Economic Development

Initiatives and Northern Partnerships

Access to employment and a livable wage directly impact the overall wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities. According to the National Regional Health Survey (2012),high rates of unemployment and lower levels of income persist in First Nations communities with an average unemployment rate of 31.2%. This includes an unemployment rate of 48.6% for individuals aged between 18-29 years of age. This reflects lower than average income levels, which impact the health and self sufficiency of communities where there is an average unemployment rate of 82.4%.

According to Make Poverty History (2009), a group comprised of a number of local Manitoban social agencies and citizens, socio-economic levels of First Nations have improved over the last 40 years,however, the improvements in quality of life indicators have not kept up with other Canadian populations. The reality of poorer socio economic levels place communities at even greater risk during recession times further straining already fragile local economies resulting in higher rates of unemployment and poverty. This is especially true for youth who have higher instances of unemployment and poverty, common for youth residing in urban areas.


MKO at a glance

Promoting Economic Success within Our Nations

Through the direction of MKO leadership, MKO is committed to establishing sustainable economies. In spite of our obstacles, our nations have hope to establish local economies that will help realize achieving fundamental human rights for all members by ensuring adequate and affordable housing, access to education, clean and running drinking water and communities rich with activities.We are finding sustainable and locally driven solutions so our nations can realize economic independence in the future. 
It is with this vision in mind that MKO is working vigorously attempting to support MKO nation’s through the establishment of partnerships aimed at growing local economies for the benefit of all community members. 

Common Objectives of MKO, Northern Manitoba Businesses and Governments

The MKO First Nations, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments have a common interest in ensuring the long term economic health of Manitoba. There are opportunities for MKO to make significant contributions toward several key objectives of common interest to MKO, Northern Manitoba Businesses and Governments, including:

Social Licence to Operate

First Nations are essential to support successful business development within the ancestral lands and traditional territories of the MKO First Nations.The MKO First Nations and MKO recognize the importance of businesses first securing a “social licence to operate” from First Nations and the positive effect that such a licence has on investor confidence and on government and public perception of business ventures in our north.

Consensus on Sector Strategies and Policies

MKO First Nations and MKO can work with Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments to develop a “made in Manitoba” consensus on key sector strategies, and in particular on:

  • Free, prior and informed consent;
  • Resource revenue sharing;
  • Clean energy initiatives;
  • Climate change adaptation;
  • Mines and minerals;
  • Land, water and environmental stewardship; and,
  • Effective “northern preference” procurement, contracting and procurement policies

Building on Northern Manitoba’s Assets and Strengths

Nations and MKO can promote northern Manitoba’s assets and strengths, including its energy and mineral wealth, Canada’s Arctic Gateway, world-class tourism and skilled northern First Nations workforce.

Equitable Engagement of First Nations in Business

The MKO First Nation, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments have a strong common interest in ensuring the equitable engagement of First Nations in new and existing ventures within the ancestral and traditional territories of the MKO First Nations.

The equitable engagement of First Nations will enhance the business capacity of First Nations, increase skills and employment, grow First Nation wealth and capital while enhancing First Nation commitment to northern development.

Access to Skilled Northern Aboriginal Workforce

MKO, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments can jointly promote the significant asset and strength represented by the increasingly skilled and experienced northern First Nation workforce.

​MKO, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments can work together to take maximum advantage of the significant and recent government investments in training initiatives related to the northern hydro and infrastructure projects.

Consistent and Certain Land and Water Stewardship

The MKO First Nations and MKO can contribute their considerable experience, expertise, Traditional Knowledge and perspective regarding lands, waters and natural resources to the development of a Northern Manitoba framework to ensure consistency and certainty in Land and Water Stewardship.

This framework would include the completion, adoption and implementation of First Nation Land Use Plans and the Resource Management Plans.

Consistent and Certain Consultation Framework

The MKO First Nations, MKO, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments have each identified the significance of a consistent and certain framework for the Crown-First Nation consultation and accommodation process to the long term economic health of Manitoba.

MKO has been working to establish consistent and certain consultation frameworks since April, 1991 and shortly following the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision in R. v. Sparrow. MKO can contribute its considerable expertise and perspective to the development and implementation of a consistent and certain consultation framework.

