Indigenous Success Stories

Business and Reconciliation (92)

Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business

September 22, 2020

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business – Release of “Insights into Indigenous Post-Secondary Graduates Experiences in the Canadian Workforce

The objective of this report is to develop a better understanding of how Indigenous post-secondary experiences are associated with entrepreneurship, working for Indigenous employers and overall labour market outcomes. In order to explore these relationships, we retrieved and analyzed data from Indspire’s 2020 National Education Survey (NES) of Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards (BBF) recipients, as well as Statistics Canada’s Census of Population (2016).

Using data from the NES survey, we review the characteristics of BBF recipients who go on to be employed by Indigenous employers, that is, Indigenous businesses, organizations and governments, and those who go on to self-employment. We present key findings relating to their post-secondary and employment experiences, as well as differences between self- employed BBF recipients and those employed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous employers. Additionally, we use survey data to determine the geographic outcomes of BBF recipients — whether they were required to relocate for work, and if they work in an Indigenous community.

“Indigenous youth are the fastest growing demographic in Canada and a key part of Canada’s current and future workforce,” said Tabatha Bull, President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. “This report is a first step in the conversation about how to attract, retain, and support this important demographic in all Canadian workplaces.”


  • BBF recipients who work for Indigenous employers in Ontario report being more satisfied with their current employment than those working with non-Indigenous employers.
  • On average, they more strongly agree that they feel valued at work, are satisfied with their current employment, that they work the desired number of hours, and that their workplace encourages a healthy work-life balance.
  • Approximately 35% of BBF recipients report working for an Indigenous employer.
  • A full three-quarters (75%) of BBF recipients employed by an Indigenous employer find suitable work in an Indigenous community. BBF recipients are more likely to be self-employed than Indigenous workers in the same age cohort.
  • Self-employed BBF recipients are more concentrated in the health care and social assistance, educational services, construction, and real estate rental and leasing sectors than in the broader Indigenous population.