A coalition of more than 25 National Indigenous Organizations has unveiled a new National Indigenous Economic Strategy (NIES), the first to be built and designed exclusively by Indigenous leaders, institutions and organizations from across Canada.
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.
“This is an opportunity for governments and the business sector to truly advance reconciliation, in a tangible way," said NIES spokesperson Dawn 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.