It is estimated that up to 75% of Indigenous people living on reserve do not hold a driver’s licence, and this number is believed to be even higher in many coastal communities. Source: Discussion paper released March 24, 2021, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).
Having a driver’s license is a crucial enabler of mobility and social connection, as it facilitates access to employment, health services, and education, particularly among Indigenous people.
On the North Island, a new, Indigenous-owned and operated school has started up with training adapted to the unique circumstances of Indigenous people. This school is modelled after the successful All Nations Driving Academy developed by Lucy Sager in Kitamaat in partnership with the Haisla First Nation and Burns Lake Development Corporation.
The new school will ensure the unique, cultural and social circumstances and perspectives of Indigenous people are incorporated into the training, allowing for freedom of movement and mobility through safe and reliable transportation options.
By increasing the number of licensed drivers, this innovative program will help achieve Indigenous employment targets on major projects, ensure Indigenous communities benefit from projects, and increase support for projects within communities’ traditional territories.