Over the past 30 years, major project agreements (MPAs) between Indigenous communities and natural resources companies have become the cornerstone of successful development projects in Canada. It is increasingly clear that without MPAs, the likelihood of major projects proceeding is significantly reduced and that partnerships between Indigenous communities and industry are now the norm, not the exception. Corporate and Indigenous community leaders emphasize the need of having MPAs to build trust, improve certainty, and establish joint economic development opportunities.
During The Tragically Hip’s final concert in Kingston last month, lead singer Gord Downie took a moment to reflect on the situation facing many Indigenous peoples in Canada. During his powerful callout to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian population at large, Downie spoke of the urgent need for change—and there is clear evidence to support this.
Canada is moving through some significant changes in its relationship with Aboriginal people. And as we approach Aboriginal Awareness Week (May 24 to 27), we wanted to take a moment to place a spotlight on two recent and important decisions.
The very climatic changes that are opening up Northern waters to exploration and shipping are the same changes that are making these activities more difficult.
Blessed with natural resource endowments, the North has lots of potential for economic growth. But this does not mean that natural resource development automatically leads to sustainable Northern community development. How we prepare and plan for growth in the North will largely determine how that growth benefits Northerners for generations to come.
As usual, the Prime Minister's annual Northern tour generates a national conversation about the future of the Canadian North. Issues, from infrastructure and resource development to science and technology and the well-being of Northerners, are brought up and debated.
In the coming years, Canada’s economy is unlikely to have enough workers with the right skills to meet its labour market needs. Our workforce is aging at an accelerating rate, and the fertility levels of the Canadian population are below replacement levels. Canada’s Aboriginal population—including Métis, Inuit, and First Nations—can play an important role in helping meet Canada’s current and future labour market needs.