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Opening the door to opportunity

The Indigenous economy in Alberta

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 24 November 2021 1 min read

A new report prepared by MNP in partnership with ATB Financial entitled “Opening the door to opportunity” provides a baseline understanding of how Indigenous Peoples in Alberta contribute to the wider economy.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The Indigenous economy in Alberta generated $6.74 billion of GDP in 2019 or about 2% of the provincial total.
  • Indigenous Peoples are the fastest growing population in Alberta.
  • Indigenous People pay taxes—while there are a number of tax exemptions for income earned by First Nations through entities based on reserve lands or for specific purchases, the vast majority of income and purchases made by Indigenous Peoples in Alberta is subject to the same taxation as income and purchases by non-Indigenous people. 
  • The majority of Indigenous household income is generated through employment—approximately 90% of income for Indigenous households comes from employment and the majority of employment income is generated through employment at non-Indigenous businesses and organizations. 
  • Indigenous Peoples have lower incomes than other Albertans—the average income of the Indigenous population was approximately 69% of the average income in Alberta.
  • Less than 1% of businesses in Alberta are Indigenous-owned—in 2019 there were approximately 544,000 businesses in Alberta and fewer than 3,100 were estimated to be Indigenous-owned.  

The report’s findings “show that closing the gap in employment and income for Indigenous Peoples would make a significant contribution to the long-term growth and prosperity of Alberta. To achieve this involves increasing Indigenous participation in the labour market, increasing Indigenous entrepreneurship and supporting the growth of Indigenous-owned businesses.” 

Answer to the previous trivia question: Located in Damascus, Syria, Bawabet Dimashq is the world’s largest restaurant with seating for up to 6,014 people.

Today’s trivia question: In what year was the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business created?

The Indigenous economy in Alberta generated $6.74 billion of GDP in 2019

The Indigenous economy in Alberta generated $6.74 billion of GDP in 2019

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