The Canadian government was recently prompted by the nation’s residents to examine the large gap between the unemployment rate in its aboriginal community and the jobless average among the rest of the country’s citizens.
According to Telesur, the recently released Aboriginal Progress Report looked at information between 2006 and 2011. During this time, aboriginal unemployment went up from 14.8 percent to 15 percent. Over the same period, non-aboriginal joblessness grew as well, from 6.3 percent to 7.5 percent. Although this increase exceeded that of native residents’ unemployment, the overall average remained half as high as in the aboriginal population. Unemployment for those living on reserves was far higher during this time, rising from 24.9 percent in 2006 to 25.2 percent in 2011.
During these five years, Canada’s national employment average fell slightly, from 62.8 percent to 61.8 percent. The aboriginal population experienced a more dramatic decline, dropping to 35.4 percent from 39 percent.
Chief Clarence Louie, member of British Columbia’s Osoyoos Indian Band and chairman of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, told Metro News that the Canadian government needs to focus efforts on assisting native residents actively seeking employment. He noted that the nation should revisit the First Nation treaty rights and obligations, a document that is upheld by the Supreme Court and may be an assisting factor in creating job opportunities for aboriginal residents.