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.

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

Just Posted

Shoot the Moon pub passes public hearing stage

Rod Alsop and Jon Ludtke’s proposed pub is one step closer after a packed public hearing

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP visits Wet’suwet’en camps, calls for Coastal GasLink pipeline to be ‘revisited’

Paul Manly met with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the RCMP to talk about the ongoing situation

BREAKING: LSS evacuated after reports of ‘gas smell’

Students were evacuated to Frank Jameson Community Centre, but have since returned to class

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Chemainus River

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Ladysmith Art Council announces new Poet in Residence

John Edwards will serve as the inaugural Poet in Residence

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Most Read