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

Spring In The Garden: Natural disarray adds to the charm of the English cottage garden

Ellen Presley Special to The Record The cottage garden has had an… Continue reading

VIDEO: Community generosity helps Courtenay Elementary school replace stolen bikes

Community compassion, coupled with school connections, helped Courtenay Elementary restock its inventory… Continue reading

Comox Valley gives back

Comox Valley businesses, organizations and individuals helping improve the lives of others

Comox Valley playgrounds, outdoor fitness stations now open

School District 71 and Comox Valley local governments have reopened outdoor playgrounds… Continue reading

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

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

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Comox Valley Regional District receives $100,000 to develop poverty action plan

Courtenay-Comox NDP MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard says a $100,000 grant in provincial funding… Continue reading

Courtenay councillor notes shift in views about food security

Courtenay council approved a motion from Wendy Morin motion to support urban… Continue reading

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Most Read