2019 Indigenous Economic Progress Report

Economic Outcomes Improved Overall for Indigenous Peoples in Canada but Are Not on Track to Meet 2022 Targets of Economic Parity

Closing Socio-economic Gaps would boost Canada’s economy by $27.7B annually

 Goose Bay, NL, June 10, 2019 – The 2019 Indigenous Economic Progress Report released today by the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB) concludes that while the overall economic outcomes for Indigenous peoples are improving in Canada, this is only to varying, and sometimes small degrees. Given the pace of improvements, outcomes are not on track to meet the 2022 targets of economic parity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

“We’ve seen some of the greatest gains being made in the area of college and trades completion by Indigenous students, who now surpass the non-Indigenous population by 2.6 percentage points in 2016,” said Chief Clarence Louie, NIEDB Chairperson. “The deficit gap in median income levels has also significantly narrowed by 9.3 percentage points and the gap in high school completion rates has narrowed by 4.5 percentage points.”

The report finds that not all indicators have shown improvements, however, and not all improvements have occurred equally across the three Indigenous identity groups.

“The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment rates has remained essentially unchanged at 8.4 percentage points in 2016 and, for university completion rates, the gap actually grew to 18.8% with a 1.7 percentage point increase,” said Ms. Dawn Madahbee Leach, NIEDB Vice-Chair. “First Nations populations on reserve also continue to demonstrate persistent and sometimes worsening outcome deficits in terms of employment rates, income, and educational levels.”

The Indigenous Economic Progress Report presents a thorough, in-depth analysis of the economic realities of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Using 13 measures, it assesses three core indicators: employment, income and community well-being. Using 19 additional measures, it also examines five underlying indicators of economic success: education, entrepreneurship and business development, governance, lands and resources, and infrastructure.

Eleven measures are new to the 2019 progress report, such as workforce representation, enhanced income and educational attainment measures, crowding and condition of housing, and community financial certification. The 2019 report also presents the results of gender analysis and introduces two new NIEDB composite indices on Economic Development and Infrastructure.

“The gender analysis reveals some interesting findings,” said Dr. Marie Delorme, NIEDB member. “We found that Indigenous populations demonstrate greater gender parity than non-Indigenous populations. We also determined that Indigenous women would benefit more from support in the areas of employment and income, while Indigenous men would benefit more from support in education.”

The 2019 report is the second progress report issued by the NIEDB since its foundational Aboriginal Economic Benchmarking Report was published in 2012. The benchmarking report set bold targets on which to track the economic progress of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people in Canada. This includes the target to achieve economic outcome parity by 2022.

“While gaps are closing, we found that they are not on track to meet our 2022 goal,” said Chief Terrance Paul, NIEDB member-at-large. “We urge government to respond to our recommendations so we can meet these targets over the next three years.”

Among its recommendations, the NIEDB advises that policies and programming should target First Nations populations on reserve in the areas of infrastructure, employment and education. It also recommends the development of youth-focused educational supports to help Indigenous peoples finish high school and continue on to post-secondary education, as well as skills development programs to help Indigenous employees of high-wage industries increase their earning potential in higher-paying roles.

“Indigenous economic development offers huge potential to improve lives, fuel Canadian economic growth, advance reconciliation, and provide a growing young workforce to Canada’s aging labour population,” said Chief Louie. “Closing this gap would boost Canada’s economy by $27.7 billion annually.”

Inuktitut media release

Infographics:

Past Reports:


The National Indigenous Economic Development Board

Established in 1990, the NIEDB is a Governor-in-Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the federal government on issues related to Indigenous economic development. Composed of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, the Board helps governments respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Indigenous Economic Progress Reports

The NIEDB has produced two previous Indigenous Economic Reports to identify trends in the Indigenous economy in Canada over a 10-year period and to make recommendations. The 2019 report compares data from the 2006 Census and the 2016 Census.  The final report is expected to be released in 2023.

Northern Sustainable Food Systems Recommendations Report

On February 25, 2019, the Board launched its Northern Sustainable Food Systems Recommendations Report.

Northern sustainable food systems are a critical component of economic development in the North. Sustainable food systems support food security, leading to healthier communities, and individuals who are better able to participate in the workforce. With a healthier workforce, the economic climate is more favourable to attract and retain businesses. Improvements in employment, educational opportunities and increased incomes in turn allow for greater food security.  Northern sustainable food systems both drive economic development and benefit from the economic growth associated with new business opportunities.

