Closing the Gap: The NIEDB urges the federal government to invest in Northern infrastructure

Op-Ed by Hilda Broomfield Letemplier, Member of the NIEDB _XC_8983

Increased spending on infrastructure can’t come soon enough for Northern and Indigenous communities, where infrastructure endowment is among the poorest in the country. The lack of adequate infrastructure in the North – including port facilities, runways, roads, bridges, telecommunications, housing, and energy infrastructure – creates what is arguably the most significant barrier to community and economic development in the region.

With this in mind, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB) welcomes the federal government’s stated commitment to increase infrastructure spending in Canada. In many Northern communities in Canada, critical infrastructure doesn’t exist and community infrastructure, like housing, is severely overcrowded and in need of major repairs.

On January 20th, the Board released its report entitled Recommendations on Northern Infrastructure to Support Economic Development. The recommendations urge the Government of Canada to support Northern infrastructure and economic development with a North-specific approach to increased investment, and by funding research and community planning to support Northern community capacity.

The Board firmly believes that investment in Northern infrastructure has the potential to result in significant positive benefits for not just Northern and Indigenous communities, but all Canadians. Our background studies identified that each dollar spent on Northern economic infrastructure has the potential, if invested wisely, to generate $11 of economic benefits for individuals and $11 of fiscal benefits for governments.

The conclusions in our report are echoed by others. In a survey conducted by GE Canada which involved Northern business and community leaders, 70% of those surveyed ranked infrastructure as “the single most important criteria” for attracting investment and facilitating business development in remote communities. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, among others, have also signaled a critical deficit in Canada’s infrastructure.

An economically viable North with healthy communities is good for all of Canada. Indigenous people comprise the majority population in many places in the North, and settled land claims and local economic development corporations already create a strong base for economic development in the North. Our report clearly demonstrates the value of investing in Northern infrastructure as not only individuals and governments would benefit, but regional attractiveness to private investors would also increase. Our report concludes that strategic investment and enhancements in telecommunications, energy, and transportation infrastructure are critical for economic and social development in Indigenous communities.

As demonstrated by our Aboriginal Economic Progress Report, some progress has been made between 2006 and 2011; however Indigenous Peoples in Canada are currently not on track to achieving parity with non-Indigenous Canadians. Improved infrastructure can create conditions that support regional economic development and lower the investment costs of other infrastructure, like housing and health care.

The vision of the NIEDB is for Indigenous Peoples to be economically self-sufficient and full participants in the Canadian economy. For this to happen, we need to create conditions where Indigenous economies can grow and businesses flourish. Infrastructure investment is needed to create these conditions across Canada, especially in Northern and Indigenous communities.

Bold investment in northern infrastructure is needed now in Northern Indigenous communities to close the gap. The NIEDB urges the federal government to invest in the North while ensuring that Indigenous Peoples are engaged as true partners in the planning, decision-making, and business development opportunities along the away.

The NIEDB
Established in 1990, our Board, comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis members, is a national, non-partisan body with a mandate to advise the Government of Canada on Indigenous economic development issues.

NIEDB Recommendations Signal a Critical Moment for Infrastructure Investment in Canada’s North

Ottawa, ON – The National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB) has released their Recommendations on Northern Infrastructure to Support Economic Development. The recommendations address the significant infrastructure deficit in Canada’s North which acts as the predominant barrier to economic and business development in the region and the improvement of the quality of life in northern Indigenous communities.

“Not only is more infrastructure funding needed. The North should have its own specific strategy based on the recommendations we have developed for the Government of Canada,” said Hilda Broomfield Letemplier, of NIEDB’s Northern sub-committee.

The Board has found that because of the unique challenges faced in Northern regions, large, nation-building infrastructure is required alongside increased investment in community level infrastructure to support Northern communities. Enhancements to transportation infrastructure, improved connectivity and improvements to energy infrastructure are crucial for community and economic development in Northern communities.

