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Boosting Participation of Aboriginal People in Canada’s Economy

Canada is one of a few nations to have emerged as a strong economic force after the global financial crunch of 2008. At a time when world economies were struggling with recession, high rates of unemployment and poor wages, Canada was able to create over a million new jobs for its people . However, the picture is far from rosy for all Canadians.

We still sport a seven percent unemployment rate, which was six percent before the crisis of 2008, and roughly 4.2 percent of our job vacancies go unengaged. The shortage of skilled labour being one of the prime causes of this discrepancy. A focus on the employment training of Aboriginal Peoples is one way Canada can overcome this shortage and create a competitive workforce.

Benefits of Employment Training for Aboriginal Peoples

There are many benefits that come out of employment training for Aboriginal People; here are the top five benefits:

Aboriginal economic development

Employment is fundamental to the economic development of any community. For Aboriginal People, who are characterized by a much younger average age, rapid economic growth is critical. This can only come with employment in a stable and functioning market. Employment, when combined with decent earnings and good-quality jobs, will also help reduce poverty of Aboriginal communities.

Improved Aboriginal health and wellness

While we cannot generalize the link between employment and better mental or physical health, it can be assumed beyond reasonable doubt that the net benefits of employment on health will be positive. Lack of work has been known to impact a person’s mental health and self-worth negatively in many international studies. Unemployment in these studies has been associated with stress, anxiety, depression and physiological illness. Physical health, including cardiovascular wellbeing is also affected by a person’s employment status.

Supporting Aboriginal people to increase employment readiness through education and training can be a step toward improving their health and wellness. Diverse employment opportunities in communities create a vibrant and productive focus for the community, bringing in critical resources needed to ensure that basic needs such as quality shelter, transportation, childcare and nutrition are met.

Aboriginal social development

The relationship between employment and social developments are known to be strong and positive. Employment training will allow Aboriginal people to acquire job-related skills, get greater control over resources and thus, attain greater independence. Further, employment has also been linked to social cohesion and the employment of Aboriginals can be a step towards increasing mutually beneficial partnerships with government and industry, and alignment with other communities in general.

Prevention of knowledge and skills depletion

Historically, Aboriginals have been a skilled group that offers great value to the Canadian workforce in geographic areas where economic development is strong. Their spiritual connection to land and nature, added to improvements we’ve seen in Aboriginal educational levels over the past decade make them a prized labour pool. Training will help this group rise to its full potential, which could otherwise disintegrate.

Improved inclusion

Educational, skills and employment training will help Aboriginals foster greater feelings of inclusion. Employments training in small business opportunities or skills like manufacturing, forestry and construction for instance, will open up new realms of inter-community collaborations and allow Canadians to become more familiar with the current up-swell of Aboriginal talent in business and the arts. Employment training is an effective way of bridging the gap between Aboriginal people and other Canadians.

GMG Consulting is a relationship-based company committed to building strength from within by working with Aboriginal communities and organizations, as well as governments and resource-based industries, towards positive outcomes for Aboriginal people. Contact us to find out how we can help increase economic development in Aboriginal communities across Canada.

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