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Growing the Canadian Economy: New National Indigenous Economic Strategy is an economic stimulus for Canada

Press Release

OTTAWA, ON, June 6, 2022  – A coalition of more than 25 National Indigenous Organizations has unveiled a new National Indigenous Economic Strategy (NIES), the first such strategy to be built and designed exclusively by Indigenous leaders, institutions, and organizations from across Canada. The strategy has four strategic pathways, People, Lands, Infrastructure and Finance, with 107 Calls to Economic Prosperity to guide Canadian society toward a more equitable and prosperous future.

The Strategy reveals that policy changes and investments to correct a history of excluding Indigenous peoples from economic opportunity will benefit all Canadians, not just Indigenous peoples. Research has found that if the gap in opportunities for Indigenous communities was closed, it would result in a boost of more than $30 billion to Canada’s GDP.  Further, if Indigenous peoples had equitable access to economic opportunities, 135,000 more First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals would be employed, bringing in $6.9 billion per year in employment income. At the same time, reducing poverty among Indigenous peoples would save federal and provincial/territorial governments more than $8 billion a year.

Canada has become wealthy from the natural resources of Indigenous lands while many Indigenous people continue to live in poverty. The four strategic pathways are designed to shift the status quo from managing poverty to growing prosperity. A recent study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that Indigenous children in Canada are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than non-Indigenous children. The time for this strategy is now – to accelerate our collective efforts to eradicate  poverty and achieve a more inclusive Canadian economy” says NIES spokesperson Dawn Madahbee Leach.

This is an opportunity for governments and the business sector to truly advance reconciliation, in a tangible way,” says Madahbee Leach. “Reconciliation will be achievable when we embrace and foster a new era of Indigenous economic inclusion and wealth creation. This strategy shows a way to that goal, that not only benefits Indigenous peoples, but all Canadians”.

As noted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, industry and business play an extremely significant role in how the economic, social, and cultural aspects of reconciliation are addressed, including the extent to which opportunities and benefits are truly shared with Indigenous Peoples.

With the help of this strategy, and in the spirit of reconciliation, Indigenous People can attain socio-economic parity – and ultimately, prosperity.  This will also be good for Canada.

For more information including a copy of the strategy, visit http://niestrategy.ca/

Backgrounder: National Indigenous Economic Strategy

A blueprint for inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian economy.

This Indigenous-led Strategy provides a roadmap for the economic aspects of reconciliation, and a path to greater prosperity for all Canadians. The Strategy is designed to drive positive change, address long-standing inequities, and achieve inclusive growth for and with Indigenous communities. It presents opportunities for Canada to be the global leader in upholding Indigenous rights. Implementation of the Strategy requires the purposeful engagement of governments, corporate Canada, institutions, and all Canadians.

Statistics show that Indigenous people in Canada earn less than most other Canadians, and own less than most other Canadians, despite legal recognition that Indigenous peoples have title to traditional territories. Canada has grown rich from Indigenous lands. It’s time to share that wealth more equitably with first peoples. Reconciliation will not be possible without Indigenous economic self-sufficiency. This strategy shows a way to that goal.

When the Indigenous economy grows so does the Canadian economy. Indigenous peoples represent the fastest growing demographic in the country and a major employer of non-Indigenous peoples. If Indigenous peoples had equitable access to economic opportunities, 135,000 more First Nations, Inuit and Metis individuals would be employed, bringing in 6.9 billion per year in employment income

The Strategy is built on four Strategic Pathways supported by 107 Calls to Economic Prosperity

1. PEOPLE VISION: The capacity of Indigenous Peoples is strengthened. Indigenous people are empowered to choose how they define, generate and redistribute wealth.

  • Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Access to information, tools, capital, and support systems to build and grow successful businesses.

  • Leadership and Governance: A new generation of Indigenous leaders on private sector, non-profit and other boards. Protection of Indigenous intellectual property and traditional knowledge.

  • Labour Force/Labour Markets: A highly skilled, competitive, and world class Indigenous labour force for Canadian and global markets. Access to culturally appropriate education at all levels.
  • Social Capital: Strengthened linkages between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Growth of social capital of Indigenous Peoples. Eradication of systemic racism. Indigenous Peoples are active participants in the economy.

  • Workplace: Inclusive workplace strategies for Canadian employers that harness the human potential of all employees.

2. LANDS VISION: Indigenous jurisdiction. Recognition and validation of court decisions, international law, and United Nations’ declarations. Resolution of all land claims.

  • Land Sovereignty: Systemic barriers to land sovereignty are removed. Indigenous communities have the capacity, tools, and information to affirm and reclaim jurisdiction of their territories and traditional knowledge.

  • Land Management: Indigenous communities have the tools, resources, knowledge, and rights to develop their land for sustainable economic development.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Indigenous Peoples are full participants in international climate change forums. The inherent role of Indigenous Peoples as stewards of the land, water, air, and natural resources is enshrined in law.

3. INFRASTRUCTURE VISION: Leading edge physical and institutional infrastructure and services are in place to ensure a prosperous Indigenous economy today and for future generations.

  • Physical Infrastructure: Indigenous communities have the infrastructure necessary for health and prosperity, the capacity to participate in infrastructure development, and the ability to easily travel outside their communities, establish food sovereignty, access to technological connectivity, and ensure sustainable housing.

  • Institutional Infrastructure: Indigenous institutions are established to support Indigenous prosperity, position Indigenous people to guide the development of policies and processes for public organizations, and eliminate systemic racism from institutional policies, processes, and practices. All Canadians are educated on the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, through an Indigenous lens.
  • Financial Resources for Infrastructure: Indigenous communities own and effectively manage infrastructure, trust funds, and settlements, and have the capacity to generate own-sourced revenues. Financial institutions view Indigenous communities, institutions, and businesses as viable investments.
4. FINANCE VISION: Indigenous Peoples and communities have the financial capital to achieve economic and social prosperity on their own terms.
  • Revenue Sources: Indigenous Peoples have an equal voice in managing and benefiting from natural capital. Systemic and legislative barriers to accessing capital are removed. Indigenous Peoples receive money owed from legal settlements and are partners on all government approved projects.

  • Stimulus Funds: Robust mechanisms are established to ensure economic prosperity. Incentives are in place to encourage investment in Indigenous economies. Aboriginal Financial Institutions have the capacity to fund all qualifying Indigenous businesses.
  • Procurement: The social license of industry to operate in the resource sector is linked to Indigenous participation and economic inclusion in corporate procurement. All levels of government and industry have mandatory Indigenous procurement targets. Indigenous Peoples control the definition of “Indigenous business”. Corporations adopt Environmental, Social, Governance, and Indigenous (ESGI) principles.

  • Trade: Indigenous free trade zones are recognized. The Government of Canada includes Indigenous peoples in all trade agreements. Existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights and honoured.

For further information: For interviews, contact: Dawn Madahbee Leach, NIES Spokesperson, Email: [email protected], Cell: 705-348-2727

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