Focused on advancing policies and investments that propel the economic interests of First Nations.

Our Work We drive strategic economic development for First Nations.

Consideration for First Nations economies has historically been overlooked in the development of economic policies and labour market investments. The AFN’s Economic Development Sector advocates for improved systems to propel strategic revenue expansion, helping to ensure that First Nations can freely pursue economic development with a focus on supporting sustainability in trade, resources, agriculture, and connectivity.

Initiatives & Priorities The policy areas, initiatives and committees driving change in First Nations economies.


The current Criminal Code of Canada provisions unfairly restrict First Nations from full participation in gaming unless that participation is under the authority of the provinces and territories of Canada. As a result, the majority of First Nations cannot take advantage of the revenue opportunities offered by the gaming industry. First Nations have been advocating for greater inclusion within the gaming economy, whether through increased opportunities and benefit-sharing from land-based gaming enterprises, online gaming opportunities or single sports betting opportunities.

The AFN has proposed to explore a process focused on enhancing participation of First Nations in the gaming economy, while strengthening opportunities for First Nations to exercise self-determination over the regulation of gaming.

Activities in the gaming portfolio are limited, as resources are needed to support AFN advocacy activities related to First Nations greater inclusion within the gaming economy.

First Nations Labour Market

The Assembly of First Nations advocates for approaches to human capital development centered on a government-to-government relationship that recognizes First Nations jurisdiction and authority to govern and provide services.

The Assembly of First Nation’s activity focuses on supporting dialogue to identify barriers and solutions for enhanced First Nations labour market development and participation. This has included identifying issues facing First Nations inclusion in the labour market, and supporting the creation and implementation of employment, training and skill development strategies for First Nations that align with First Nations priorities and leadership direction.

The Chiefs Committee on Human Resources Development (CCHRD) provides leadership and guidance on First Nations labour market and human resources development matters. The work is also informed by technical and policy advice from the First Nations Technical Working Group (TWG) on Human Resources Development, which is comprised of representatives of a network of First Nations Labour Market Agreement holders from across Canada.



The Assembly of First Nations, together with the support of the Chiefs Committee on Cannabis and at the direction of AFN cannabis resolutions, is seeking to work with the government for the inclusion of First Nations participation in the cannabis industry. Advocacy efforts focus on supporting capacity development including developing research and analysis for decision-making processes, economic opportunities, and development of options that align with First Nation priorities.

The Cannabis Act has legalized and created a framework to regulate the sale, distribution and taxation of cannabis for recreational use in Canada. At the direction of the Chiefs-in-Assembly, the AFN and the Chiefs Committee on Cannabis is advocating for recognition of First Nations jurisdiction within the overall administration of the Cannabis Act.

The AFN Economic Development sector work is guided by existing cannabis resolutions which call for First Nations participation in the cannabis industry with respect to First Nation jurisdiction, health and safety, tax revenue sharing, and regulation.

Documents The latest resources on this topic.

These are our latest reports, resolutions and other documents on the subject of First Nations Economies. To see more documents on this topic, and all other public AFN documents, visit the Document Library.

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