The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the existing barriers Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses already faced in Canada including a lack of access to capital, proximity to market for rural and remote communities, and inadequate infrastructure, including poor internet connectivity. In April, the federal government announced a $306.8 million targeted economic stimulus package to assist Indigenous businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.
This video Spotlight explores how Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs have been impacted by the current crisis and the steps needed to ensure a resilient economic recovery that supports sustainable, long-term growth for Canada’s Indigenous economy, and economic reconciliation for Indigenous communities across Canada.
- The large majority of Indigenous businesses in the Aboriginal Financial Institutions network— 92% —have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, with major losses occurring across the tourism, service and fisheries industries.
- A lack of crucial infrastructure, particularly internet access, has placed Indigenous business owners and communities at a significant disadvantage during COVID-19.
- Closing the socioeconomic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canada could lead to a $27.7 billion annual contribution to the Canadian GDP.
- The inherent rights and treaty rights of Indigenous people must be upheld by the Government of Canada to allow Indigenous communities to control economic development on their lands and to further reconciliation in all forms.