Canada must invest more in its Indigenous people: OECD report – by Levon Sevunts (Radio Canada – June 13, 2016)

The new Liberal government ought to continue sharing more of the fruits of Canada’s growth with the country’s Indigenous population, says a new report presented today at the opening of the 22nd International Economic Forum of the Americas Conference of Montreal.

The latest Economic Survey of Canada prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was presented by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau at the three-day conference attended by dozens of leading politicians, civil society representatives and business figures from Canada and across the globe.

Canada should be improving outcomes for its Aboriginal Peoples through providing more resources for their education, training, health care, housing, entrepreneurship and environmental infrastructure servicing their communities, says one of the key recommendations of the survey.

Young but poor

While Canada scores highly in all dimensions of the OECD’s Better Life Index, the country’s 1.4 million Indigenous citizens (4.3 per cent of the population) suffer from various critical social problems, says the report.

On average, Indigenous Canadians are much younger than other Canadians and are growing quickly in number. Yet they are often poor and are more likely than other Canadians to live in sub-standard housing, to drop out of school, to take up smoking and heavy drinking, to suffer from health problems, to commit suicide and to have their children grow up in lone-parent or foster homes, says the survey.

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