The NIEDB is adding its voice to an increasing number of groups calling for new approaches and renewed investment in Canada’s infrastructure. Organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, among others have all signaled a critical deficit in Canada’s infrastructure.

Despite the critical state of Northern infrastructure there is the potential to generate significant net economic and fiscal benefits, while developing sustainable economies. World demand for resources has brought global attention to Canada’s North. In 2011, total mineral exploration expenditures in the three territories were approximately $914 million, representing an 85 percent increase from the previous year.

The Board’s work on infrastructure in the North identified that each dollar spent on Northern economic infrastructure has the potential, if invested wisely, to generate $22 in economic and fiscal benefits.

To fully realise the economic potential of the North, bold infrastructure investments must be made. A report by GE Canada discovered that Northern business and community leaders consistently rank improving infrastructure as the “single most important” criteria for attracting investment and facilitating business development in remote communities.

The report builds on the Board’s research on infrastructure and economic development conducted throughout 2014-2015. Those findings were published in the two reports, Addressing the Infrastructure Needs of Northern Aboriginal Communities Report, and the Business Case for a Northern Economic Infrastructure System. In addition, the Board has consulted with Northern leaders at a roundtable on infrastructure and economic development.

To support Northern infrastructure and economic development the Board recommends that the Government of Canada address three broad areas:

  • Coordinate investments in economic development infrastructure
  • Increase infrastructure funding and financing
  • Support Northern community capacity by funding research and comprehensive community planning

Based on the findings contained in the report, the NIEDB has come forward with the following recommendations. Please refer to the report for full recommendations.

Recommendation 1
It is recommended that the Government of Canada fund a system to facilitate coordination in infrastructure development.

Recommendation 2a
It is recommended that the Government of Canada work with the First Nations Fiscal Management Act institutions.

Recommendation 2b
It is recommended that the Government commission a feasibility study on establishing a Northern Indigenous investment entity, examining the potential benefits of a pooled approach to create a pan-Northern development fund.

Recommendation 3
It is recommended that the Government of Canada designate additional funding to establish a new North-specific infrastructure investment fund, in order to invest in infrastructure to support economic development in the North.

Recommendation 4
It is recommended that further work be undertaken by governments and key Northern leaders to examine alternate private investment models that apply to the North.

Recommendation 5
It is recommended that the Government of Canada consider adopting tax structures that take into account the added cost of operating in the North and would act to level the playing field for industry choosing to operate in the North.

Recommendation 6
It is recommended that the Government of Canada fund a publicly accessible, independent Resource Center to coordinate research into, and share information on, best practices in economic development in the North.

Recommendation 7
It is recommended that the Government of Canada provide dedicated funding and support to Aboriginal governments and Northern communities in order to support comprehensive community planning and provide access to tools that allow proactive engagement in natural resource development.

Northern infrastructure is inadequate to meet the needs of Northern Canadians, and it is limiting our ability to realise the great potential of the North. We are at a crossroads and action is needed now. ” – Hilda Broomfield Letemplier, Northern sub-committee.

Recommendations on Northern Infrastructure to Support Economic Development
The Recommendations on Northern Infrastructure to Support Economic Development build on past research into Northern infrastructure, including the Study on Addressing the Infrastructure Needs of Northern Aboriginal Communities that was conducted by the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for the North on behalf of the NIEDB. The Fiscal Realities Economists’ 2015 study The Business Case for a Northern Economic Infrastructure System was also used extensively in the development of the recommendations. The ideas and strategies generated at the Roundtable on Northern Infrastructure and Economic Development hosted by the NIEDB in June 2015 were crucial in the preparation of the recommendations. The Board consulted extensively with Northern experts in the development of this report.

 

The NIEDB

Established in 1990, the NIEDB is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy and program advice to the federal government on Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis community and business leaders from across Canada, the Board plays an important role in helping the federal government develop economic policies and programs that are coordinated, accessible and responsive to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous Canadians.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

David Rodier
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
613-786-9945
david.rodier@hkstrategies.ca

Chief Clarence Louie on a Speaking Tour in Germany and France

In June 2015, the Chair of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, Chief Clarence Louie, was invited on a speaking tour in Germany and France.

