Launch of 2019 Indigenous Economic Reconciliation Report Recommendations on Reconciliation and Inclusive Economic Growth for Indigenous Peoples and Canada. The report was a result of a three-part series, in 2017 and 2018, on economic reconciliation and inclusive growth in Canada called “Expanding the Circle: What Reconciliation and Inclusive Economic Growth Can Mean for Indigenous Peoples and Canada?”
The report concludes that the Government of Canada must take immediate, significant, and clear steps towards closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is not a partisan issue; it is a matter of The Honour of the Crown, based on the existing Aboriginal rights upheld and recognized in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Yet, reconciliation is not solely the government’s responsibility; all Canadians must be involved.
While there were common themes across the three events, some of what the Board heard at each event was unique from the perspective of First Nations, Métis and Inuit, which speaks to the importance of providing for distinctions-based approaches to economic reconciliation.
The report is divided into two main sections. The first part focuses on four key recommendations based on common themes and issues raised during the three forums:
- Procurement: establish a comprehensive and easy to access directory of Indigenous businesses (similar to Australia’s Supply Nation), and provide meaningful funding to Indigenous businesses to increase awareness and readiness for procurement opportunities.
- Access to capital: adequately fund Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs), provide AFIs loan loss protections, and devolve economic development programming to AFIs.
- Capacity development: put in place incentives, including funding, internships and scholarships to increase Indigenous participation in business training and certification; and encourage post-secondary education institutions to increase access to these programs for Indigenous learners.
- Wealth sharing: implement strategies and innovative options to increase equity positions and involvement of Indigenous peoples in resource development, and to support growth of traditional economies and participation in environmental stewardship.