Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Indigenous people, wage labour and trade unions: The historical experience in Canada

Document type Report
Author Fernandez, Lynne
Author Silver, Jim
Date 2017
Pages 20 pages


Have Indigenous people in Canada been active as wage labourers and union members? If so, what have been the circumstances? When and where and for what reasons have Indigenous people worked for wages and been union members and how have they fared in these roles? In this short paper we examine a wide range of recent studies that have looked at various aspects of these questions. In particular, we examine the role that unions have played with Indigenous wage workers, and with Indigenous people who have sought to work for wages, and we consider some recent initiatives that unions have taken to meet the needs of Indigenous workers. Such efforts are especially significant in an era when the numbers of Indigenous workers entering the labour market are growing rapidly, and when the labour force as a whole is becoming increasingly diverse. --Introduction