The Canadian Embassy in Berlin pursues an active program relating to the Canadian Arctic and Canada’s Indigenous people. This includes promotion of Canadian Indigenous film-makers at major festivals like the Berlin International Film Festival, promotion of Indigenous artists in collaboration with major German institutions as well as educational programs on the Arctic and on Canada’s Indigenous people.

Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, and Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Canada's Ambassador to Germany, at the Annual Reception of the German-Canadian Association in Mainz on June 27th, 2015

Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, and Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Canada’s Ambassador to Germany, at the Annual Reception of the German-Canadian Association in Mainz on June 27th, 2015

Chief Clarence Louie delivering a presentation on "Aboriginal Entrepreneurship - Building Sustainable Businesses and Communities" to the German-Canadian Business Club on June 23rd, 2015 in Munich

Chief Clarence Louie delivering a presentation on “Aboriginal Entrepreneurship – Building Sustainable Businesses and Communities” to the German Canadian Business Club on June 23rd, 2015 in Munich

Chief Louie’s visit to Germany included stops in Munich, Berlin and Mainz, addressing audiences at six separate events – ranging from university students, to young entrepreneurs, to established Canada-Germany business networks – on the theme of “Aboriginal Entrepreneurship – Building Sustainable Businesses and Communities”. His presentations describing Indigenous business success stories combined with his clear commitment to the economic development of Canada’s Indigenous peoples were met with positive reactions at all events. Chief Louie’s visit to Germany was profiled in the media and his profile was featured in two major weekly magazines including one of Germany’s largest news weeklies “FOCUS”.

Chief Louie (right) also took the opportunity of a visit to the winery of the official Mainz City Vintner to exchange views on the wine business and to compare some local Mainz wines with those of his band's prize-winning Nk'Mip Cellars.

Chief Louie (right) also took the opportunity of a visit to the winery of the official Mainz City Vintner to exchange views on the wine business and to compare some local Mainz wines with those of his band’s prize-winning Nk’Mip Cellars.

Chief Louie’s speaking tour included France, where he was a keynote speaker during the “2015 Canada Week” activities organized by the Embassy of Canada to France. His program in France was based on the theme of promoting economic development and Indigenous culture, as well as to respond to the interest of the French to better understand Indigenous social and cultural realities.

Chief Louie meeting with parliamentarians Catherine Coutelle et Sandrine Battistel, Chairs of the Canada-France Inter-parliamentary Relations, at the National Assembly

Chief Louie meeting with parliamentarians Catherine Coutelle et Sandrine Battistel, Chairs of the Canada-France Inter-parliamentary Relations, at the National Assembly

Chief Louie’s visit generated interest of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), French parliamentarians, the Office of Tourism, as well as the interest of the Quai Branly Museum that features indigenous art of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Chief Louie made several presentations during which he stressed the importance of Indigenous communities being economically dynamic, not afraid to go into business, investing to become prosperous, autonomous and proud – all in the interest of the future of their communities.

Chief Louie had the opportunity to speak about the dynamism of Indigenous communities, the successful Indigenous economic development initiatives, and the challenges and opportunities that Indigenous people in Canada are facing.

The Board Welcomes Its Newest Member – Darlene Bernard

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board is pleased to welcome Darlene Bernard, Former Chief of Lennox Island First Nation, who was appointed to the Board in June 2015.

Darlene Bernard believes that building positive, mutually beneficial relationships governed by respectfulness, true consultation and dialogue are key to the wellbeing and development of individuals and communities.

Darlene-Bernard

She served as Chief of the Lennox Island First Nation, a small Mi’kmaq community located just off the north shore of Prince Edward Island, from 2001 until 2013. Before her time in politics Darlene was the Director of Employment and Training Services for the First Nation and developed and implemented important programing to assist adult band members to be better able to engage and experience success in employment and educational activities.

