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May 22, 2020
B.C.’s First Nations communities are doing better than their neighbours in other western provinces in terms of employment rates – but continue to fall behind the non-indigenous population.
That is a problem, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute and social policy scholar John Richards, since a higher employment is vital to boosting the well-being of First Nation communities (an area where Canadian policy makers have routinely neglected or dismissed).
According to Richards’ report, “No Easy Answers: Insights into Community Well-being among First Nations,” data from Indigenous Services Canada’s Community Well-Being Index shows that communities with access to business opportunities – including those “with treaty rights relevant to development of resource projects” – score significantly higher in terms of well-being.
Those communities, however, are in the minority, Richards said. And while there is no easy solution for raising the standard-of-living for First Nations community struggling within the Canadian economy, “recognition of First Nation treaty claims over resource-related employment” must be a part of the equation, he noted.
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