Based on  internal and external research, along with findings from our Roundtable event held in Whitehorse, Yukon in June 2018 to discuss Northern Sustainable food systems with Northerners, the Board has made a suite of recommendations that address gaps in creating sustainable food systems:

  • First, we recommend a set of four policy tools designed to address traditional foods and the opportunity to contribute more reliably and sustainably to food systems in the North. These policies and programs would support hunters and facilitate the procurement of traditional foods for use in hospitals, schools and government institutions, develop appropriate marketing and management practices, and facilitate food inspections to ensure food safety regulations are met. Importantly, all of these policies would be co-developed with Indigenous governing bodies and recognize Indigenous governmental authority to make regulations respecting the harvesting and use of country/traditional foods.
  • Second, we recommend the development and enhanced involvement in a set of two programs designed to promote climate change and adaptation programs and small-scale Indigenous commercial fisheries. These programs include the support for local processing facilities to offer the greatest benefit within and for communities.   Country and traditional foods offer an irreplaceable contribution to Indigenous food systems far beyond their excellent nutritional value and supporting these endeavours now and for the future has widespread economic and community benefits.
  • Third, we recommend significant enhancements and alterations to federal subsidy programs. We recommend that The Nutrition North program focus on support for local food production and harvesting through transportation subsidies for traditional foods, and for tools and supplies used for local food production and harvesting. Further, we recommend the introduction of a Northern Basic Income Allowance and Northern indexed federal income tax rates. Additionally, we recommend economic development supports to enable locally-owned supply and distribution chains for market foods, consideration of price capping for staples and ongoing monitoring of existing food programs and food insecurity rates.
  • Fourth, we recommend an ongoing infrastructure investment strategy that honours previous fiscal commitments and continues to focus on transportation infrastructure (marine, air and ground) maintenance and enhancements. Deep water port construction, airport improvements, and road enhancements are all required to ensure remote and isolated communities maintain distribution networks and are best positioned to take advantage of economic development opportunities in the future.
  • Fifth, we recommend a simplification and coordination of funding opportunities for Northern individuals, communities and businesses looking to develop local solutions, combined with a sharing network for projects and developers to communicate with case-study champions. A single-window platform to identify funding opportunities and a single-user application will encourage innovation and localization of food systems contributions and reduce the need to navigate multiple departmental and jurisdictional levels. A sharing network will allow for the communication of ideas, successes and challenges across the North to facilitate expansion of successes and minimize barriers.

Ultimately, our recommendations to enhance and support sustainable food systems in the North focus on increased participation and autonomy at the local level in the development and support of local solutions and local food production. All recommendations look to further Indigenous self-determination and self-governance through a distinctions-based approach. In combination with enhanced and simplified funding for local initiatives and sharing networks of Northern solutions, the North will be better positioned to support sustainable food systems and future economic development.


The NIEDB

Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board is a Ministerial appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the federal government on issues related to Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, the Board helps governments to respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Expanding the Circle: First Nations Economic Reconciliation

On February 15, 2017 at Westin in Ottawa, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB), in partnership with the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the Public Policy Forum (PPF), presented Expanding the Circle: What Reconciliation and Inclusive Economic Growth Can Mean for First Nations and Canada?

Economic reconciliation means ensuring that Indigenous Peoples are not excluded from participating in and benefitting from Canada’s prosperity. The economic inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s economy is not only a way of addressing past wrongs, but also an investment that can benefit all Canadians. In fact, closing the significant opportunity gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians will annually boost Canada’s GDP by $27.7 billion.

The Expanding the Circle series of conferences features leaders and experts from across the country. The conferences look at the importance of inclusive economic growth for reconciliation, and highlight solutions to address the significant gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The first of this three-part series focused on increasing economic opportunities for First Nations.

First Nations Conference (2017)

Through a series of panels, discussions and presentations, speakers talked about themes such as reconciliation, procurement strategies, and the importance of celebrating Indigenous achievements.


To learn more . . .

What We Heard: Roundtable on Northern Sustainable Food Systems

On Monday, June 4th, 2018, a wide variety of stakeholders and partners involved in Northern food systems attended a Roundtable event in Whitehorse, Yukon. Participants were from across the Northern territories and Inuit Nunangat and included:

  • Indigenous Elder
  • Representatives from Indigenous Organizations, Governments and Corporations
  • Federal, territorial and regional government representatives
  • Industry representatives
  • Non-profit groups and academics
  • Local food producers and food Co-ops
  • Commercial food distributors and retailers

Participants offered significant feedback, providing helpful insights on the development of NIEDB recommendations to address Northern sustainable food systems. The views expressed in this report are those of the participants at the event and reflect the discussions that occurred.

Read the report:

The NIEDB

Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the federal government on issues related to Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, the Board helps governments to respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Dr. Marie Delorme Joins Order of Canada

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board would like to extend its most heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Marie Delorme for being named to the Order of Canada.

Dr. Delorme is CEO of The Imagination Group of Companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University, and PhD from the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on inter-cultural leadership.

She has been recognized, “for her entrepreneurial leadership and for her commitment to promoting opportunities for women and Indigenous peoples in Canada.”

The Order of Canada is one of Canada’s highest civilian honours. It recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

 


To learn more . . .

 

 

Expanding the Circle: Métis Economic Reconciliation

On November 8, 2018, at the University of Winnipeg, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB), in partnership with the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the Public Policy Forum (PPF), presented Expanding the Circle: What Reconciliation and Inclusive Economic Growth Can Mean for the Métis Nation and Canada?

