History of Apatisiiwin Skills Development

We are a department that has grown and adapted over time to meet the evolving employment needs of our people.


The transfer of the responsibility from Aboriginal Skills Development Canada to the Cree’s began with the signing of the Agreement Respecting the Aboriginal Human Resources Development Program and Related Services (AHRDS) in 1996.
This agreement was renewed in 2001 for five years. This was a direct result of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement to manage essential services within the Cee territory, though the Community Services Agency under the Cree Regional Authority.

From the Beginning

  • Norman Blacksmith: started working for Human Resources Development Canada's Department of Native Services as an Assistant Employment Officer and later transitioned to Cree Employment Officer. He was recently promoted to Senior Employment Counsellor.
  • Martha Matthew: began her career as Reception Inquiry Clerk under the Canada Employment Center at the Chisasibi office and made her way up to Cree Employment Officer. She was recently promoted to Senior Employment Counsellor.
  • Alice Nuktie: when she first started Alice was hired as an Employment Counsellor under the Canada Employment Center at the Chisasibi office and made her way up to her current position as Program Officer.


Developement of CHRD

Cree Human Resources Development was first established as a department within the Cree Regional Authority (Now Cree Nation Government) in 2002. During this time the AHRDS was extended for a two year term in 2007, and has had yearly extensions since then. The CHRD has two overall objectives within this agreement:

  • to assist CNG in implementing its human resource development programs, services and activities which are aimed at among other things, increasing the participation in the Canadian labour market of the Crees and other residents of Cree communities to a level that is equivalent to the employment rate for the general population of the province of Quebec.
  • to expand employment opportunities for the Crees and other residents of Cree communities.


How we have changed

  • From 2 offices to 11
  • Head office from Montreal to Mistissini
  • Territorial programs introduced
  • Change of directors (Late Norman Gull to Henry Mianscum to Louisa Saganash)
  • Growth of staff (from 4 to 41)
  • Structure based on funding location (Territorial vs Community Based) to 4 divisions (Services, Programs, Finance, Administration)
  • Introduction of local community training centers


On April 1, 2019, following a rebranding initiative Cree Human Resources has changed their name to Apatisiiwin Skill Development (ASD). In order to better service the territory and their clients ASD has changed their structure and service delivery. Their structure has been realigned into four divisions: Service Coordination, Program Coordination, Administration and Finance.

Each of the 10 communities has an Employment Counsellor, while Mistissini and Chisaibi has a Senior Employment Counsellor, Program Officers, as well as administrative and finance divisions staff located in Mistissini. Two new positions have been created to better compile labour market data (Labour Market Information Analyst; Mistissini) and provide support for post-secondary students with their integration into the labour market (Employment Integration Counsellor; Gatineau).