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

Former Surrey Eagle home from ‘quiet, empty’ Italy after hockey season cancelled

Delta-born Anthony Bardaro has spent last three seasons playing professionally in Europe

White Rock Tritons stay sharp despite uncertain future of BC Premier Baseball League season

Semiahmoo Peninsula squad recently returned from truncated trip to Arizona

GREEN SPACE: COVID-19 crisis has shown that people are capable of change

Now is the perfect time to create more sustainable habits

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read

l -->