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Manitoba introducing culturally appropriate training for Aboriginal workers

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The province of Manitoba has launched the Manitoba Aboriginal Health and Safety Initiative (MAHSI), an initiative designed to provide culturally appropriate workplace health and safety training for Aboriginal workers.

"As a province, we are proud to... recognize the value of MAHSI as a way to provide customized training to Aboriginal workers that reflects Aboriginal practices, history and traditions," said Minister of Labour and Immigration, Erna Braun.

The success of the province depends on Aboriginal workers to help meet labour market needs, said Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, Eric Robinson.

"As a government, we recognize that workplace injuries and illnesses carry a significant impact for Manitoba’s Aboriginal and northern communities, and we are committed to ensuring our Aboriginal workers have the information they need to help keep them safe and healthy at work through initiatives such as MAHSI."

MAHSI represents a partnership between the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development, the University of Winnipeg and the Northern Manitoba Sector Council and was developed through the WCB's Research and Workplace Innovation Program.

This initiative was undertaken to address a lack of culturally appropriate health and safety training for a growing Aboriginal population and workforce that is at an increased risk of injuries. A key component of MAHSI includes its Online Learning Centre dedicated to Aboriginal workplace health and safety and offers resources to support employers in providing a safe work environment for Aboriginal workers.

MAHSI will also help increase Aboriginal workers' awareness of their rights as employees, which includes their right to know about workplace hazards, their right to participate in health safety committees in the workplace, and their right to refuse work that is unsafe.

“With the launch of MAHSI, Manitoba is emerging as a leader in Canada in recognizing and addressing, from a cultural perspective, the health and safety training needs of Manitoba’s Aboriginal workers,” said Richard Nordrum, MAHSI project manager.

MAHSI's Online Learning Centre includes a safety essentials e-course and six resource areas, which focus on safety concepts incorporated with traditional Aboriginal teachings, as well as courses focused on knowledge and cultural awareness for employers, workers and anyone interested in making workplaces safer for Aboriginal workers.

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