Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resources Economy Project

March 1, 2019

First Nations and Métis communities — especially the communities located in proximity to the oilsands region in Alberta — have much invested in oil and gas. They contract with the oil companies to provide services, they enjoy procurement arrangements with them, and they provide young Indigenous workers to energy projects.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has assembled some recent data (as recently as 2017) on Indigenous involvement in the oil and gas sector. CAPP said that almost 12,000 workers in the oil and gas sector in Canada identified as Indigenous. They also found that $55 million in payments was made by various partners to Indigenous governments from conventional oil and natural gas activity. In procurement alone, oilsands companies spent $3.3 billion on procurement deals from Indigenous-owned companies. In terms of clear social impact, oilsands producers put $48.6 million into Indigenous community investments. These funds allow First Nations and Métis communities to set their own priorities and control their own destiny. Finally, CAPP estimates that six per cent of apprentices working in Canada are Indigenous people working in industry-related trades.

For Indigenous communities and businesses, Bill C-69 is not just an interesting academic or policy question, it would impact their immediate livelihoods.