Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Canada

image of Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Canada

Canada’s Constitution Act (1982) recognises three Indigenous groups: Indians (now referred to as First Nations), Inuit, and Métis. Indigenous peoples make a vital contribution to the culture, heritage and economic development of Canada. Despite improvements in Indigenous well-being in recent decades, significant gaps remain with the non-Indigenous population. This study focuses on four priority issues to maximise the potential of Indigenous economies in Canada. First, improving the quality of the statistical framework and the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in the governance of data. Second, measures to improve the fairness and transparency for how Indigenous peoples can secure land tenure and the use of tools and such as land use planning to use it to promote community economic development. Third, promoting entrepreneurship so Indigenous peoples can use assets and resources in ways that align with their objectives for development. Fourth, implementing an approach to governance that adapts policies to places, and empowers Indigenous institutions and communities.



Assessment and recommendations

The purpose of this study is to provide recommendations to the Canadian Government about how to improve economic development outcomes for Indigenous peoples at a local and regional level. There is no simple way to summarise the colonial history and contemporary economic circumstances of Indigenous peoples in Canada. ‘Indigenous people’ is a heterogeneous term that refers to the original nations and peoples of what is now called Canada. In Canada today, the Constitution Act (1982) recognizes three groups: Indians (now referred to as First Nations), Inuit and Métis. This report mainly engages with economic development issues for First Nations and Inuit. Further work is needed to address the particular circumstances of the Métis. In past decades, the Canadian Government has made significant progress in recognising the right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination. Treaty rights were affirmed in the Constitution Act (1982) and the Canadian Government has committed to a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. This study, and its recommendations, are within the framework of this overarching commitment.


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