CFN – In the spring of 2014, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) commissioned MNP LLP to conduct a study to gain a better understanding of the size of the local economy (northern/Canadian portion of Akwesasne) and to estimate the extent to which households, businesses and MCA spend dollars outside the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory* (the “AMT”). This “Economic Leakage Study” was undertaken to support the development of strategies that promote the growth of the local economy.
The surprising results of the study indicate that the AMT businesses, households and MCA itself spend an estimated 76 percent of their income dollars outside the AMT. Across Ontario, First Nation communities are estimated to have economic “leakage” of 60-70 percent, indicating that Akwesasne spends more dollars outside the territory than the provincial average.
According to the study, Akwesasne does an estimated $140 million of economic activity annually of which $107 million leaves the AMT. $31.8 million is spent annually in the city of Cornwall and $25.4 million is spent in the nearby US region and towns.
The study also provides valuable information such as what types of spending is being done most in specific areas. The AMT spends $17.3 million off the territory annually on food and beverage. Most AMT grocery spending is done in nearby US towns according to the study ($7.3 million in US vs. $3.6 million in Cornwall). However, Akwesasne spends more dollars at Cornwall’s restaurants ($0.7 million annually) vs. in nearby US restaurants ($0.4 million annually).
The study data will be useful for planning and business development. MCA hopes that economic partnerships can rely on the study’s data to move forward with plans and mutually beneficial strategies.
“We need to find ways to work together to support the growth of the entire regional economy,” said Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell. “The study provides a solid tool for understanding Akwesasne’s economic position in the region. We all benefit from positive economic/business relationships. Our governments can work together to grow our economies, assist our business people, and stimulate the region even more through joint efforts.”
The study will be used to assist MCA in all areas of economic planning going forward. Community members and business people can use the data to understand the market and economy, which areas of business are strong and what needs there are for businesses in the area.
“We intend to use the study results in two ways,” said MCA Director of the Department of Tehotiiennawakon Jim Ransom. “We want to support and grow our local economy while setting incremental goals for reducing economic leakage such as through our “Buy Local” campaign. We also want to develop strategic partnerships with our neighbors that recognize and support Akwesasne’s efforts and grow the regional economy at the same time.”
The full study and report is posted on the MCA website at Akwesasne.ca. If you have any questions about the study, please contact Jim Ransom, Director, Department of Tehotiiennawakon, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.
*Akwesasne Mohawk Territory is defined as the northern or Canadian portion of Akwesasne only.