Economic Reconciliation: Growing Canada’s Economy

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board is pleased to announce the release of the report, Economic Reconciliation: Growing Canada’s Economy.

In 2022, the NIEDB updated the estimates in the report, “Reconciliation: Growing Canada’s Economy by $27.7 Billion” using Statistics Canada data for 2016, the most recently available data at the time. In 2024, the NIEDB updated the estimate again, this time using 2021 Census data from Statistics Canada.

Canada is experiencing a historic labour shortage which hinders economic growth. Demographic shifts mean more workers are retiring and fewer are entering the workforce. To maintain living standards, productivity and workforce participation must increase. Indigenous peoples, a younger and faster-growing population, can significantly boost workforce productivity. Projections indicate their increasing share of the population, making their productivity crucial for sustained growth.

Focusing on Indigenous workers, especially youth, is vital for addressing productivity challenges. Statistics Canada shows Indigenous workers with post-secondary training often have higher average incomes than non-Indigenous peers, proving that education and training can close productivity gaps. However, significant economic disparities persist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, highlighted by numerous studies.

Closing these gaps and expanding education and training for Indigenous workers could greatly enhance their economic contribution and positively transform the Canadian economy overall. A 2022 study by the Conference Board of Canada found that the current labour shortage costed the Canadian economy $25 billion in 2020. In this report, the NIEDB estimates that closing economic gaps between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous workforces could raise Canadian GDP by $26.7 billion. This paper describes the methodology for this estimate.

Read the full report here