MDB Insight Blog

The Economic Impact of First Nations in Canada

The Economic Impact of First Nations in Canada

First Nations communities have always made an economic impact, but recent work through Truth and Reconciliation initiatives is finally recognizing that impact. 

A report from Brandon University offers details about the specific economic impact of First Nations in Manitoba. First Nations in Canada are strong contributors to provincial economies, and we now have details about just how significant this contribution is for Manitoba.

Brandon University’s press release about the report highlights that:

“Indigenous spending in Manitoba totaled $9.3 billion in the year 2016, the equivalent of contributing 3.9% to the provincial GDP — greater than oil and gas (including mining), food and accommodations, or manufacturing… ‘That impressive number begins to show the scale of ongoing Indigenous impact here in Manitoba,’ said Bill Ashton, director of Brandon University’s Rural Development Institute (RDI), which partnered with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization Inc. (SCO) and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) to produce the report.”

 “‘The data is clear, Indigenous economic impact has enormous growth potential,” Ashton said. “Indigenous populations are some of the fastest-growing in Manitoba, and Indigenous economic impact will grow alongside it. Also, there is a lot of opportunity to increase economic development right now, both on-reserve and off-reserve, but also by expanding the opportunities provided by urban reserves.’”

Manitoba’s First Nations have created over 35,000 jobs in the province, paid $1.3 billion in salaries and wages, and contributed $231 million in taxes to the federal and provincial governments.

First Nations in Canada: Strategic Development Across the Country

MDB Insight has had the opportunity to work with a number of First Nations communities across the country, in direct consultation with these communities, or as part of a wider regional initiatives involving several communities.

First Nations in Canada: Strategic Development Across the CountryThe purpose of MDB Insight’s engagements with First Nations has always been to centre the experiences and amplify the voices of First Nations in respectful and meaningful ways. Whether listening to Elders in Temagami or implementing a unique community driven engagement process for each of the individual communities within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, our team members invest time and attention to ensure all perspectives are included.

Temagami First Nation requested the services of MDB Insight to create a forward thinking Community Economic Development Strategic Plan that is reflective of the interests of the community and developed by the community.

With the completion of that Plan, Temagami First Nation was able to successfully direct its time and money towards business opportunities that lead to results.

Paul Blais was the project lead who worked closely with Band members, Reserve staff and Chief and Council to develop a strategy that has brought the community’s economic objectives to life. Paul and his team spent more than 20 days on Bear Island interviewing members, facilitating focus groups, mentoring staff, coordinating community dinners and delivering presentations with the intention of ensuring the final recommendations were consistent with the community’s cultural, environmental and social goals.

Every community we’ve worked with is strongly motivated to strategically drive economic growth and promote strong community connections. Canada’s First Nations are strong supporters of our economy as consumers, and also as producers. First Nations-owned businesses make valuable contributions to our local, provincial, and national economies. They create jobs in their communities, invest in the development of their communities, and make a significant contribution to local and national tax bases.

Learn More About Truth and Reconciliation and First Nations’ Contributions

Indigenous Contributions to the Manitoba Economy

Truth and Reconciliation Findings

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