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Why Reconciliation Matters

Why does Reconciliation Matter to Businesses and Organizations?

A lack of understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees, communities, and organizations in Canada has created a national climate of distrust, discomfort, and misinformation.  This lack of understanding contributes to low productivity, high employee turnover, failed business partnerships, and a growing shortage of skilled workers in the Canadian labour market.  Indigenous people are the nation’s youngest and fastest growing human resource, however, this young upwardly mobile labour force is tremendously underutilized.

Socially conscious organizations recognize that when we have equity in the workplace, and equitable access to services, all Canadians benefit.  A culturally confident organization understands how to create a healthy and inclusive workplace that can recruit and retain Indigenous employees, clients, customers, and partners.

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Increasing the cultural confidence of an organization leads to increased Indigenous employee retention and productivity, increased opportunities to build and secure Indigenous partnerships and contracts, and increased profits for business.

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Increasing the cultural confidence of an organization will address the labour market shortage in Canada and reduce the income gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people, leading to decreased costs associated with poverty.

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Increasing the cultural confidence of an organization leads to creating space for diverse and unique contributions by Indigenous people to the workplace. This could include the incorporation of traditional land knowledge, or ceremony, or consensus decision making, as examples.

Many socially conscious organizations want to Increase their cultural confidence as part of their internal and external corporate social responsibility plan.  Increasingly, organizations are looking for tools that will assist them to respectfully and consciously implement the TRC Calls to Action.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action

In December of 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released their 94 Calls to Action.  The Calls to Action urge all levels of government and business to work together to change policies and programs in a concerted effort to repair the harm caused by residential schools and to move forward with reconciliation. The Calls to Action are divided into two parts: Legacy (1 to 42) and Reconciliation (43 to 94.)  The Reconciliation Section lays out a framework to actively work towards reconciliation through professional development and cultural competency training.  This includes training plans that are culturally responsible and reflective of diverse Indigenous perspectives to educate people in the history and culture of Indigenous peoples.

Relevant Calls to Action include:

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#92 Business and Reconciliation

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#57 Professional Development and Training for Public Servants

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#59 Church Apologies and Reconciliation

In support of the TRC Calls to Action, the government of Canada committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, one based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.  This put Canada on notice that there was to be a new approach to working with Indigenous peoples in Canada, and that educating non-Indigenous people and organizations would be at the heart of this approach.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action

The 10 Principles of Relationship

In July, 2017, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, released a set of Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples. The Principles will guide the review of laws, policies and operational practices and form a foundation for transforming how the federal government partners with and supports Indigenous peoples and governments.  This lays a foundation and an expectation for all organizations to transform their approaches for working with Indigenous peoples in Canada.  Becoming culturally confident will provide for a much smoother transition for all organizations interested in building these new relationships.

The 10 Principles of Relationship