Indigenous & Northern Communities

The Conference Board of Canada helps leaders build a prosperous, healthy future for Indigenous and Northern communities, governments, and businesses. As a leader in research and stakeholder engagement, our work addresses critical knowledge gaps around northern and remote development, reconciliation, and future skills that challenge decision- and policy-making.

Ice and snow covering lake and hills; Indigenous man wearing glasses

Recent releases

Do Indigenous Entrepreneurs Have the Support They Need to Succeed?

While there are compelling reasons for pursuing entrepreneurship, Indigenous entrepreneurs in Northern or remote areas also face a host of barriers and challenges. Services are available, but do they provide the support that is needed?

Impact Paper  |  40-min read
April 15, 2021

Filling in the Map of Indigenous Controlled Post-Secondary Education in Canada

Many Indigenous groups across Canada mandate, govern, and control their own post-secondary institutions. These Indigenous Institutes support lifelong learning as defined by Indigenous Peoples. They also offer education grounded in Indigenous languages, pedagogies, cultures, and worldviews.

Online experience  |  8-min read
March 17, 2021
Client—Future Skills Centre

The Atlin Hydro Project: Making a Meaningful Contribution to Community Health and Well-Being

Indigenous communities are increasingly developing medium to large infrastructure projects with varying interests in the Canadian clean energy economy. This case study explores one example of Indigenous participation in a clean energy project—the Taku River Tlingit First Nation’s development and ownership of the Atlin hydro project in Northwestern British Columbia. The focus is to investigate how community participation in this project impacts community health and well-being.

Impact paper  |  37-min read
January 27, 2021

Youth learning together
STEM education must be reformed to engage Indigenous youth

It’s more important than ever that Indigenous children in elementary and secondary schools study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). STEM fields are critical to the future of work in Canada. Studies show there’s high demand for jobs requiring expertise in STEM areas. In fact, they’re growing by 4.6 per cent a year in Canada, compared to the 1.8 per cent annual growth of the job market as a whole.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
January 21, 2021

Student in lab coat working with chemistry equipment
Indigenous STEM Access Programs: Leading Post-Secondary Inclusion

The transition from high school to post-secondary education (PSE) is a time of uncertainty for many students. Educational, cultural, and economic challenges make this transition even more complex for Indigenous learners transferring into PSE in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Issue briefing  |  14-min read
December 9, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Woman reading with small children
Learning Together STEM Outreach Programs for Indigenous Students

In response to a national conversation about reconciliation, governments, the formal education system, and non-profit organizations are wanting to address educational gaps and improve the representation of Indigenous peoples in STEM with extra attention and resources. This awareness, combined with an increasing focus on equity issues in STEM, has increased efforts to bring STEM outreach to Indigenous students.

Impact paper  |  25-min read
December 9, 2020

Opportunities for Collaboration in Indigenous Education

Indigenous Institutes play an essential role in helping Indigenous peoples—Canada’s fastest-growing population prepare for the labour market. And they bring a distinctly Indigenous lens to higher education. Many are looking for ways to support Indigenous learners and provide culturally safe spaces for learning and research.

Online experience  |  8-min read
December 7, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Liquefied Natural Gas Development in B.C. and Its Impact on Indigenous Communities

Industrial development drives economic potential for Indigenous people. Realizing that potential requires a long-term commitment by Indigenous leaders, industry, and governments to build prosperity aligned with Indigenous values and community development.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
November 9, 2020

Curriculum and Reconciliation: Introducing Indigenous Perspectives into K–12 Science

The Indigenous population in Canada is younger and growing more rapidly than any other socio-demographic segment in the country. Expanding resource development opportunities and increasing recognition of Indigenous rights are creating unique economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples.

Impact paper  |  32-min read
October 13, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Constructive steps towards Indigenizing professional engineering

Engineers frequently deal with practical problems. But how well are engineering schools preparing them for situations where cultural differences can make or break a project?

Commentary  |  4-min read
October 7, 2020

Inclusive growth is more than jobs and GDP

In a world shaken by the pandemic crisis and social inequality, many voices are now calling for measures to build a more inclusive society and economy. In Canada’s North, Inuit have been developing their own vision of inclusive growth, one where they share the same quality of life as all Canadians.

Op-ed  |  4-min read
June 24, 2020

Health emergencies in Indigenous communities in Canada: Then and now

Pandemics and diseases loom large in the history of Indigenous groups in Canada. Past outbreaks have had devastating outcomes, fueled by colonial policies and persistent inequalities.

Commentary  |  4-min read
June 15, 2020

Indigenous Entrepreneurship in Northern and Remote Canada

This primer identifies general trends in the current population of Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada, examines the various reasons individuals choose entrepreneurship, and explores the challenges Indigenous entrepreneurs face in the North.

Primer  |  35-min read
June 15, 2020

Incorporating Indigenous Cultures and Realities in STEM

When educators use a culturally responsive curriculum—one that bridges Indigenous ways of knowing with Western science—Indigenous students are more engaged and perform better.

Primer  |  40-min read
June 11, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Sustainable Northern Livelihoods

Economic growth in Canada’s North has outpaced the rest of the country. This primer discusses the challenges still faced by Indigenous people in the North, who continue to experience socio-economic disparities.

Primer  |  30-min read
June 9, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Why Indigenous Health Professionals Matter

The threat of COVID-19 looms large for many rural and remote Indigenous communities in Canada. These communities are especially concerned about the vulnerability of their Elders and the irreplaceable knowledge they hold.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 20, 2020

Cool Ideas: Remote Surgery—Will Robotic Surgery Work in the Canadian North?

Although it might seem like science fiction, remote surgery is a rapidly emerging technology. Space agencies and militaries are especially interested in developing safe, reliable remote surgery tools. From a technology standpoint, the moment a surgeon is no longer personally handling the surgical tools, distance becomes irrelevant. If surgeons can be five metres away from a patient, they could be 50 metres, 50 kilometres, or even 500 kilometres away.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 6, 2020

Northern Livelihoods: Inclusive Growth in Inuit Nunangat

In Canada, there are consistent gaps in both employment and income between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. These gaps aren’t uniform, either. Between on-reserve First Nations, off-reserve First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, as well as between men and women, noticeable differences exist. This is holding back economic growth and hurting economic reconciliation.

Online experience  |  8-min read
March 26, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

How Can More Indigenous People Access STEM Careers?

About 4 per cent of Canadian adults are Indigenous. But less than 2 per cent of people working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations are. Improving Indigenous participation and leadership in major economic sectors, such as science, technology, and finance, is an important part of the reconciliation journey.

Online experience  |  8-min read
March 26, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Old School/New School: Comparing Indigenous-Centred Post-Secondary Education in Canada

In 1972 the Assembly of First Nations—launched a movement by First Nations to reclaim control of their education. Fifty years on, many forms of Indigenous-centred post-secondary education (PSE) exist in Canada. All of them aspire to help Indigenous students succeed.

Online experience  |  8-min read
March 26, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Featured researcher

Jane Cooper

Jane Cooper

Senior Research Associate

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Executive Councils & Research Centres


Custom research

Understand the knowledge gaps in the complex issues around Indigenous and Northern communities.

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