Skills training, education keys to finding work for First Nations people

Eight of 10 unemployed Indigenous Albertans living off reserve said there was a shortage of jobs: StatsCan

Mario ToneguzziSkills training and more education were identified by First Nations people living off reserve as the key to finding work, according to the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey released on Monday by Statistics Canada.

The survey found 27 per cent of respondents said those two factors would help them most to find a job.

“The off-reserve First Nations population continues to grow significantly, and is projected to represent an increasing percentage of the total population. As it is also a young population, there is potential for young First Nations workers to enter the labour force,” said the federal agency.

“The 2016 census found that there were 251,465 First Nations people living off reserve aged 25 to 54 years (core working age). In addition, there were 112,270 First Nations youth aged 15 to 24 and close to 100,000 First Nations adults aged 55 and older living off reserve. Employment rates varied with age, with 64 per cent of core working age adults, 40 per cent of youth and 34 per cent of older adults being employed. A higher share of men (54 per cent) than women (50 per cent) were employed.”

The report also found:

  • 82 per cent of employed First Nations people living off reserve aged 15 years and older had a permanent job. Of the 18 per cent that did not work a permanent job, eight per cent worked a temporary, term or contract job, five per cent worked a seasonal job, four per cent worked a casual job, and one per cent worked a job that was in some other way non-permanent.
  • 11 per cent of employed First Nations people living off reserve were self-employed. 31 per cent of self-employed First Nations adults reported choosing self-employment for reasons of freedom or independence.
  • Among the self-employed, 30 per cent had employees and 36 per cent had an incorporated business. The share of self-employed First Nations people with an incorporated business was higher among men than women (45 per cent versus 24 per cent). Regionally, the share ranged from 53 per cent of those in Alberta to 24 per cent of those in British Columbia.
  • 59 per cent of the off-reserve First Nations population participated in other labour activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping, gathering wild plants, and making clothing, footwear, carvings, jewelry or other artwork. Six per cent did these activities for money or to supplement their income.
  • 34 per cent of First Nations people living off reserve aged 15 and older reported that they had hunted, fished or trapped in the past year; 30 per cent had gathered wild plants; 26 per cent had made carvings, drawings, jewellery or other kinds of artwork; and nine per cent had made clothing or footwear.
  • When asked about various barriers to finding employment, almost 63 per cent of unemployed First Nations people living off reserve reported that a shortage of jobs had caused them difficulty in finding work. Higher percentages in Alberta (80 per cent) and in Yukon (77 per cent) reported this difficulty than in Quebec (48 per cent) and Ontario (49 per cent).

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