What is Unemployment in First Nations Communities?
Unemployment in First Nations communities is an alarming rate of joblessness and poverty experienced by Indigenous people living in Canada The majority of First Nations are located in remote, rural areas of Canada and are often far away from other communities and the major cities. There is a lack of access to resources, jobs, and educational opportunities in these areas, creating a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break.
The rate of unemployment in First Nations communities is significantly higher than the national average in Canada, which stands at 5.7%. According to the 2016 Census, the unemployment rate in First Nations communities was 18.1%, more than three times the national average. This higher rate of unemployment is a sign of a larger issue of marginalization and lack of economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples.
The reasons behind the high rate of unemployment in Indigenous communities are complex and multi-faceted. The health, education and employment gaps that Indigenous people face mean that there are fewer opportunities for employment and education, leading to a lack of economic security. Some of the major factors contributing to this include a legacy of colonialism, residential schools, poverty and discrimination in the workplace, lack of adequate education and training, language barriers and racism.
The high rate of unemployment in First Nations communities has serious social and economic consequences, including limited access to health services, housing and food insecurity, and increased levels of crime, suicide, and substance abuse. In order to address this pressing issue, the Canadian government and First Nations communities need to work together to create solutions that will create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of Indigenous people living in Canada.
5 Examples of How to Solve Unemployment in First Nations Communities
1. Invest in Education and Training Opportunities: Education and skills training can create pathways to employment for Indigenous people in Canada. This can include targeted job training and entrepreneurship training to create sustainable economic development. Investing in educational opportunities can also help to close the gaps in education and skills that Indigenous people face.
2. Eliminate Discrimination in the Workplace: Creating a safe and inclusive workplace is essential in order to ensure that Indigenous people can access employment opportunities. This includes eliminating discrimination and racism in the workplace, as well as increasing awareness of Indigenous people’s rights to equal employment and wages.
3. Improve Access to Resources: Many First Nations communities do not have access to basic resources such as transportation, health care, and housing. Investing in infrastructure and services in these communities can help increase employment opportunities and quality of life.
4. Commit to Governmental Action: The Canadian government must take action to address the root causes of unemployment in First Nations communities. This includes investing in economic and social programs, as well as creating a supportive environment for Indigenous people in the workforce.
5. Improve Communication and Collaboration: Collaboration between government, Indigenous communities, and employers is essential in order to create successful economic development initiatives. This partnership will ensure that the needs of Indigenous people are understood and addressed.