72% of Canadians believe Indigenous businesses are important to the creation of sustainable economic opportunity; only one-third claim to be unaware of Indigenous businesses as part of key findings of a Sodexo Survey

Burlington, ON - A strong majority of Canadians agree Indigenous businesses have boost the Canadian economy (74%) and strengthen the country’s social fabric (76%). Sodexo’s third Indigenous Business Survey shows continued public support for Indigenous businesses and belief that this support is an important pathway to healing Canada’s relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people (72%).  

More than half of Canadians (56%) directly support Indigenous businesses by purchasing their products and services. The survey also found this direct support could be higher with increased awareness of which businesses are Indigenous, how to find them, and what products and services they provide.  

Key findings: 

  • 72% believe that thriving Indigenous businesses are important to the creation of sustainable economic opportunities for Indigenous people.  
  • 72% agree that Canadian corporations should include Indigenous-owned and operated businesses in their supplier networks whenever possible. 
  • 66% think Canadian corporations should help Indigenous entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level. 
  • 63% think robust Indigenous participation in Canada’s economy should be a higher priority for the government.  
  • 48% of those who do not support Indigenous businesses directly claim to not know where to find them; more than one-third are unaware of Indigenous businesses (37%) or what products or services they provide (35%).

This year marks Sodexo’s 21st year of Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Relations (CCAB). And this year, it is the only company to earn Gold Level, the highest level of certification. PAR certification commits businesses to develop strong, culturally supportive business relationships with Indigenous people and communities. Sodexo’s leadership in building relationships with Indigenous peoples is based on its 4R philosophy: Respect, Representation, Recognition, and Revenue Sharing.  

Sodexo Canada works directly with 32 Indigenous communities and 27 Indigenous community partners across Canada. It currently has 122 Indigenous-owned enterprises in its Canadian supply chain, which make up 22% of its business spend. The company provides a broad range of skills and management training initiatives to advance Indigenous entrepreneurs, including supporting the First Nation Executive Education (FNEE) Women and Leadership program.  

“It’s promising to see that Canadians continue to share our belief that supporting a thriving Indigenous economy, but there’s more to be done,” says Johanne R. Bélanger, CEO, Sodexo Canada. “While Sodexo will continue to reach higher, we encourage all businesses to commit to supportive relationships with Indigenous peoples and cultivate the growth of these businesses. Engaging with Indigenous suppliers through your business and purchasing Indigenous products and services directly are meaningful steps on this pathway of healing and growth.” 

Sodexo Canada’s support includes $300,000 in scholarships and in-kind donations, and over $10 million in Indigenous community support. 

In 2022, every Canadian manager completed the "Indigenous People of Canada: History, Culture and Reconciliation" training. A first-of-its-kind, field-specific workshop was also presented to frontline workers in collaboration with Reconciliation Education.  

Overall, 7% of Sodexo Canada employees and 40% of its Energy and Resources business segment employees are Indigenous, with 5% individuals in supervisory, managerial or director roles. The company’s Council for Indigenous People (CIP) has developed a network of chapters across Canada that help promote and raise awareness about Indigenous history and culture to create a more inclusive workplace.  

About Sodexo Canada 

Sodexo delivers a wide range of customized solutions, designed to optimize work and living environments. Sodexo has been providing food and facilities management services in Canada for over 40 years, with a focus on enhancing safety, work process and well-being. Sodexo is a market leader in Canada. Sodexo has been recognized as a top employer for the past seven consecutive years. Sodexo is proud to have created the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has raised over $3 million to fight hunger and donated more than one million meals to at-risk youth across Canada since 2007. Sodexo is included in the CAC 40, FTSE 4 Good and DJSI indices.


A survey of 1,517 Canadians was completed online between April 7th and April 9th, 2023 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.  

Media Contact 

Dave Bennett | Xposure PR  

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