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Additional support arriving to help La Loche, Sask. heal after tragic shootings

WATCH ABOVE: Programs announced to help community of La Loche following deadly January school shooting. Joel Senick reports.

Premier Brad Wall announced more support for the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche following the tragic shootings on Jan. 22 that left four people dead and seven injured.

FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting

“The community is pleased with the province’s response to our tragedy and we are grateful for the work that has been done to date with respect to the priority areas of education, health, housing and infrastructure,” said La Loche Mayor Kevin Janvier.

“This is just the beginning. There is still much work ahead for these subcommittees and I wish to encourage all participants to continue on this.”

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On Tuesday, the provincial government outlined new initiatives from multiple ministries that aim to improve such aspects as housing, education and health in the village.

“Working with local leaders, local institutions and the federal government, we are investing in a range of programming that will foster hope and opportunity and enable more residents to lead independent, self-sufficient lives,” Wall said.

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“Together, we are building a stronger La Loche. And that’s good for Saskatchewan.”

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New initiatives coming to La Loche:

Housing:

The federal and provincial governments are jointly contributing $1.4 million in the form of a forgivable loan towards six two‐bedroom units, four three‐bedroom units and four one‐bedroom units in the community’s new subdivision.

The funding balance of around $630,000 will be provided by private lenders and community contributions.

Education:

  • The Ministry of the Economy is investing $465,000 in two new training programs to help adult students enter the labour market or pursue post‐secondary educational opportunities.

Dumont Technical Institute will offer a new Adult Basic Education (ABE) 12 program in La Loche for 20 adults to earn their Grade 12 credential.

Northlands College will also offer a new Tri-Trades program at Dene High School for 15 adult learners. Students will work towards attaining their Grade 12 credential in addition to receiving skills training in heavy equipment, truck and transport and automotive mechanics trades.

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Both programs are scheduled to start in September.

  • The ministries of Advanced Education and Education are partnering with the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) to offering a new program to train local university students to teach local students.

The Dene Teacher Education Program (DTEP) began in July for 30 students who will graduate with a bachelor of education degree from the University of Regina.

The overall cost of the program over four years is $480,000. The province is providing half the funding, with the Northern Lights School Division (NLSD) and Clearwater River Dene Nation covering the rest.

  • Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education is working with the community and the NLSD to develop the 2016-17 school plan, which will aim to improve outcomes for students.

Security assessments have been completed for both Ducharme Elementary and Dene High School and their security and phone systems have received a $140,000 upgrade.

READ MORE: New safety policy in place at La Loche, Sask. high school

Health:

  • There are two mental health counsellors and two addictions workers providing counselling services in La Loche. The Ministry of Health hired an additional community mental health nurse in July to provide counselling and 24/7 on-call services.
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Additionally, the local health region has hired a suicide prevention worker/community wellness worker who will also provide services through the Friendship Centre. This employee is scheduled to start work on Wednesday.

To date, North Saskatchewan Victims Services Inc. has supported over 250 victims, witnesses and other traumatized community residents and staff.

READ MORE: La Loche shooting suspect should be sentenced as an adult, crown says

A teenager charged in the shootings, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 29 via video link.