Kitsumkalum community hall in northwestern B.C. The Kitsumkalum First Nation has signed two benefit agreements for the LNG Canada development, and employment is increasing in the region. (Terrace Standard)

Resources boost B.C., Alberta Indigenous communities: study

Government spending leaves one fifth with declining living standards

Own-source revenue is more effective in lifting living standards in Indigenous communities than government funding, according to a study released Tuesday by the Fraser Institute.

The study is the based on the Statistics Canada’s latest Community Well-Being Index, published every five years to measure income, health and education. The latest index published earlier this year, extending the data from 2001 to 2016.

“For decades, governments in Canada have poured money into first nation communities in an effort to improve the quality of life, and yet many communities have seen their living standards decline,” said Tom Flanagan of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and author of the study, Gaining Ground, Losing Ground: First Nations’ Community Well-Being in the 21st Century.

Of the 21 first nations across Canada with the biggest improvement in community well-being, 11 were in B.C.: Halfway River, McLeod Lake, Witset, Nadleh Whuten (Fort Fraser), Tk’emlups te Secwepmec (Kamloops), Matsqui, Shuswap, Leq’a:mel (Deroche), Uclulet, Blueberry River and Prophet River. Two are in Alberta: Enoch Cree (Stony Plain) and Fort Mackay.

Flanagan notes that Tk’emlups, Matsqui, Shuswap and Leq’a:mel “are in a special category because three quarters or more of the people who live on the reserve are not status Indians. These first nations have sought prosperity by leasing land to outsiders for residential or recreational real estate.”

RELATED: LNG Canada support far outweighs protests, CEO says

RELATED: Cheam chief visits Ottawa to support Trans Mountain

Most of the rest gained improvement via “community capitalism, or band-owned enterprises” including oil and gas field services and forestry.

Five of the fastest-improving communities are in northern B.C., “where the provincial government has an elaborate program of consultations, negotiations and revenue sharing with with first nations for resource development, including forestry, pipelines and hydrocarbon exploration.”

Those found to have lost ground in community well-being from 2001-16 include Soowahlie (near Chilliwack) and Wuikinuxv (Rivers Inlet) in B.C. and Beaver and Whitefish Lake in Alberta.

“A common characteristic for the first nations that are losing fround is the low level of own-source revenue,” Flanagan says. “Not surprisingly, these first nations are not making as much use of off-ramps from the Indian Act as are the ones that are rapidly improving their community well-being scores. None in this group has established a tax system.”

Remoteness from urban locations is a factor in the declining group, with some having no year-round road connection to a service centre. Only two, Soowahlie and Eagle Lake near Dryden, Ont. are less than 50 km from a town or city.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crime stats show a shift in Oak Bay during COVID-19

Thefts from automobiles, marinas up this spring

Eight people arrested on Pandora Avenue after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

Victoria dealer sells Batmobile replica at Arizona auction

Tim Quocksister sells Batmobile replica for $165,000 US at auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP has dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

Most Read