Consistent and Certain Regulatory Framework

MKO, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments recognize that a consistent and certain framework for the regulation of lands, waters, resources and development in northern Manitoba is central to establishing relations with First Nations which are consistent with the Treaty relationship and to the long term economic health of Manitoba and to stewardship of waters, lands and the environment.
MKO has been working to establish consistent and certain regulatory frameworks since1981 and can contribute its considerable expertise and perspective to the development and implementation of a consistent and certain regulatory framework.

Access to Resources

The MKO First Nations, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments have a strong common interest in developing and implementing frameworks which will provide for certainty relating to lands, waters, and resources.

The MKO First Nations, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments also have a strong common interest in developing and implementing frameworks where the waters, lands, rights and interests of the MKO First Nations and the interests of Northern Manitoba Businesses are recognized.

Access to Capital

The MKO First Nations, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments share a strong common interest in promoting access to all forms of capital.
The MKO First Nations and MKO recognize that the degree of investor confidence in a positive working relationship between First Nations, businesses and governments can enhance efficient access to capital.

Continuance of Low Risk Investment Rating

The MKO First Nations, MKO, Northern Manitoba Businesses and governments have a strong common interest in ensuring that the global investment community continues to perceive Manitoba as a “low risk” place to invest.

Natural Resources Secretariat

The MKO Natural Resources Secretariat (NRS) has been in existence for 27 years providing expertise on resource developments in northern Manitoba. During the past year, the Natural Resources Secretariat continued to provide MKO and the MKO First Nations with research, technical and negotiations support for a broad range of initiatives that addressed lands, waters, natural resources and the environment. The MKO Natural Resources Secretariat also carries out activities in support of the Office of the MKO Grand Chief and MKO, Inc.

MKO-NRS carried out mapping, satellite image analysis and Traditional Land Use Studies and support for Traditional Land Use Planning. Each of the natural resources initiatives of MKO and of the MKO Natural Resources Secretariat have reflected MKO’s central purpose, which is to ensure the recognition of the inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the citizens of the MKO First Nations, to clarify and reinforce the Treaty relationship and to uphold the honour of the Crown. Consistent with this record, “giving life to the Treaty relationship” continued to be a central theme of many of the activities and initiatives of the MKO Natural Resources Secretariat during the past year.

Further to the previous direction of the MKO Chiefs in Assembly, a major focus of MKO-NRS’ work over the past year also continues to be the implementation of Canada’s and Manitoba’s constitutional duty to consult, justify and accommodate in order to ensure that the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the MKO First Nations and citizens are not unjustifiably infringed by the actions and decisions of governments.

The MKO Natural Resources Secretariat provided support to MKO First Nations affected by the very high water levels and fluctuations in levels again being experienced throughout 2014 through preparations of briefings, reports, submissions, presentations and correspondence.

MKO-NRS is submitting an updated series of proposals to multiple potential funders in order to continue the project activities and business lines continuously carried out in support of the MKO First Nations for the past 27 years. A key objective of the MKO-NRS multi-year proposal is to ensure the continuing operation of MKO-NRS and to ensure that the “knowledge institution” represented by the 27 years of experience and expertise of MKO-NRS are available to the MKO First Nations on a go-forward basis. The province of Manitoba has expressed an interest in these proposals.

During the 2014/15 reporting year, the ongoing business lines, special initiatives and activities of the Natural Resources Secretariat focused on:

  • Treaties and Natural Resources Strategy
  • First Nation-Crown Consultation and Accommodation Process
  • Resource Revenue-Sharing and Access to Resources
  • Environmental Stewardship and Protection
  • Customary Law, Traditional Knowledge and Exercise of First Nation Jurisdiction
  • Implementation of Agreements
  • Resolution of Outstanding Claims Relates to Hydro Development Projects
  • Hydro Operations, Energy Policy and Hydro Development
  • manitoba Commercial Inland Fisheries and Resource Harvesting

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
MANITOBA KEEWATINOWI OKIMAKANAK, INC.
NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARIAT
16TH Flr 275 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
204-949-9184
Facsimile 204-927-7509
E-mail: [email protected]