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Kingdon's Multiple Streams Model and the Window of Opportunity for Improved Aboriginal Employment and Skills Development Outcomes

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A rapidly growing and relatively young Aboriginal population in Canada has renewed concerns regarding the severe poverty experienced by this community. Statistics Canada estimates the Aboriginal population in Canada could reach between 1.7 million and 2.2 million by 2031. As a nation, Canadian history offers much to celebrate and be proud of, although the mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples remains a shameful chapter. Moreover, a tenuous relation between the federal government and Aboriginal Canadians has resulted in poor policy outcomes. Aboriginal peoples are grossly under-represented in skilled trades employment sectors and the dismal rate of unemployment for Aboriginal peoples at both the national and provincial levels far exceeds that of the non-Aboriginal population. Therefore, comprehensive policy proposals to address some of the hardships and challenges experienced by Aboriginal peoples and their respective communities are urgently needed. In this study, the Multiple Streams model presented by Professor John Kingdon is utilized as the framework to assess whether the timing is suitable for substantial policy innovation concerning Aboriginal employment and skills development to mitigate the problems they face. According to Kingdon, the convergence of multiple streams consisting of problems, politics, and policies may indicate the opening of a policy window. Such a window presents an opportunity for policy entrepreneurs to push a policy proposal that addresses a particular problem higher on the policy agenda. The application of Kingdon’s model will reveal that natural resources can provide Aboriginal peoples a ladder for economic development, and there is a precise opportunity for policy innovation to facilitate improved employment and skills training outcomes for Aboriginal peoples. Appropriate policy initiatives in this window of opportunity could well offer Aboriginal peoples a remarkable opportunity to shift their overall socio-economic status from one of destitution to prosperity. However, there is reason for ample scepticism based on the deeply-rooted mistrust of some Aboriginal communities towards resource development, particularly in light of ongoing land claims issues in Canada. While resource development may not be relevant to, or supported by, some Aboriginal communities, many would benefit significantly.
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