Through our engagement with regional First Nations, we understand that the lack of a driver’s licence is one of the primary barriers to employment for many Indigenous workers. To address this issue, Pretivm—in collaboration with the Tahltan, Gitxsan, and Nisga’a nations—supported a driver training program through the All Nations Driving Academy in 2019. The goal of the program was to help secondary students in Terrace obtain learner’s permits and advance their future employment opportunities. Additionally, driver training was offered to the students’ family members, if desired.
An unexpected discovery during the driver training highlighted another challenge faced by many in the community: while acquiring their learner’s permits, students received their first eye exam revealing that many had poor eyesight, previously undiagnosed. This information has helped the communities understand vision challenges and led to improved conversations with the optometry industry, changes to eye exams, and distribution of appropriate prescriptions.
Having a driver’s licence means more than the ability to drive. In addition to being a pre-requisite for many jobs, it represents safety, the ability to participate in community and culture, and independence.