Province Injects $360,000 into All Nations Driving Academy

John Crawford, Hillary Johnson

A recently launched Terrace-based program designed to deliver driver training in rural Indigenous communities in the North Coast and Nechako regions, received a $360,000 boost from the provincial government Thursday.

Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark said the BC government is partnering with the Terrace-based All Nations Driving Academy to deliver the training, which she says will  help people travel to work, visit family, access health care and participate in the economy -- and it'll also provide safer travel options along the Highway 16 corridor.
[PHOTO:  BC Advanced Education Minister announces funding for All Nations Driving Academy, as CEO Lucy Sager and Kitsumkalum chief Don Roberts look on -- photo by All Nations Driving Academy]

"I want to underscore the messaging that's come out about the missing women's indigenous inquiry about the Highway of Tears and the risk that people are faced with every single day to try to get home or to get to appointments or get to school and that we have to do everything we can to reduce those barriers and so its not just training for success but its about training for safety," she said.

Academy CEO Lucy Sager says studies have shown as many as 45% of indigenous people living on reserves do not have their driver's licence, significantly reducing their options for employment.

She says it has many other impacts too.

"When people don't drive they can't leave, when people dont drive they can't access birth control or have access to sexual health they cant access lawyers they can't access the education they cant access the grocery store. They cant actually even access their own family to give them a hug," she said.

"We hear over and over from our participants that obtaining their licence has had a profound impact on their livelihood, helps families stay connected and makes travel safer for everyone."

[PHOTO:  Lucy Sager, Melanie Mark -- in Terrace August 15, 2019 -- courtesy All Nations Driving Academy]

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