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

The NIEDB Publishes its Annual Report for 2014-2015

Ottawa, Ontario – 3 September 2015 – The National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB) released its 2014-2015 Annual Report today. The Board achieved a number of important milestones this year which have contributed to ensuring that federal policies and programs are well aligned with the goals of fostering the economic growth of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.

As Aboriginal business and community leaders, we view economic development as a necessary pre-requisite for the wellbeing of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities alike.

Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the NIEDB

Key highlights from the Board’s work in 2014-2015 include:

The NIEDB strongly believes that Indigenous  people are making economic and social progress and making important contributions to the Canadian economy. It is essential to maintain this momentum by developing policies and programs that will drive economic development and contribute to closing the gap in economic outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.

The Board’s long-term goal is to ensure that Indigenous people are healthy, well-educated, economically self-sufficient and full participants in the Canadian economy. As the Board gets ready to embark on their next Strategic Plan 2015-2018, their priorities continue to be guided by this overarching goal.

 

The NIEDB

Established in 1990, the NIEDB is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy and program advice to the federal government on Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis community and business leaders from across Canada, the Board plays an important role in helping the federal government develop economic policies and programs that are coordinated, accessible and responsive to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous Canadians.

Economic Development for Indigenous People Still Not on Track

Op-Ed by Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the NIEDB , and Dawn Madahbee, Vice-Chair – Earlier this month, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on Residential Schools generated hundreds of media reports and helped focus attention on the challenges faced by Indigenous communities in Canada.

Op-Ed published by the Ottawa Citizen on June 17, 2015

Residential schools are but one example of the many actions that served to strip our communities of their independence and erode our ability to provide meaningful opportunity to generations of our young people.

While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a key milestone with immense symbolic importance, it will have no lasting effect unless we provide the economic tools that our communities need to fully participate in the Canadian economy.

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board’s (NAEDB) vision is for Aboriginal people to be healthy, well-educated, economically self-sufficient and full participants in the Canadian economy. We believe that all of the gains we want to make collectively for the 1.4 million Aboriginal Canadians must be achieved by moving the needle on income, education and entrepreneurship and to close the vast economic gaps that exist between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

Tumbnail_Op_Ed

Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the NIEDB , and Dawn Madahbee, Vice-Chair, at the launch of the the Progress Report during the First Nations Infrastructure, Land Development & Urban Planning Conference (RezLAND) in Osoyoos, British Columbia.

The opportunities for economic development for Aboriginal people today are greater than ever- due to a host of factors including assertive treaty rights, and growing recognition that local communities have much to offer. Success stories include the shipbuilding contracts in Nova-Scotia; the construction of the first on-reserve correction centre in Canada on Osoyoos Indian Band reserve lands; the second largest mall development in Canada by Tsawwassen First Nations; and Air Inuit, which began in 1978 and now employs close to 500 people.

It is estimated that Aboriginal people in Canada will generate $32 billion a year in combined income across households, businesses and governments by 2016 – more than Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island combined.

However, Aboriginal Canadians represent 4% of the Canadian population and their 32 billion in economic activity represent less than 1.5% of Canada’s projected 2016 Gross Domestic Product. Aboriginal prosperity is therefore essential to Canada’s overall prosperity and Canada’s long-term economic success.

In 2012, the NIEDBset a bold goal to achieve economic and social parity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians by 2022. We pledged to measure the progress every 3 years from the 2012 baseline and to report back to Canadians. This week, the First Report Card was released – the Aboriginal Economic Progress Report.

