How Canadian policies can enable Indigenous economic development – Policy Options

by ahnationtalk on June 11, 2020361 Views

When you visit diverse Indigenous communities across Canada, whether they be Inuit, First Nation or Métis, northern or southern, rural or urban, you hear a common refrain: a desire for economic self-sufficiency and real self-determination. But in too many places, the conditions are simply not in place to realize these goals. What can be done to accelerate this vision?

This is the subject of a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) — an international forum for comparative public policy and standard setting. The report, Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Canada, examines how public policy and public investments (federal and provincial/territorial) can be better leveraged to support Indigenous economic development. The work has a geographic lens. Around 5 percent of people in Canada self-identify as Indigenous, and of those, around 60 percent live in predominantly rural areas (around twice as many as the non-Indigenous population). Thus, a large part of Indigenous economic development occurs in a specific rural context, with the barriers of remoteness, greater distance to markets and higher costs for goods and services. What does Indigenous economic development look like in this context? And how can it be enabled on communities’ own terms?

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