Office click here.

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