Indigenous Partnerships

We recognize the unique and vital role Indigenous stewardship plays in managing Canada’s forests, and the vital importance forests have to the cultural, economic and spiritual relationships Indigenous peoples hold with the land. Many First Nations and Métis communities hold generations of knowledge about the land and forests, giving them a deep understanding of how the forest evolves and how they can be managed in a way that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.

We recognize the importance and the benefits of creating long-lasting relationships with Indigenous peoples and the need to increase the pace of economic reconciliation in the following ways: by developing and facilitating substantive opportunities and a “seat” at the economic table for businesses and careers; by increasing the representation of Indigenous peoples in the forest sector with better human resource tools for recruiting, developing and retaining Indigenous talent; by demonstrating leadership and helping influence other decision-makers to widen the scope for participation in the sector and; by providing education for management and staff on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools.

We commit to encouraging and exploring new partnerships and supply chain opportunities with Indigenous governments and businesses to help achieve economic parity and co-decision making. Already, joint ventures, contracting, cooperative agreements, and collaborative initiatives between Indigenous territories, communities, businesses and organizations and the forest sector are creating skilled and well-paying jobs. Expanding these opportunities range from more ownership of traditional infrastructure like sawmills to creating space in the innovative production and distribution of biofuels to access to pools of capital for investment in Indigenous projects and businesses.

Key Facts

  • Indigenous management of the forest resources has increased 135% since 2003. 
  • The allocation of wood fibre to Indigenous rights holders account for over 19 million m3, or 9.1% of the total available wood fibre from Canada’s managed forests. This represents an increase of over 11 million m3.
  • Indigenous management of forest land totals more than 17 million hectares, or approximately 7.5% of the total managed forest area in Canada.
  • About 1,400 Indigenous-owned businesses included in Canada’s forest sector typically employ between 10 and 30 people and many earn revenues of more than $1 million a year. 
  • Canada’s forest sector supports jobs in more than 400 Indigenous communities, employing 11,600 Indigenous peoples.
  • In British Columbia, forestry is a primary industry in many Indigenous communities, and the largest Indigenous employer in the natural resource sector in BC. 
  • In 2019, associated business agreements and stewardship partnerships between the forest industry and Indigenous Nations were equivalent to approximately $250 million in economic benefits to Indigenous communities. 
  • Canada’s forest industry promotes training and education opportunities for Indigenous people – particularly youth – to more fully contribute to the well-being of their communities and to the future prosperity of all Canadians.
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