SASKATOON, SK – Today, the Saskatoon Aboriginal Employment Partnership (SAEP) released a report entitled ‘City of Bridges: First Nations and Métis Economic Development in the Saskatoon Region’.
The report examined the economic impact of the education gap as well as the economic nature, impact and potential of First Nations and Métis economic development. A particular focus was put on urban reserves and Aboriginal-owned economic development corporations in the Saskatoon Region.
The report concluded that if First Nations and Métis in Saskatchewan had an equivalent educational attainment and concomitant income level as non-Aboriginal residents, their earnings would increase by $1.083 billion dollars per year (First Nations = $781 million per year; Métis = $302 million). The education gap is costing the Province over a billion dollars a year in lost economic impact.
The report also lists five recommendations on how Aboriginal economic development corporations can increase Aboriginal economic and business development opportunities in the Saskatoon Region:
- Diversification of Investments
- Investing in Existing Businesses (i.e. succession planning)
- Increased Networking and Investment Readiness
- Enhanced Governance
- Access to Financing
The report was commissioned by SAEP, a committee comprising of numerous stakeholders including Aboriginal training and education institutes, industry, the City of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Regional Intersectoral Committee. SAEP was formed to support greater employment opportunities for Aboriginal citizens in the Saskatoon Region. The report was developed and researched in cooperation with the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network (SFNEDN). Heather Exner-Pirot of the University of Saskatchewan who is also a member of the SFNEDN Board of Directors acted as the Research Lead. SREDA is the host organization of SAEP and oversees delivery of the program.
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