Canada has a major economic growth opportunity if it looks at investing in its own country and its own people.
In fact, it is a $83.3 Billion growth opportunity. This is also the same size of the access to capital gap that Indigenous communities are facing when compared with the mainstream Canadian population (link to the research report is below).
This is a major divide in access to wealth and opportunity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians that needs to be closed within this decade.
The restrictions in the flow of capital stem from a colonial legacy that still regulates the Indigenous population today through the Indian Act.
The Indian Act is a paternalistic government policy that still impacts the way many Indigenous people live today. There are many symptoms to the problem of The Indian Act: over 61 drinking water advisories on reserves across Canada, poverty rates approaching 25%, multi-generational trauma associated with being disconnected from un-ceded land and rights to live a healthy life in connection with our environment, a loss of life and culture through Indian Residential School.
The Indian Act also restricts the most basic right of owning your own land and using that land as an asset to approach the bank for a loan.
This is the type of government policy that keeps the poverty cycle going, and the poverty cycle will end with investment in Indigenous owned assets such as modern housing, water, infrastructure, roads, community buildings, accessible healthcare, essential services such as grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, food services, pharmacies, sustainable energy generation, commercial properties, and equity in businesses such as the Mi’kmaq example of being equal owners of Clearwater Seafoods.
There is a lot of investment opportunities in Canada where everyone benefits. Every investment with Indigenous communities creates wealth at multiple levels: individual, family, community, regionally and nationally through the jobs and income streams that support the business.
There is a positive feedback loop that has no limit to how everyone benefits. Anytime a loan is taken out to invest in Indigenous communities, the lenders earn an interest rate and recover their capital over time through the income stream the business produces. Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals make a living through the new employment created and spend it locally, within Canada to help spread the wealth.
This is a seriously under looked opportunity to invest in your own country, own people and own backyard.
We have the opportunity at our fingertips to make Canada a more prosperous place for all. Invest in Indigenous people and businesses. You will see the positive impact you are making for generations to come.