Aboriginal Employment and Unemployment
|Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal||Non-Aboriginal||Aboriginal||Aboriginal||Aboriginal|
|Population 15 years and over||25,664,225||24,840,330||823,895||619,815||204,080|
|In the Labour Force||17,146,135||16,626,880||519,255||412,700||106,555|
|Not in the Labour Force||8,518,090||8,213,450||304,640||207,115||97,525|
|Population 15 years and over||23,901,360||23,249,015||652,350||471,145||181,205|
|In the Labour Force||15,872,075||15,471,640||400,435||306,050||94,385|
|Not in the Labour Force||8,029,285||7,777,375||251,915||165,095||86,820|
Notes to the Table1. Source: Statistics Canada: 2001 Census and 2006 Census
- Labour Force=Looking for work or employed
- Not in the Labour Force=Not looking for work and not employed
- Participation Rate=Number in the labour force divided by the population over 15 years.
- Employment Rate=Number employed divided by the population over 15 years.
- Unemployment Rate=Number unemployed divided by the labour force.
The Story Behind the Data
The participation rate (i.e. the percentage of people 15 years and over who are participating in the economy by looking for work and who are therefore employed or unemployed) among Aboriginal people on reserve is markedly different from the participation rate among Aboriginal people off reserve and non-aboriginal Canadians. The participation rate among Aboriginal people on reserve was 52.2 percent in 2006 and 52.1 percent in 2001. The participation rate among Aboriginal people off reserve was 66.6 percent in 2006 and 65.0 percent in 2001, numbers which are in line with non-Aboriginal Canadians (66.9 percent in 2006 and 66.5 percent in 2001). There are several interpretations to the low Aboriginal participation rate on reserve:
- there are no jobs available on or near reserves;
- there may be jobs available on or near reserves but Aboriginal people on reserve do not believe they will get them;
- Aboriginal people on reserve believe they can live adequately without working. "Living adequately" does not mean they are living well. "Living adequately" may mean that when most people are poor, there is little peer pressure to acquire additional income once basic needs are met.
The Aboriginal unemployment rate on reserve fell from 27.6 percent in 2001 to 24.7 percent in 2006. By comparison, the unemployment rate among non-Aboriginal Canadians was 7.1 percent in 2001 and 6.3 percent in 2006.
The number of employed Aboriginal people on reserve rose from 68,380 in 2006 to 80,185 in 2001, representing a growth rate of 17.3 percent.
The Aboriginal unemployment rate off reserve fell from 16.5 percent in 2001 to 12.2 percent in 2006.
The number of employed Aboriginal people off reserve rose from 255,565 in 2001 to 362,210 in 2006, representing a growth rate of 41.7 percent.
The number of additional employed Aboriginal people on reserve needed to have an unemployed rate equal to non-Aboriginal Canadians (the employment gap) in 2006 was 19,657. The number of additional employed Aboriginal people off reserve needed to have an unemployment rate equal to non-Aboriginal Canadians in 2006 was 24,490. The number of additional employed Aboriginal people on and off reserve needed to close the "employment gap" in 2006 was 44,147.
Governments spend money to create jobs. The amounts they spend are usually determined by a combination of the need for jobs and the opportunities to create new jobs or facilitate access to existing jobs. Looking at the Aboriginal unemployment issue strictly from a need perspective, an Aboriginal employment gap on and off reserve would suggest one time public expenditures of about $1.32 billion to address the Aboriginal unemployed in 2006, assuming a cost of $30,000 per job. Public expenditures would presumably cover a range of activities such as training, job counseling, Aboriginal business development, hiring incentives, initiatives giving job experience, etc. These one-time costs would presumably also be spread over a number of years. If opportunities are factored in, the public expenditures would presumably be reduced.
In allocating these expenditures between Aboriginal people on and off reserve, not taking into consideration opportunities and all other factors being equal, the split would be 44.5 percent on reserve and 55.5 percent off reserve based on the employment gap. The participation problem on reserve suggests, however, that all other factors are not equal and suggests that more than 44.5 percent would need to be spent on reserve.