The minerals industry strongly supports efforts to facilitate the full participation of Aboriginal people in the economic opportunities it generates through training, business development, employment and mutually-beneficial partnerships. In addition, the industry often makes social investments that both improve the quality of life in Aboriginal communities and support Aboriginal participation in the resource economy.
As a result of efforts in a variety of capacities, the minerals industry has become the largest private-sector employer on a proportional basis of Aboriginal people in Canada. Aboriginal employment in the mining and mineral processing industry increased 12% from 2007 to 2015.
There is great potential to further increase participation by Aboriginal people in the minerals industry, particularly given that Canada’s Aboriginal population is younger and growing at a faster rate than the general population, and that a number of communities are located in close proximity to exploration projects and producing mines. Additionally, the industry is facing an imminent skills and labour shortage and will require over 106,000 new workers over the next decade to address retirement, attrition and sector growth.
Many Aboriginal communities are faced with a number of barriers, such as poverty, poor housing conditions, and education/essential skills gaps that limit their ability to meaningfully participate in the minerals industry. Investments to improve health, living conditions, early childhood development, and secondary and post-secondary graduation rates are critical to improve quality of life and build the capacity of Aboriginal people to fully maximize the opportunities generated by mineral exploration and development.
The industry strongly believes that collaborative efforts by all parties—government, industry and Aboriginal communities—will lead to more stable and positive business environments for mineral exploration and development, maximize benefits for all parties, and enhance Aboriginal participation in the industry.