Federal Sustainable Jobs Legislation puts thousands of Indigenous workers at risk

Federal Sustainable Jobs Legislation puts thousands of Indigenous workers at risk

Indigenous Resource Network Responds to Government’s Sustainable Jobs Legislation

The government of Canada has introduced legislation that, while supporting sustainable green jobs, could have potential negative implications for Indigenous oil and gas workers. The Indigenous Resource Network (IRN) represents Indigenous workers and businesses involved in responsible resource development.

“Within the oil and gas sector, there is a notable presence of Indigenous workers, according to Statistics Canada, 4,860 individuals are directly employed by the industry. This figure represents a proportion of 6.7% of the total workforce. The Indigenous workforce within the oil and gas sector surpasses the national average, as Indigenous people constitute 5% of the total population. This highlights the industry’s efforts in fostering inclusivity and providing opportunities for Indigenous communities to participate in and benefit from the oil and gas sector.”


“We understand the anxieties of some of our workers in the oil and gas sector” said John Desjarlais, executive director of the Indigenous Resource Network. “Throughout the legislative process, IRN will be engaging with decision makers and our supporters to ensure our concerns are heard and that proper amendments are considered.”

With the oil and gas industry being a source of livelihood, contracts and own source revenues for Indigenous people, IRN is concerned about what issues may come with transitioning Indigenous oil and gas workers out of their job without a plan for them to earn the same wages. According to the Statistics Canada, Indigenous people make almost three times more working in the oil and gas extraction sector than the average Indigenous worker ($140,400 vs $51,120 average employment income).

“These numbers show that the resource sector is valuing the skills and experience that Indigenous workers bring to the table. We look forward to working with the federal government to ensure Indigenous workers have more, not less, opportunities in the sector while providing the world with responsibly produced energy,” said Desjarlais.

While this legislation does not offer many key details, IRN will continue to monitor for updates from the federal government and offer considerations and amendments that represent the interests of Indigenous workers and businesses.


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