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Overview: Canada's Aboriginal labour market

Introduction

The scope and scale of unemployment among Indigenous people in Canada is staggering, and matched only by the skilled labour shortage within Canadian businesses. Although Stats Canada recently reported that Aboriginal people with post secondary training have labour market participation rates approaching the Canadian average, the unemployment rate among Indigenous Canadians is still 19.1 per cent.

Unlocking Canada’s Economic Potential

Canada is currently enjoying a period of unprecedented wealth and prosperity. A strong international economy is hungry for what Canada has in abundance. While our economy may be the fastest growing in the G8, there are troubling signs ahead that threaten to put the brakes on this rapid growth. In very fast growing economies, a primary constraint on growth and productivity is often the availability of a trained workforce. Over the past few years we have seen such constraints appearing with increasing frequency in diverse sectors of the economy. By 2020, there is estimated to be a shortfall of one million workers in the country, mostly in highly skilled and knowledge-oriented occupations. The current labour shortfall has skewed the operations of businesses, impeded their level of productivity, and distorted labour markets. It is anticipated that by 2020, the impact, if left unchecked, will be debilitating. Canada is experiencing an Indigenous baby boom.  Indigenous eople are the nation’s youngest and fastest growing human resource. This young upwardly mobile labour force wants and needs workplace opportunities for training, skills development and employment.

The Indigenous Human Resource Solution

Indigneous people are Canada's most underleveraged human resource asset.  To increase Indigenous participation in the economy more business leaders in Canada need to develop a better appreciation of the business case for Indigneous workplace inclusion, which includes recruiting and retaining an Indigenous workforce. They must encourage and adopt new policies and strategies. Business investment is needed for the short and long-term development of the Indigenous workforce and business sector. Indigneous organizations and communities also need to consider new ways to work with employers to prepare their people for the future workforce.

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