The Business Case for Indigenous/ Non-Indigenous Partnerships
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has affirmed the Government of Canada’s support for reconciliation with Indigenous communities. The Prime Minister specifically identified the priorities listed in the December 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools as being key to this process. One of these priorities placed a clear mandate on corporate Canada to provide more opportunities to Indigenous peoples.
By engaging with Indigenous communities, Canadian businesses can realize a host of important immediate and long-term benefits: opportunities to expand into new markets, access to Canada’s fastest growing demographic and labour pool, enhanced corporate reputations in the eyes of Indigenous peoples and Canadians of all walks of life, and more respectful and accommodating workplace cultures—qualities that are more important than ever in the corporate world.
There are other benefits to partnerships, besides. Consider the following:
- The current gross domestic product of the Indigenous market in Canada is $32 billion—more than the combined GDPs of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
- If corporate Canada were to employ Indigenous workers at the same rate it employs people from the population as a whole (i.e., 39 percent), Canadian businesses would give career opportunities to more than 210,000 Indigenous workers.
- If Indigenous people in Canada were to achieve the same education and employment level as non-Indigenous people, Canada’s GDP would increase by $401 billion by 2026.
- The purchasing power of Indigenous people is expected to increase by a factor of four as education and employment outcomes trend upwards.
- More than 250 Indigenous community development corporations—powerhouses of Indigenous economic growth—stand ready to offer scale, advantage and sophistication for complex partnerships.
- CEOs are increasingly understanding diversity as a competitive advantage and a key to improving employee retention.
- Recent consumer surveys show buying decisions are made at least in part on a company’s corporate social responsibility track record.