New study benchmarks Indigenous economic contributions and informs action toward Economic Reconciliation in Calgary and Treaty 7 region

A study into the economic contributions of Indigenous households, governments and businesses reveals the potential of the Indigenous economy and the pivotal role Indigenous Peoples play in fostering economic prosperity for Calgary and the Treaty 7 Region.

Jointly commissioned by Calgary Economic Development and The City of Calgary, and executed by MNP, the Indigenous Economic Contribution Study reports that the Indigenous economy generated a total GDP of $1.5 billion in 2021, approximately 1.2 per cent of Calgary’s total GDP. First Nations governments contributed $540 million, Indigenous-owned businesses contributed $450 million, and Indigenous households contributed $530 million.

“This study highlights the contributions Indigenous Peoples and businesses make to the Calgary regional economy,” said Mayor Gondek.

“As we pursue Economic Reconciliation, understanding the opportunities and barriers will better enable entrepreneurs, businesses and governments to collectively unlock the talent and ideas of First Nations, Métis and urban Indigenous People.”

The study makes three specific recommendations to increase Indigenous economic participation, led by the City of Calgary, civic partners, community organizations and businesses:

  • Support an Indigenous Procurement Program: Collaborate with the City in its current development and implementation of an Indigenous Procurement Program to increase access to City contracts for Indigenous-owned businesses.
  • Strengthen Indigenous economic development: Work with the Blackfoot Confederacy Nations, Tsuut’ina Nation, Stoney Nakoda Nations, Métis and urban Indigenous economic development organizations to enhance program offerings and support for Indigenous businesses.
  • Attract Indigenous meetings and events: Foster a sense of connection by attracting Indigenous meetings and events, laying the foundation for relationship-building and encouraging the establishment of Indigenous businesses in the region.

“Building an economy that is inclusive and accessible for everyone is a priority in Calgary’s economic strategy,” said Brad Parry, President & CEO, Calgary Economic Development.

“Our city can only realize its full economic potential by deliberately removing barriers to economic participation. This study both proves this and provides tangible actions we can take to champion the growth of the Indigenous economy.”  

To continue this important conversation, the Calgary community is encouraged to register for the New Economy LIVE: Advancing Economic Reconciliation webinar on Jan. 18, hosted by Calgary Economic Development.


  • For every dollar spent by Indigenous households, businesses and governments in Calgary and the Treaty 7 region, approximately $2.60 of total output is generated within Alberta’s economy.
  • The Indigenous population in Calgary is younger and growing faster than the non-Indigenous population.
  • Approximately 42 per cent of the Indigenous population in Calgary is under the age of 25, compared with 29 per cent of the non-Indigenous population.
  • The Indigenous population in Calgary grew by an annual average of 3.6 percent between 2006 and 2021, nearly double the growth of the non-Indigenous population at 1.6 per cent.
  • The median income of Indigenous Peoples in Calgary ($38,800) is lower than the median income of the non-Indigenous population ($45,200).
  • Approximately 86 per cent of income for Indigenous households comes from employment.
  • Total employment supported by Indigenous expenditures was equivalent to 32 per cent of the total employment in Calgary’s tech sector in 2021.


“It has been the resource sector that has led this country’s relationship with the Indigenous People. It is now the resource sector that will lead the Indigenous People’s relationship with this country.”

 - Arthur Cunningham, Elder, Métis of Alberta

“Community Futures Treaty Seven is very pleased with the Indigenous Economic Contribution Study that was conducted by The City of Calgary and Calgary Economic Development and views it as a very positive step in the history of Indigenous economic development. With ongoing updates expected, this assures long-term edification for Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders, as this data will be able to provide an improved and factual explanation of the Indigenous economy in Treaty Seven.”

–Shawna Morning Bull (Ikinnaisipistoohkomi), Manager Business Development, Community Futures Treaty 7

“First Nations are drivers of economic development and prosperity. Reconciliation is important but can only be achieved through ReconciliACTION. Ensuring that First Nations are key players in procurement and project planning and development is the key to success. In the true spirit of Nation Building we all must recognize that we are stronger together.”

- Jamie Springchief, Community and Economic Development Manager,
Siksika Nation

Calgary Economic Development is a conduit, connector, catalyst and storyteller for the city of Calgary. Promoting Calgary as the location of choice for people, investment and business, our work is rooted in positioning Calgary for long-term economic success and shared prosperity for all through the expansion, retention and attraction of companies, capital and talent. As stewards of the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy, our vision is for Calgary as a place where bright minds and big ideas come together with an unmatched spirit to help solve global challenges. Learn more at, or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @calgaryeconomic.



Calgary Economic Development
Grace Fullerton
Manager, Communications
Media Line: 403 880 7040