As detailed in a new CUPE report entitled Reconciling the Gap, recent census data for Saskatchewan shows the Aboriginal population is growing and will likely make up one-fifth of the Saskatchewan population by 2036, while showing a stark picture of the current income and employment inequalities facing Aboriginal people in the province.
On October 25, 2017, Statistics Canada released information regarding the Aboriginal population from the 2016 census.
“In Regina, if you are Aboriginal you most likely make 72% of what your non-Aboriginal counterparts will make,” says Jodi Gosselin of the CUPE Aboriginal Council. “This is compounded further when you look at the difference in who is considered low-income, with 41.8% of the Aboriginal population considered low income and only 8.9% of the non-Aboriginal population low income. Yet the SaskParty thinks there’s no racism in this province. The numbers don’t lie.”
“It’s time to reconcile the employment and income gap,” says Tom Graham, CUPE Saskatchewan President. “The provincial government had a plan to address the issues regarding Aboriginal employment but scrapped it in their 2010-2011 budget.”
The Aboriginal Employment Development program and 98 Aboriginal Partnership Agreements were implemented under the previous government to improve Aboriginal employment in the province. By 2009, 4,465 new Aboriginal hires were attributed to these programs. Upwards of 2,000 Aboriginal employees received work based skills training.
The most recent information from the Labour Force survey shows the unemployment rate for Aboriginal people is 14.9% in the province, compared to only 5.5% for non-Aboriginal people.
CUPE Saskatchewan is the largest union in Saskatchewan representing 30,000 members who work in health care, K-12 education, municipalities, universities, group homes, day cares, and other sectors.