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Aboriginal People in Canada's Labour Market: Work and Unemployment, Today and Tomorrow

Public Policy Paper by Michael Mendelson

Although Canada has been successful in lowering its national unemployment rate, Michael Mendelson states that for the nation’s Aboriginal peoples unemployment is consistently higher than that of the population in general. In his report Mendelson considers two main indicators of labour market activity in the Aboriginal context: unemployment and participation rates. His aim is to see how Aboriginal Canadians have fared in Canada’s labour market.

Mendelson’s report is a sequel to the Caledon Institute’s 1999 study, Aboriginal People in Canada’s Labour Market. Like the 1999 report, the objective of this study is to “draw a clearer picture of labour markets in Canada as they affect Aboriginal peoples in different regions and to review the consequences of this picture for public policy.” This report uses data from the 2001 census. The author asserts that Aboriginal success in Canada’s labour market interests all Canadians because we “cannot have a high quality of life if there is a significant minority forming an impoverished underclass.” Further, he contends Aboriginal participation in the labour market is vital to filling demand, particularly in Western Canada. According to Mendelson, Canada’s future prosperity depends upon achieving equitable results in our labour markets for Aboriginal Canadians.

This report contains five sections: 1) a review of the demographics of Canada’s Aboriginal identity population, both for all ages and the working-age population; 2) a discussion of labour market indicators, namely, unemployment and participation rates; 3) an analysis of the geography of the labour market for Aboriginal Canadians; 4) a look forward at the labour market challenges for Aboriginal people; and 5) public policy implications based on the report’s findings. Mendelson contends a continuous debate is needed among Aboriginal organizations, all levels of government, and both private and public organizations regarding how Aboriginal Canadians can achieve employment equity in the country’s labour markets.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Michael Mendelson;
Publisher: Caledon Institute of Social Policy [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English French
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development / 2004
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Labour Supply
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Unemployment
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Regional Development
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Western Canada
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Labour Supply / 2004
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets / Unemployment / 2004
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Regional Development / 2004
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Western Canada / 2004
Policy Articles / Aboriginal
Policy Articles / Labour & Markets
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral

Keywords / Tags:

national unemployment rate; Aboriginal people; Canada; Aboriginal Canadians; unemployment; participation rates; labour market indicators; 2001 census; impoverished underclass; public policy; western Canada; labour market; Aboriginal working age population; employment equity;