BUSINESS

Natural Resource Labour Shortage Could Be Fixed By Aboriginal Workers, Group Suggests

06/21/2013 04:20 EDT | Updated 08/21/2013 05:12 EDT
Nativestock
TORONTO - The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business says the natural resource sector could prove an important asset in addressing a high jobless rate among Canada's aboriginal population.

The council's J.P. Gladu says Canada's resource industry is experiencing a skilled labour shortage in many regions and increased participation from First Nations communities could be a win-win.

National Aboriginal Day celebrations are planned to take place across the country Friday even as communities remain confronted by serious hurdles.

Coupled with the high jobless rate is the fact that Aboriginal Peoples represent one of the fastest growing demographics in Canada.

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According to some, the growing demand in the natural resource labour market is an excellent opportunity for businesses and First Nations to address both issues.

Making matters more complicated, TD Economics released a study on Thursday that stated more than 60 per cent of Aboriginal Canadians don't have the literacy skills needed to create a better life for themselves.

"One of the challenges with resource development and the great share of Aboriginal Peoples tied to resource employment is that commodity prices are volatile," said Sonya Gulati, Senior Economist with TD.

"So, in an environment where commodity prices are not as strong, Aboriginal Peoples need that education background to fall back on," Gulati said.