Indigenous Economic Impact: Study shows $1.5bn contribution

Report: Indigenous Peoples contribute $1.5 billion to Calgary's economy, strategies for enhancing their economic participation

Photo by patrick mcvey / Unsplash

A new study on Indigenous economic contributions in Calgary and the Treaty 7 region showcases the significant role Indigenous Peoples play in the area's economic prosperity. Jointly conducted by Calgary Economic Development and The City of Calgary, the study reveals that the Indigenous economy contributed $1.5 billion to Calgary's GDP in 2021, equating to 1.2% of the city's total GDP. This includes contributions from First Nations governments ($540 million), Indigenous-owned businesses ($450 million), and Indigenous households ($530 million). Mayor Gondek highlighted the importance of these contributions and the pursuit of Economic Reconciliation, emphasizing the need to understand opportunities and barriers for enhancing Indigenous economic participation.

The study provides three key recommendations to boost Indigenous economic involvement: supporting an Indigenous Procurement Program to improve Indigenous-owned businesses' access to city contracts, strengthening Indigenous economic development through collaboration with various Indigenous organizations, and attracting Indigenous meetings and events to foster connections and encourage Indigenous business establishment in the region. Brad Parry, President & CEO of Calgary Economic Development, emphasized the importance of an inclusive and accessible economy, noting the study's role in identifying actions to support the growth of the Indigenous economy.

In addition to these recommendations, the study offers insightful data about the Indigenous population in Calgary. It highlights that for every dollar spent by Indigenous entities, around $2.60 of total output is generated within Alberta's economy. The Indigenous population in Calgary is younger and growing faster than the non-Indigenous population, with 42% under the age of 25. This demographic has grown by an average of 3.6% annually between 2006 and 2021, nearly double the growth rate of the non-Indigenous population. Despite these positive trends, the median income of Indigenous Peoples in Calgary remains lower than that of the non-Indigenous population. The study concludes with quotes from Indigenous leaders emphasizing the pivotal role of First Nations in economic development and the importance of active reconciliation through meaningful participation in procurement and project planning.

For more information, you can find the original release here.