The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has selected Carrier Sekani Family Services to deliver the First Nations Driver Education Program along the Highway 16 corridor in northern B.C.
The driver education program will get underway later this fall, in large and small communities along the Highway 16 corridor. This program will provide hands-on training to First Nations community members, to boost the number of Class 4 and Class 5 drivers in First Nations communities along the corridor. It will include training for Learner and Novice drivers as well.
“Increasing the number of licensed Class 4 and Class 5 First Nations drivers can increase the opportunity for First Nations community members to operate a community vehicle as well as provide access to skills training and employment opportunities in northern B.C.,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “This is an excellent opportunity for young people to train and get their Class 4 or Class 5 licence, which can lead to getting good paying jobs in the transportation sector.”
The B.C. government is investing $300,000 over three years for the driver education program, with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure providing $150,000 and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation providing $150,000.
“Having a valid driver’s licence is something many of us living in urban areas take for granted. In some communities, such as First Nations communities, there are real barriers to accessing driver’s education programs, and that’s why we are funding this program,” said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad. “This program will help those who can’t afford driver training and who could have other barriers. A valid driver’s licence can be useful when applying for a job and can lead to rewarding career in the trucking sector or working in other transportation jobs.”
“Working with communities through the Highway of Tears Initiative made us aware that there were impediments to obtaining drivers licences,” said Mary Teegee, executive director, child and family services, Carrier Sekani Family Services. “I am pleased that we are able to continue to provide the drivers training program to assist individuals in being awarded their licences. This program is a good example of government being responsive to the needs of the north.”
The First Nations Driver Education Program is a part of the $5-million Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan to improve safety along the corridor, in particular to provide better and safer transportation options for women and teenage girls.
To find out more about the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, please go to: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-reports-and-reference/reports-studies/planning-strategic-economic/highway16-action-plan