• Social economy: Serving the goals and interests of First Nations
déc. 14, 2015

What is the situation in your community? What does the future look like? Is it possible to take action to make meaningful change? What are your options? Can the social economy be an effective lever for people to roll up their sleeves, get involved and take action for the common good, for themselves and the community at large, in a spirit of harmony, solidarity, sharing and respect for autonomy?

Socio-cultural and economic development in general—in particular, through the improvement of quality of life, the fight against poverty and social exclusion, professional integration, job creation, housing, food security, the development of health and social services in the communities (including support for elders), and the mobilization and empowerment of our elected representatives, stakeholders and leaders—are at the very core of the initiatives and benefits that can be derived from promoting and deploying the social economy.

The following elements have been set out by our action plan to overcome these challenges.

Roundtable on the social economy for First Nations

In 2013, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) mandated the FNQLHSSC, by resolution, to be responsible for the social economy file for First Nations communities. Since then, the FNQLHSSC has mobilized its resources to:  

  • Promote and develop the social economy, with a view of keeping First Nations stakeholders and communities informed and raising awareness
  • Encourage and support local initiatives
  • Ensure the representation of First Nations in the different bodies and organizations concerned with social economy throughout Quebec
  • Rally the First Nations organizations interested in social economy by creating a roundtable


With this year of preparations now drawing to a close, the Regional Roundtable on the Social Economy for the First Nations (RRSEFN), coordinated by the FNQLHSSC, is ready to get to work. This committee has two other members: the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Economic Development Commission (FNQLEDC) and the Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ). Other First Nations social economy organizations and enterprises are slated to join the committee in the future.


The roundtable’s mission statement is as follows: “Empowered by the values of solidarity, cooperation and equity, the members of the Regional Roundtable on the Social Economy for the First Nations undertake to promote social economy among First Nations communities in Quebec, both within the communities themselves and in urban settings, by fostering joint action and partnerships at the local, regional and provincial scale with a view to harmonizing interventions and maximizing the development of a social economy in First Nations communities in Quebec.”


The creation of this roundtable was one of the measures taken to further the objectives of the fight against poverty among First Nations.


2015-2020: Get ready to see action

The adoption of the Social Economy Act and the implementation of the 2015-2020 government action on the social economy announced in May 2015 by the Quebec government have paved the way for the introduction of measures to promote and develop the social economy among First Nations. In addition to the creation of the Roundtable, the primary measures identified for the 2015-2020 period are as follows:

  • Draw a portrait of First Nations social economy in Quebec and conceptualize a framework for social economy specific to First Nations
  • Organize and hold a promotional regional event (the Forum for social economy and First Nations in Quebec)
  • Analyze and develop a funding and accompaniment structure for social and collective entrepreneurship that is adapted to First Nations
  • Conduct sectoral R&D for the social economy among First Nations in Quebec


Many other initiatives will follow suit. These actions are also pursuant to the implementation of the FNQLHSSC’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, which continues to prioritize the creation of local initiatives to combat poverty and social exclusion, and foster the introduction of economic levers through diversified partnerships.


A promotional document on social economy in high demand

The FNQLHSSC has prepared a new tool to promote the social economy. Specifically adapted to the context and needs of First Nations, the leaflet Sur le sentier de l’économie sociale / On the path of social economy is designed to be both informational and practical in nature. It presents an overview of the different facets of the social economy and provides several examples of First Nations social economy enterprises—a very useful information, reference and promotional tool indeed!


It has already been distributed to the communities, and additional copies will be sent upon request. You can also find this leaflet on our website under the PUBLICATIONS section.


The FNQLHSSC’s service offer for communities

The FNQLHSSC’s service offer for the social economy and First Nations development includes:

  • Requests (for information, resources, programs, etc.) or research
  • Presentations or information meetings on social economy for members, organizations and community workers (including young people and youth organizations)
  • Training (social economy and collective entrepreneurship, roles and responsibilities of a board of directors, project start-up and management, etc.) Exploration of social economy projects with people interested in traditional or new activity sectors (fight against poverty, socioprofessional integration, social services, etc.)
  • Support for promoters of existing social economy projects or enterprises
  • Collaboration on activities related to the socio-economic development of First Nations communities (assistance in organizing a discussion forum, mobilization or planning, facilitation, networking, feasibility, project development or monitoring, search for funding, etc.)


This offer is primarily designed to foster the development of local expertise and structures dedicated to creating and advancing social economy projects and enterprises in the communities, in keeping with community interest and the needs they identify.


For more information, contact Niva Sioui, Social Development Manager, or Benoit Aubé, Social Economy Advisor.