ECON 2631: Issues in Aboriginal Economics

Students investigate issues relating to Aboriginal self-governance and economic development. Topics include an introduction to Canadian Aboriginal peoples and their communities; the public sector in Canada and the public sector of First Nations; an overview of First Nations Economies; an introduction to urban and regional economics; how markets operate and the implication of market failures; and economic development on First Nations lands.


Successful completion of this course will enable students to:

  • Identify the Aboriginal peoples in Canada and describe their current socio-economic state.
  • Explain the economic reasons for Aboriginal poverty in Canada.
  • Provide an overview of the Public Sector in Canada and its relationship with the Public Sector of the First Nations.
  • Demonstrate how fundamental economic tools and theory apply to First Nations economies.
  • Explain income disparities among Aboriginal peoples, and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, including the role of market failure in these disparities.
  • Explain the rationale and feasibility for implementing Aboriginal property rights and title.
  • Use knowledge of fundamental economic tools and theory to research and complete an economic development proposal for an individual Aboriginal community.

Course outline

Module 1: Introduction to Canadian Aboriginal Peoples and Their Communities

  • Identifying Canada's Aboriginal Peoples
  • The Socio-Economic State of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
  • An Introduction to Aboriginal Economic Development Issues

Module 2: Public Sector in Canada and Public Sector of First Nations

  • Structure and Finances of the Nation
  • The First Nations Fiscal Relationship
  • The True Cost of First Nations Government
  • An Approach to Aboriginal Self-Government

Module 3: Overview of First Nations Economies

  • How the First Nations Economy Works
  • Economic Causes of Underdevelopment and Some Strategies to Address Them

Module 4: Introduction to Urban and Regional Economics

  • Introduction to Urban Development
  • The Development of Urban Economies
  • Introduction to Regional Economics
  • The Relationship Between Urban and Regional Development and Aboriginal Economic Development

Module 5: How Markets Work and the Implications of Market Failure

  • Virtues of Markets and the Concept of Comparative Advantage
  • Market Failures and the Role of Government Intervention
  • Land Markets
  • Application of Market Concepts to Aboriginal Communities

Module 6: Economic Development on First Nations Lands

  • The Significance of Property Rights and the Capital Creation
  • Inefficiencies in Markets on Reserves
  • History of Market Characteristics in Aboriginal Communities

Required text and materials

There is no required textbook for this course.

Additional requirements

A computer with Internet access is required.


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete the course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% on the final mandatory exam.

Quiz 1 5%
Quiz 2 5%
Quiz 3 5%
Quiz 4 5%
Quiz 5 5%
Journal 10%
Major Project 40%
Final Exam * 25%
Total 100%


Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environment's "Mail" tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information when starting the course.

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