Economic reconciliation means ensuring that Indigenous Peoples are not excluded from participating and benefitting from Canada’s prosperity. The economic inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s economy is not only a way of addressing past wrongs, but also an investment that can benefit all Canadians. In fact, closing the significant opportunity gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians will annually boost Canada’s GDP by $27.7 billion.

The Expanding the Circle series of conferences features leaders and experts from across the country to look at looking into the importance of inclusive economic growth for reconciliation, and highlight solutions to address the significant gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The second of this three-part series focused on increasing economic opportunities for the Métis Nation.

Métis Conference (2017)

Through a series of panels, discussions and presentations, speakers talked about themes such as Métis rights, entrepreneurship, business development, and youth.


To learn more . . .

The Board Welcomes Back Chief Clarence Louie

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board is pleased to welcome back Chief Clarence Louie, Chief, Osoyoos Indian Band, who has been appointed as Chairperson to the Board.

Chief Clarence Louie believes that socio-economic development is a prerequisite for First Nation self-reliance and will facilitate a return to our working culture – the self-supporting lifestyle of our ancestors.

Chief Clarence Louie was first elected to the Osoyoos Indian Band in 1984. Under his leadership, the Band has developed into a multi-faceted corporation that owns nine businesses and employs hundreds of people. Chief Louie formed the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation to manage these businesses and seek new economic opportunities.

In November 2016, he was awarded the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest civilian honours, “for his innovative contributions to increasing economic opportunities for Indigenous communities”.

For his full biography and more information on the Board, please consult the following page:http://www.naedb-cndea.com/en/the-board/.

Chief Terrance Paul and Chief Clarence Louie Join the Order of Canada

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board would like to extend its most heartfelt congratulations to Chief Terrance Paul and Chief Clarence Louie for being named to the Order of Canada.

Chief Terrance Paul was awarded the Order of Canada in November 2017. He has served as Chief of the Membertou First Nation for the past 33 years, winning 16 band elections. He was recognized for “his unique leadership in upholding Indigenous rights and for building a unique model of sustainable financial independence in the Membertou community”.

Chief Clarence Louie was awarded the Order in November 2016. He has been Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band for over ten terms. He was recognized, “for his innovative contributions to increasing economic opportunities for Indigenous communities”.

The Order of Canada is one of Canada’s highest civilian honours. It recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.


To learn more . . .

Letter to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs on Third-Party Management

Recently, a third-party manager was accused of diverting millions from the Kashechewan First Nation, one of Canada’s most impoverished First Nations. In light of this abuse, the Board wishes to reiterate that the existing Default Management and Prevention Policy hurts the communities it is supposed to help because it increases financial hardship on reserve and does nothing to build financial capacity or financial literacy.

Our Board firmly believes that moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation, rewriting laws and policies, means making sure that we are always working together to make sure that policies are not punitive or regressive, but that they are modern, innovative, progressive, and above all, fair. That is why, in a letter to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Board made the following recommendations:

  • First of all, we recommend that First Nations Institutions run the Default Management process.
  • Second, we recommend placing more emphasis on financial literacy and financial management capacity.
  • Third, we recommend increasing the financial management component of the Comprehensive Community Planning process that is part of INAC’s partnership approach to community development, thus ensuring that communities have the funding they need to build their own capacity.
  • Finally, we would like to draw once again your attention to the fact that there are a variety of innovative approaches to financial management undertaken by our people for our people.

The NIEDB

Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the federal government on issues related to Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, the Board helps governments to respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Recommendations Report on Improving Access to Capital for Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Our most recent report, Recommendations Report on Improving Access to Capital for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, is based on a study that Waterstone Strategies recently produced for our Board.

The Waterstone Strategies report, entitled First Nations and Inuit Access to Capital for Economic Development, Business and Infrastructure: A Quantitative Assessment of the Access and the Gaps, assessed the characteristics of the gap between First Nation and Inuit financing, and mainstream Canadian financing.

The report found that, although First Nations and Inuit are accessing more capital, the gap between Indigenous access and access for other Canadians continues to widen. This gap is in fact detrimental to the Canadian economy as a whole, since a First Nation and Inuit economy operating at the same level as the Canadian economy and financed appropriately would result in a contribution of over $3.6 billion to Canada’s GDP.

Our Board firmly believes that closing the gap in access to capital between Indigenous communities and the rest of Canada is an issue of critical importance. That is why we are making the following recommendations to the Government of Canada:

  • That the Government of Canada continue to expand investments in and support for Aboriginal Financial Institutions.
  • That the Government of Canada make a substantive effort to renew the fiscal relationship and to make fiscal fairness and affordable borrowing a reality for Indigenous peoples and communities. This includes addressing current legal and regulatory barriers to accessing capital, as well as exploring and supporting new and alternative lending options.
  • That Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) continue to work with Indigenous peoples, nations and governments to expand investments in communities and to enhance the investment climate.
  • That INAC enhance the relevance, quality and availability of information to Indigenous households, businesses and communities through a commitment to transparency and openness, as well as supporting Indigenous-led research and data governance.

The NIEDB

Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the federal government on issues related to Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, the Board helps governments to respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in Canada.