We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
- Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
- Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
Through our participation on the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, we’ve had the opportunity to be part of its TRC92: ‘Youth Employment’ initiative.
The initiative has built relationships with ten community organizations training Indigenous youth for jobs. It has also brought together 12 private-sector employers eager to connect with these job seekers. The employers are also meeting regularly to learn more about the important work going on in the community, what youth are looking for and the challenges they face.
It was through connections to this group of employers—called the Employer Consortium – that The Chamber was able to play a small role in another important project advancing the Calls to Action.
“We recognize and take very seriously the role we play as a local Chamber when it comes to facilitating partnerships that can help make projects like this a reality,” said Alana Cuma, executive vice president of The Winnipeg Chamber. “Bringing awareness about the TRC’s Calls to Action and the fact that everyone has a role to play in this journey toward reconciliation is a priority.”
The project evolved into a video series called Overdue Diligence and was premiered on March 13 at a panel discussion as part of The University of Manitoba’s Indigenous Awareness Month. On the panel were representatives from the Asper School of Business, the creators of the video series and a member of the Employer Consortium.
“I was fortunate to be at the panel discussion and hear how Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders in the business community can work together,” said Cuma. “It was a ‘full-circle’ moment to realize the panel represented what happens when we all become more intentional in decision making and in the act of building bridges.”
The Overdue Diligence videos can be viewed here: