Remote Training Centre celebrated in Neskantaga First Nation


Neskantaga First Nation finds hope after suicide crisis

New high-tech training centre allows residents to receive job training without leaving home

By Jody Porter, Posted: Aug 20, 2014

  • LaSandra Munroe, 6, cuts the ribbon at the new remote training centre in Neskantaga First Nation.
  • LaSandra Munroe, 6, cuts the ribbon at the new remote training centre in Neskantaga First Nation. (Jody Porter/CBC)

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A new state-of-the-art training centre is helping young people in Neskantaga First Nation consider a brighter future after a suicide epidemic struck the remote community, 480 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

Neskantaga declared a state of emergency in April 2013, after seven people killed themselves in less than a year.

But at the grand opening of the new building on Tuesday, people were feeling optimistic.

"I was excited to take the training and I was more excited and proud of myself that I completed," said Doreen Moonias, who was one of the members of the first 'mining essentials' class last November. 

There is no local high school in Neskantaga and until now people had to travel to an unfamiliar urban centre for any education beyond grade one.

Moonias, a mother of four, says she couldn't leave them behind to pursue training elsewhere.

The Ontario government funded the new training centre with an eye to getting people in the community ready for future mining jobs expected in the nearby Ring of Fire.

The Aecon Group partnered with other big corporations such as ATCO, Bell Canada, Cisco Canada and Galaxy Satellite to design and build the centre. They worked in collaboration with Matawa First Nations' Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services.


Press release

Grand opening of first Remote Training Centre celebrated in Neskantaga

NESKANTAGA, ON, Aug. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - The grand opening of the Neskantaga Training Centre was celebrated today in Neskantaga Territory, Ontario, showcasing the new innovative facility and collaboration technology which delivers training directly to the remote community.

The Neskantaga Training Centre is a multi-purpose facility with construction components designed to be flown into remote communities and assembled on-site. The centre is outfitted with state of the art technology, including Cisco TelePresence, high-definition two-way video communication and collaboration technology, a 70-inch Smart Board, a 70-inch LED HDTV, high-speed satellite broadband connectivity, as well as individual laptops. The centre directly connects to e-learning tools and programs to offer a wide variety of curriculum including access to secondary and post-secondary institutions, safety training courses, trades and technical certifications.  To see the Neskantaga Training Centre in action, visit:

"The partnerships formed to build this facility, along with all of the hard work, have culminated in a facility that will have a positive impact on the people of Neskantaga for many years to come," said Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation during the opening ceremonies.  "This is an integral step in the right direction - providing access to higher learning directly in our community so that our youth have the opportunity to succeed."

Aecon, in collaboration with the Matawa First Nations' Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS), led the Neskantaga Training Centre project team comprised of ATCO Structures & Logistics, Bell Canada, Cisco Canada, Galaxy Satellite, Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario and Confederation College.  Funded by the Province of Ontario, the Neskantaga Training Centre is owned and operated by the Matawa First Nations.

"I'm thrilled the province could play a role in this collaborative project. By improving access to education and training, the Neskantaga Training Centre will open up new doors to a world of possibilities for learners in Neskantaga. Everyone involved in this initiative should be immensely proud," said David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

"The development of this innovative concept was made possible through the collaboration and contributions from best-in-class companies and organizations that have the combined objective to create a sustainable solution for training in remote communities," said Teri McKibbon, Aecon's President and Chief Executive Officer.  "Training and education are keys to success and we are very proud to be a part of bringing such opportunities to Matawa First Nation communities."

"Bell is proud to be part of the team delivering this innovative training initiative to the people of Neskantaga," said Geoff Kereluik, Vice President, Bell Business Markets. "The Neskantaga Training Centre is a great example of how broadband communications technology can enable distance learning programs for Canadians in remote communities."

"Cisco Canada strongly believes in the transformation of education delivery to Canada's most remote communities," said Rick Huijbregts, Vice President, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco Canada.   "Leveraging our collaboration technology, we are delighted to join Aecon and its partners in connecting Neskantaga's youth with the valuable job skills training they need to play an important role in the growth and prosperity of their community."

Aecon and KKETS, a Division of Matawa First Nations, entered into a strategic partnership, starting with a joint commitment to provide local access to community-based education, trades and apprenticeship training for First Nations in northern and remote areas surrounding Ontario's Ring of Fire mining development.

About Matawa First Nation Management
Matawa First Nation Management (MFNM) is a non-profit corporation and Tribal Council that provides advisory services to its nine member First Nations of Eabametoong First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, Nibinamik First Nation, Webequie First Nations, Constance Lake First Nation, Aroland First Nation, Long Lake # 58 First Nation, and Ginoogaming First Nation.

About Aecon Group Inc.
Aecon Group Inc. is a Canadian leader in construction and infrastructure development providing integrated turnkey services to private and public sector clients. Aecon is pleased to be consistently recognized as one of the Best Employers in Canada. Visit for more information.

About Bell 
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business customers with wireless, TV, Internet, home phone and business communications services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. Bell is wholly owned by MontrĂ©al's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For more information, please visit The Bell Let's Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, like Clara's Big Ride for Bell Let's Talk and Bell Let's Talk Day, and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research, and workplace programs. To learn more, please

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. Cisco products and services are supplied in Canada by Cisco Systems Canada Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc. For ongoing news, please go to and

The information in this press release includes certain forward-looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties.  In addition to events beyond Aecon's control, there are factors which could cause actual or future results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or inferred herein including, but not limited to: the timing of the project, unanticipated costs and expenses, general market and industry conditions and operational and reputational risks, including large project risk and contractual factors. Readers are referred to the specific risk factors relating to and affecting Aecon's business and operations as filed by Aecon pursuant to applicable securities laws.  Except as required by applicable securities laws, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Aecon undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Aecon Group Inc.

 For further information:

Nicole Court
Corporate Affairs, Aecon Group Inc.