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Reducing barriers for Atlantic Canada’s rapidly growing Indigenous youth population could help ease labour challenges and benefit Indigenous communities

Press Release

July 14, 2022

HALIFAX – Indigenous youth are a growing share of the workforce in Atlantic Canada. However, they face unique challenges that limit their labour market potential. APEC’s latest report examines Indigenous youth labour market trends and education, training, and employment opportunities in Atlantic Canada.

The population of Indigenous youth in Atlantic Canada is growing quickly and can help meet labour shortages in the region. The Indigenous population under 25 nearly doubled from 2006 to 2016 to reach 52,000. In contrast, the population of non-Indigenous youth has been declining for decades.

“Atlantic Indigenous youth living off-reserve have experienced substantial improvements in labour market outcomes from 2007 to 2021,” says Fred Bergman, Senior Policy Analyst. “Despite these improvements, they still have lower employment rates than non-Indigenous youth.”

Indigenous youth face many barriers in the labour market – including lower educational attainment, limited job opportunities on-reserve and a lack of resources such as transportation. Indigenous organizations are providing education, training, and employment opportunities with various partners to improve outcomes and opportunities for Indigenous youth.

“Reducing barriers and closing gaps is essential to promote economic development in Indigenous communities,” says Bergman. “This will also expand the pool of skilled workers in our economy to help address ongoing labour shortages across the region.”

This report provides insight on opportunities for Indigenous youth in key regional growth sectors – fisheries and aquaculture, clean technology and renewable energy, ocean technology, digital technology, and Indigenous tourism. It is the final report in our series focused on how Indigenous businesses and communities can contribute to and benefit from long-term economic growth in the Atlantic region.

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To arrange an interview with lead report author, Fred Bergman, Senior Policy Analyst, please contact:

Erica Parrill
Communications Manager, APEC
[email protected]
Mobile: 902-877-2159

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