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Indigenous Communities & Businesses

Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Atlantic Indigenous Communities & Businesses

  • Lower seafood demand due to restaurant closures has reduced export volumes and prices. TriNav Fisheries Consultants forecasts Atlantic Indigenous fisheries revenues will be only one-third of 2019 revenues, with an estimated loss of $93 million in 2020.
  • International and provincial border restrictions on travel and the closure of the large cruise ship season will have a significant negative impact on Atlantic Indigenous tourism revenues, which totaled $225 million in 2017.
  • As a result of COVID-19, many Indigenous companies have closed or are operating at reduced hours. Even businesses able to remain open face lower demand and reduced sales.
  • Own-source revenues account for a significant share of Indigenous community revenues in some provinces. For example, APEC estimates own-source revenues accounted for 55% of First Nation government revenues in Nova Scotia in 2018/2019.The Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs predicts Nova Scotia First Nations could lose as much as $100 million in income, or close to half of their own-source revenues, due to COVID-19. 

Quick Facts

  • APEC estimates there are about 850 private sector Atlantic Indigenous businesses, generating more than $1.6 billion in revenues in 2016.
  • There were roughly 11,700 paid employees at Atlantic Indigenous businesses in 2016. About 40% of these paid employees were non-Indigenous persons.
  • Group ATN Consulting Inc. estimated the economic impact of Atlantic Indigenous businesses, community governments and households was $1.14 billion in 2015.
  • Socio-economic well-being is lower for Indigenous persons, as measured by the Community Well-Being index. Based on the 2016 census, Atlantic Indigenous communities had a Community Well-Being index of 65, below the score of 75 for Atlantic non-Indigenous communities.

For further details, see APEC’s Briefing Note and Commentary



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