  • The findings show that Aboriginal people in Canada have made slight gains between 2006 and 2011, but significant gaps remain between the Aboriginal and the non-Aboriginal populations – especially for First Nations living on reserve.
  • Gaps between First Nations living on reserve and non-Aboriginal Canadians actually increased in terms of employment rate, reliance on government transfers, college and trades completion rates, university completion rates, and crowded housing conditions.
  • Inuit unemployment declined to 19.5% in 2011, leading to a two percentage point drop in the gap with the non-Aboriginal population. However, gaps in Inuit post-secondary completion rates increased. Inuit university completion rates remained the lowest at 4.9%, compared to 25.8% for the non-Aboriginal population.
  • The Métis population had the highest high school (71.0%) and university completion (12.2%) rates among Aboriginal heritage groups. The average income gap between Métis and the non-Aboriginal populations was reduced by 6.7%.

In short, Aboriginal people in Canada are currently not on track to achieving parity with non-Aboriginal Canadians. The NIEDB is concerned that much of the economic potential of Aboriginal people remains unrealized. The only way forward is through economic, business, education, employment and community development led by strong governance, political will and sufficient targeted financial investments in these areas.

Based on the findings contained in the report, the NIEDBhas come forward with a set of recommendations including specific strategies for First Nations on reserves, education, employment and skills training, community and business development, youth and data collection in order to strengthen policy making.

The Board firmly believes that economic development is the foundation for real reconciliation and true collaboration between governments, private sector businesses and all Aboriginal people. It is clear that there is still much work to be done before Aboriginal people are in the same position as other Canadians to contribute to and benefit from one of the world’s wealthiest economies.

 

The NIEDB
Established in 1990, the NIEDB is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy and program advice to the federal government on Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis community and business leaders from across Canada, the Board plays an important role in helping the federal government develop economic policies and programs that are coordinated, accessible and responsive to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous Canadians.

Aboriginal Economic Progress Report Shows Little Progress

Osoyoos, British Columbia – June 17, 2015 – The National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB), released its first Progress Report, on the state of Indigenous economic development today at the First Nations Infrastructure, Land Development & Urban Planning Conference (RezLAND) in Osoyoos, British Columbia.

The report builds on the 2012 Aboriginal Economic Benchmarking Report, which was the first national effort to set ten-year targets for the purposes of tracking the economic progress of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada.

“The 2012 Aboriginal Economic Benchmarking Report set the bold target of closing the gap in economic outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by 2022, however three years after the initial report, the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians remain large,” said Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the NIEDB .

According to the report, while some progress has been made between 2006 and 2011, Indigenous people in Canada are currently not on track to achieving parity with non-Indigenous Canadians. In particular, the outcomes for First Nations on reserve have shown the least improvement. For First Nations on reserve, the employment rate declined from 39.0% to 35.4% and the unemployment rate increased from 24.9% to 25.2%.

Much of the progress outlined in the Progress Report reflects improved outcomes for the Inuit and Métis populations. For instance, Inuit unemployment declined from 20.3% in 2006 to 19.5% in 2011 – representing a two percentage point drop in the gap with the non-Indigenous population. Showing additional progress, the average income gap between Métis and the non-Indigenous population was reduced by 6.7%. In addition, in 2011, the employment rates for Métis were higher than the non-Indigenous population, at 61.8% compared to 61.2%.

In an effort to better reflect the changing economic landscape, a specific focus on Indigenous youth and regional outcomes has been included in the Progress Report. This focus helps to reflect the differences in the age structures and the differences in indicators by province and territory for both the Indigenous and the non-Indigenous population. This is important given the fact that the Indigenous population is both younger and growing more rapidly than the non-Indigenous population. The overall Indigenous population grew at an average rate of 3.6% per year from 2006 to 2011, four times faster than the non-Indigenous population. Differences in the age structure between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population can explain differences in some of the aggregate outcomes between the two groups.

“The Board is concerned that much of the economic potential of Aboriginal people remains unrealized,” said Dawn Madahbee, Vice-Chair of the NIEDB . “The only way forward is through economic, business, education, employment and community development led by strong governance, political will and sufficient targeted financial investments in these areas.”

