Across many OECD countries, Indigenous People represent an important and growing demographic group with a unique set of cultures and customs. In a local development context, many Indigenous People are within remote areas and face unique challenges in finding quality employment and economic development opportunities. They often experience lower outcomes than the non-Indigenous population on a number of key economic and social indicators.

Well-designed employment and skills policies are fundamental to link Indigenous People to high quality jobs, while also contributing to broader economic development objectives and inclusive growth. The OECD LEED Programme has built a large body of evidence on “what works” for disadvantaged groups, including Indigenous populations over the past 35 years. This work has demonstrated the importance of providing more autonomy to the local level to enable policy innovation. With regard to Indigenous People, this is critical in supporting the principle of self-determination.

In consideration of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, this report is set within the context of furthering the restoration of Indigenous rights at the national, regional and local level. To do so, this report analyses employment, education, job creation and local development outcomes of Indigenous People within Canada. After determining the barriers preventing Indigenous People from reaching better outcomes, the report proposes potential ways forward for Indigenous labour market and skills programming.

With this report, the OECD hopes to place Indigenous voices at the forefront of the discussion and looks to Indigenous communities as the leaders of local, regional and national change.

I would like to warmly thank Employment and Social Development Canada for their active participation and support of the study, and for their ongoing partnership with the OECD. I would also like to sincerely thank the Indigenous organisations that actively participated in this study and provided critical feedback on the report.


Lamia Kamal-Chaoui

Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities