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Aboriginal People in Canada's Labour Market [Caledon Institute of Social Policy]

Caledon Institute
Year of publication: 

"Using data from the 1996 Census and the 1991 Census-based Aboriginal Peoples Survey, this report compares the job situation of Aboriginal people to that of the general population. The Aboriginal identity population (i.e., people who see themselves as Aboriginal) grew by 33 percent between 1991 and 1996, as opposed to just 6 percent for the non-Aboriginal population. Much of this growth is the result of the very "young" age profile of the Aboriginal population. In 1996, 35 percent of the Aboriginal identity population was under 15, compared to 20 percent for the whole population. As a result, over the next decade there will be huge growth in the working age Aboriginal population. Aboriginal unemployment rates compared to the general population remained stable between 1991 and 1996: about 2.4 times higher among Aboriginal people. However, Aboriginal participation rates are 3.3 percentage points higher than would be anticipated given their unemployment rate. Comparative Aboriginal participation rates improved from 1991 to 1996: from 84 percent to 90 percent of those for the general population. There is a distinct difference in labour markets for Aboriginal people in the West and the East. Comparative unemployment rates are 2 times higher than the general population's in the East; in the West, they are 3 times greater. Aboriginal participation rates are 94 percent of those among the general population in the East, but only 87 percent in the West. The study concludes that the future prosperity and well-being of Winnipeg, Regina and other Western cities may well depend upon their capacity to employ their growing Aboriginal workforce. Caledon calls upon governments to increase their investments in employment programs for Aboriginal people as well as putting in place better mechanisms for coordination of efforts among all players - all three levels of government, First Nations" governments, school boards, other Aboriginal organizations and local communities."


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