Based on the findings contained in the report, the NIEDB has come forward with the following eight recommendations. Please refer to the report for full recommendations.

  • First Nations on Reserve: It is strongly recommended that the development of discrete strategies for closing the gaps for First Nations on reserve be a government-wide priority. The Federal economic agenda needs to concentrate on First Nation treaty rights, obligations and working relationships.
  • Education: It is strongly recommended that continued and sustained efforts be made in ensuring Indigenous people have access to and receive high quality education in every corner of the country. To address this issue, it is recommended that an Indigenous-led Task Force on Indigenous Education be established;
  • Employment and Skills Training: It is recommended that investments in Indigenous skills development and training by all levels of government and industry be designed and tailored to meet the unique needs of Indigenous people, that aligns with concrete employment opportunities;
  • Employment and Skills Training (2): It is recommended that federal and provincial Indigenous labour market programming be regularly reviewed and revitalized, in consultation and in collaboration with Indigenous people, ensuring that programming is sustainable over the longer term.
  • Community Development: It is recommended that water and waste management systems be a priority for all Indigenous communities in Canada as a primary means to improve overall human health;
  • Business Development: It is recommended that the suite of Indigenous business programming and Aboriginal Financial Institutions be supported with the necessary level of capital and expertise (human and administrative) required to build a vibrant network of Indigenous businesses throughout Canada.

It is further recommended that financial supports be provided allowing Aboriginal Financial Institutions, who are generally located near major economic projects, to assist Indigenous communities with seed money and necessary capital required to participate meaningfully and invest in these opportunities.

  • Youth: It is recommended that a national Aboriginal youth strategy, focused on improving education, business and employment outcomes, be developed with the full engagement of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth.
  • Data Collection: It is recommended that data collection be continuously improved and expanded, in consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal communities and institutions, using this report as a guide, so that economic and social progress can be tracked and improved.

“The Board firmly believes that economic development is the foundation for real reconciliation and true collaboration between governments, private sector businesses and all Aboriginal people,” said Chief Louie. “It is clear that there is still much work to be done before Aboriginal people are in the same position as other Canadians to contribute to and benefit from one of the world’s wealthiest economies. It is essential that we continue to enact policies and programs that will drive economic development and contribute to closing the gap.”

The NIEDB will continue to track the progress of Indigenous Canadians across all of the measures listed in the Aboriginal Economic Benchmarking Report and will report back to Canadians on a regular basis. The Board is committed to preparing a second Aboriginal Economic Progress Report in 2018 to track and assess advancements made in closing the gaps.

The Progress Report
The Aboriginal Economic Progress Report builds on the NIEDB’s 2012 Aboriginal Economic Benchmarking Report. It compares data from the 2006 Census and the 2011 National Household Survey to track changes in outcomes between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. The Progress Report is mainly used to compare key socio-outcomes, including employment, income, and education indicators, between Indigenous heritage groups (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) and the non-Indigenous population. It is not intended to explain why differences in outcomes exist. An advisory committee composed of seven economists and academics assisted the Board in the completion of this report.

The NIEDB
Established in 1990, the NIEDB is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy and program advice to the federal government on Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis community and business leaders from across Canada, the Board plays an important role in helping the federal government develop economic policies and programs that are coordinated, accessible and responsive to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous Canadians.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

David Rodier
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
613-786-9945
david.rodier@hkstrategies.ca

Slow Adoption of ATRs could waste $50 billion in economic opportunity for Canadian communities

NATIONAL MEDIA RELEASE

Slow Adoption of ATRs could waste $50 billion in economic opportunity for Canadian communities
National Indigenous Economic Development Board shows that we need to get serious about our Addition to Reserve Policies

Ottawa, ON – March 9, 2015 – The National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NAEDB) today released its latest report Improving the Economic Success of Urban Additions to Reserves – Achieving Benefits for First Nations and Local Governments. This Report examines the growing trend of Additions to Reserves within the urban context — and concludes that despite the economic and fiscal benefits ATR’s generate for both First Nation and municipal populations — they are being adopted too slowly, wasting a potential $50 billion of economic opportunity for Canadian communities.

