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Indigenous Albertans Contributed More than 7 Billion to Economy

A new report titled ‘Opening the Door to Opportunity: reporting on the Economic Contribution of Indigenous Peoples in Alberta’ is looking into the role that Indigenous Albertans play towards economic contribution in the province.

:Opening the Door to Opportunity seeks to highlight the economic contributions of Indigenous Peoples stemming from the spending by Indigenous governments, Indigenous-owned businesses and Indigenous households. It seeks to counter stereotypes by analyzing the economic impact of Indigenous governments, businesses and households, and includes insight into how employment among Indigenous businesses benefits the province as a whole," reads the report.

"The economic impact of Indigenous Peoples in Alberta extends beyond the boundaries of their communities and traditional territories, and it has become clear that the interests of Indigenous Peoples and the future prosperity of Alberta is aligned. To understand the size of the Indigenous economy in Alberta and the many pathways through which Indigenous Peoples contribute to the Alberta economy, ATB Financial and MNP partnered to undertake this study."

The results are stunning, at an estimated $6.74 billion, or two per cent of Alberta’s GDP in 2019, with about 313,000 Indigenous Peoples living in the province. MNP’s Vice President of Indigenous Services Clayton Norris noted that “the economy will really take off when employment and income levels of Indigenous Peoples are at the same levels as other Albertans, which could be achieved by continued investments in education, health, infrastructure and business partnerships.”

Key findings in the report include:

  • The Indigenous economy in Alberta generated $6.74 billion of GDP in 2019, which is equal to the GDP generated by the province’s agricultural sector.

  • Indigenous-owned businesses’ spending of $2.3 billion was estimated to have generated $1.27 billion in direct GDP, and $500 million of indirect GDP in 2019.

  • Total employment among the Indigenous population was equivalent to 88 per cent of the direct employment of Alberta’s tourism sector in 2019.

President Herb Lehr of the MSGC noted that: “Since the 1700s, Métis People were integral to the economic growth of Alberta through the fur trade and we continue to be a growing force today. This report not only highlights the income and employment disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples but also how closing this gap will undoubtedly benefit all Albertans. Métis Settlements General Council is committed to increasing our self determination and growth of our regional economies.”

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