This report presents findings of 2017–2018 exploratory, inquiry-based research funded by the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund (OHCRIF). Four focus groups/sharing circles were conducted with 21 under/unemployed Indigenous residents and representatives from two local employers (one public and one private) in the Fort Erie area of the Niagara region of Ontario.

The research sought to understand:

(1) What barriers to employment engagement are faced by the unemployed Indigenous residents of Fort Erie (e.g., skills mismatch, intergenerational trauma, mental health issues, lack of culturally appropriate services, colonial conceptions of work, incidents of racism in employment and service environments, etc.)?

(2) What strategies (both successful and unsuccessful) have been used by the largest employers in Fort Erie to attract and retain Indigenous employees?

(3) What programs, supports, or resources would assist Indigenous individuals to apply for, obtain, and remain in employment? How do these vary across age, gender, education level, and type of work obtained (i.e., part-time, full time, with or without benefits?)

The research is framed by the larger Canadian context in which differences exist in education and employment levels between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Education levels remain relatively low for Indigenous Canadians compared to the wider Canadian population. There is a need to widen our understandings of the multiple intersecting factors that lead to lower educational attainment, lower levels of high school completion, and higher levels of unemployment among Indigenous people. Although the research and report focuses on Fort Erie, the findings have implications beyond this region.

Published By: Eva Jewell, Brock U.; Andrea Doucet, Brock U.; Jessica Falk, Research Fellow, Brock U.; Susan Fyke, Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre.

Publication Date: August, 2018

Click here to view: Indigenous Employment Engagement in Niagara: Social Knowing, Discrimination, and the Importance of Indigenous Resources


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