Industrial projects often have disproportionately negative environmental, social, economic and cultural impacts on Indigenous women. Indigenous women face significant barriers in gaining employment, workplace advancement and business opportunities in the energy and mining sectors. In 2018, only 17.9% of Canada’s mining workforce and 25.2% of Canada’s utility force were women. Worse, for women of a visible minority those numbers plummet to 2.8% and 4.2%, respectively.1
At the same time, Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people shoulder a disproportionate burden of risks from these activities. Perhaps the most reprehensible impact of industrial projects is the increased risk of sexual violence against Indigenous women and girls that come along with the presence of industrial work camps.
“Expert Witnesses told the National Inquiry that resource extraction can drive violence against Indigenous women and girls in several ways, including issues related to transient workers, harassment and assault in the workplace, rotational shift work, substance abuse/addictions, and economic insecurity.” (Executive Summary of the Final Report into MMIWG, pg.36)2
Failure to implement impact assessment legislation and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples supports decision-making structures do not include the rights, interests and concerns of Indigenous women and their communities.