“Urban reserves create jobs and revenues that benefit First Nations as well as nearby municipalities, but there is a lack of awareness about these opportunities,” said Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the Board. “Our report found that ATR’s can take up to 8 times longer than a municipal boundary extension leaving enormous potential benefits off the table.”

“There will be more ATRs in the future – due to claims being settled and population growth.  First Nations across Canada see ATRs as a critical step to improving their economies.” said Board member Chief Terrance Paul of Membertou First Nation. “There are currently 117 ATRs under active review by AANDC, representing billions of dollars of economic opportunity, so we need to get this right.”

NAEDB Studies of Urban Additions to Reserves

An Addition to Reserve is a parcel of land that is added to the existing land base of a First Nation or is used to create a new reserve. Land can be added, through the Additions to Reserve process, in rural or urban settings.

In November 2014, the NIEDBreleased Stage I of its study on ATR’s.  Identifying Success Factors in Urban First Nations showed the enormous economic and fiscal benefits that can flow to both the municipality and to reserve if a number of best practices are implemented.  The six communities included in the study  have collectively created over 7,000 jobs and over $77 million in annual economic activity benefiting both First Nations and neighbouring municipalities.

The ATR Stage II report released today Achieving Benefits for First Nations and Local Governments builds on these findings. It examines 8 urban ATR communities and found that these ATRs generated approximately $285,000 in spending benefit annually per acre of land converted to reserve (and designated for business purposes) and approximately 36 jobs per acre of land converted to reserve.

The Stage II Report also found that it takes on average 4.2 years to finalize an ATR. The opportunity costs of this delay are borne by First Nations and municipal governments as well as their members and residents.  By comparison, a municipal boundary extension takes about 6 months to 1 year to complete.

Based on a review of eight completed urban ATRs, the Study estimated opportunity costs from ATR-related delay on a per acre basis:

  • About 123 to 280 forgone person years of employment.
  • About $977,000 to $2.2 million in forgone spending related economic benefit.
  • About $39,000 to $88,000 in forgone property tax revenue.
  • About $100,000 to $227,000 in forgone employment related fiscal benefit.

Potential Opportunity Costs to Canada

There are currently 117 ATR applications for over 22,000 acres of urban land under active review by AANDC. If it is assumed that the economic and fiscal potential of these active applications is consistent with the cases examined in the NIEDB’s research, the total opportunity costs associated with ATR-related delay for these proposed urban reserves include:

  • About 2.7 to 6.2 million person years of employment;
  • About $21.7 to $49.2 billion in spending related economic benefit;
  • About $859 million to $2 billion in property tax revenue for First Nation governments;
  • Significant other own source revenues forgone by First Nation governments, like other tax revenues, leasing revenue and net revenue from First Nation operated businesses; and
  • About $2.2 to $5 billion in employment related fiscal benefit for municipal governments.

Improving timelines will improve economic benefits of ATRs

In its report, the Board recommends a variety of actions be taken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ATR process.

First, it recommends that action be taken to complete ATRs more quickly –benefits can be realized sooner by First Nations, regional economies and local governments if ATRs are completed sooner. “Municipal government concerns can be a source of delay in the ATR process. This has resulted in lost economic benefits on both sides. The time is right to work together as good neighbours to achieve benefits for everyone.” said Chief Clarence Louie.

In addition, municipalities and First Nations need to have better mechanisms for achieving service agreements. Planning and processes related to fiscal revenues should be streamlined to reduce barriers for First Nations achieving this type of revenue.

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board

Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board was created by Order-in-Council to provide strategic policy and program advice to the federal government on Aboriginal economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis community and business leaders from across Canada, the Board plays an important role in helping the federal government develop policies and programs that respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Aboriginal Canadians.

