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Getting Beyond Non-Standard Employment: Sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous communities in Northern Canada

Understanding how to support Indigenous workers in Canada’s North to achieve more sustainable livelihoods.

Natural resource development presents important opportunities for Canada’s northern Indigenous peoples. In northern Canada, there are also increasing expectations that territorial, regional, and Indigenous public service organisations will hire and retain staff from surrounding northern Indigenous communities. Yet despite these opportunities, Indigenous workers across northern public and private sectors tend to be concentrated in non-standard forms of employment, characterized by part-year and part-time positions with limited career prospects.

An image of the northern lights.

This project will examine the major push and pull factors that create non-standard employment conditions for Indigenous labour in northern Canada. It will also identify career pathways and supports that have helped northern Indigenous workers achieve sustainable livelihoods. The project will apply a mixed methods approach including a review, survey and interview research, and labour market modeling. The resulting research will illustrate how Indigenous workers across northern Canada navigate non-standard employment conditions. This project will therefore produce insights of immediate and long-term relevance to the economic self-determination of Indigenous workers in northern Canada.

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