Nature Canada Launches Work to Grow Program for Employers in Canada’s Nature Sector to Employ Black, Indigenous and Other Racialized Youth
TORONTO (August 13, 2021) – Nature Canada, in partnership with Parks Canada, announced the launch of Work to Grow, an inaugural employment initiative connecting racialized youth to jobs that promote and protect nature. The program, inspired by the results of the Race and Nature in the City Final Report (Scott and Tenneti, 2021), will facilitate professional experiences for young people between the ages of 15-30, in multiple nature organizations from coast to coast. Work To Grow will support Nature Canada’s ongoing efforts to defend and restore Canada’s wilderness and landscapes.
The program, which runs until March 2022, provides Parks Canada funded wage subsidies toward employment in Canadian organizations actively involved in nature-related activities as part of their mandate and business, so that racialized youth can experience tangible nature and ecology focussed career options in Canada, the world’s wilderness envy. Work to Grow bridges the lived experience of racialized youth in nature to Canada’s vast and renowned environmental sector.
While Canada is referred to as “the strong green north”, opportunities and advancement in our nature spaces are not equitable. Based on the lived, generational experiences of Canadian Black, Indigenous and other racialized youth, there is a pressing and mutually beneficial need for organizations to ensure that racialized youth see roles in the sector as viable for themselves and for their peers, and that the space reflects meaningful employment options for all.
“Work To Grow acknowledges how racial justice is an ethical imperative for the well-being of nature,” said Emily McMillan, Deputy Executive Director at Nature Canada. “We are pleased to partner with our federal partners at Parks Canada to deliver this widespread, national program that engages Black, Indigenous and other racialized youth, and enrolls our stakeholder community in an accessible ecosystem toward sustainable employment and career possibilities in Canada’s nature sector.”
Work To Grow reduces unique, systemic barriers, faced by racialized Canadian youth – as identified by research, and made all the more urgent during the pandemic – and provides inclusive, safe and normalized access in nature. By meeting racialized youth where they are, Work To Grow facilitates widespread, meaningful Canadian conservation appreciation at a crucial time.
The program will deliver skill development opportunities for youth and Nature Canada will arrange guest speakers and profile Black, Indigenous and racialized leaders in nature roles as part of the program’s networking and training component. Youth in the program will also have opportunities to connect with each other to share experiences and build community.
With opportunities for over 275 youth to be gainfully employed up until Spring, 2022, Work To Grow is a 50% wage subsidy to hire racialized youth. Potential partner organizations are to provide mentorship and support to youth, and have the financial resources to pay the remaining wage cost, among other requirements.
“By collaborating with Nature Canada to provide racialized and Indigenous youth with pathways to green jobs, the Government of Canada is taking action to mentor a diverse cohort of future leaders who will soon contribute to the efforts to restore healthy ecosystems, promote conservation, and address the impacts of climate change,” said The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
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About Nature Canada
Nature Canada is Canada’s voice for nature. Representing over 100,000 nature lovers and a network of more than 1,000 nature groups, Nature Canada has helped protect millions of acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat as well as engaging hundreds of thousands of Canadians in nature through its activities. Nature Canada has been raising Canadians’ voices for nature for over 80 years.
About Parks Canada
On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.
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