Stage I and Stage II of the Addition to Reserve studies were developed for the NIEDBby Fiscal Realities Economists.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

David Rodier
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
613-786-9945
david.rodier@hkstrategies.ca

NIEDB Announces the Release of its Report Entitled Enhancing Aboriginal Financial Readiness for Major Resource Development Opportunities

Gatineau, QC – 20 January 2015 – The National Indigenous Economic Development Board is pleased to announce the publication of its most recent report entitled Enhancing Aboriginal Financial Readiness for Major Resource Development Opportunities. This report contains advice and six recommendations on how the financial readiness of Indigenous communities to participate in major resource opportunities […]

New Report Proves Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Addition to Reserves on First Nation Communities and Canadian Economy

NATIONAL MEDIA RELEASE

New Report Proves Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Addition to Reserves on First Nation Communities and Canadian Economy
National Indigenous Economic Development Board study identifies six successful communities who have generated $77 million in new economic activity

Ottawa, ON – October 15, 2014 – The National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NAEDB) today released its latest report – Identifying Success Factors in Urban First Nations. With thousands of land claims currently underway across Canada, the conversion of land to reserve is generating increased interest by Canadians who worry about the social and economic implications to their communities.

The NAEDB conducted a study of six First Nations and neighbouring communities in order to quantify the economic and fiscal impacts of established urban reserves for both the reserve and the surrounding region. The report shows that six communities have collectively created over 7,000 jobs and over $77 million in annual economic activity benefiting both First Nations and neighbouring municipalities.

“Aboriginal economic development should be an ongoing priority,” said Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the Board. “In the past, some municipalities have expressed concerns that when a piece of land near them is converted to reserve land it would have a negative impact on them. This Board’s study proves that they are wrong. These reserves are flowing jobs and money to the surrounding region and economic development is benefitting not only the First Nations but the communities nearby as well.”

Combined success of the six communities include:

  • Existing and planned investment estimated to exceed $1.5 billion
  • Existing and planned investment has and will generate approximately 2,700 ongoing jobs held by reserve residents and approximately 4,400 ongoing jobs held by off reserve residents
  • Approximately $77 million annually in support of off reserve economic activity
  • Over $30 million annually in First Nation government revenues generated by the investment on the six urban reserves
  • Approximately $5 million annually in property taxes collected by non-First Nation local governments attributable to the investment on these six urban reserves

In addition to quantifying the economic success of urban reserves, the report also identifies the five key factors that contribute to their success. These include: infrastructure and services, governance, land management regime, own source revenues and community support.  These factors were determined by interviewing key community members in each of the six cases.

The Report
This report is the first in a two part series on this topic being undertaken by the Board. The second report is expected to be released the coming months and will examine how the economic benefits from new parcels of lands that are being converted to reserve lands, through the Additions to Reserve process, can be maximized.

An Addition to Reserve is a parcel of land that is added to the existing land base of a First Nation or is used to create a new reserve. Land can be added, through the Additions to Reserve process, in rural or urban settings.

The case of six urban First Nations was considered as well as the neighbouring municipalities. The study communities included:

  • Shuswap Band and the District of Invermere — BC
  • Westbank First Nation and the District of West Kelowna — BC
  • Whitecap Dakota First Nation and City of Saskatoon –SK
  • Opaskwayak Cree Nation and The Town of the Pas — MB
  • Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam and the City of Sept-Isles — QC
  • Madawaska Maliseet First Nation and the City of Edmunston — NB

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board
Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board was created by Order-in-Council to provide strategic policy and program advice to the federal government on Aboriginal economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit and Métis community and business leaders from across Canada, the Board plays an important role in helping the federal government develop policies and programs that respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Aboriginal Canadians.

The study on Identifying Success Factor in Urban Reserves was developed for the Board by Fiscal Realities Economists. The report can be found online at: http://www.naedb-cndea.com/publications

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

David Rodier
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
613-786-9945

david.rodier@hkstrategies.ca