This year we have celebrated 150 years of Canada, its history, people and landscape. But one area that we have to improve on is reconciliation with our Indigenous population.
Workplaces are where we spend a large amount of our time, so it is important for both employees and employers to be aware that reconciliation is a really important topic to deal with.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a document with 94 calls to action that were divided into ‘Legacy’ and ‘Reconciliation’. One of the sub-categories under Reconciliation was titled ‘Business and Reconciliation’ and called on 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 document describes both individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples all around the world, not just Canada. It also offers guidance on cooperative relationships with Indigenous peoples based on ‘the principles of equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect.’
Jessica Dumas, is a past chair of the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce in Winnipeg. In an interview with CBC News said that education and discussion will break cycles of stereotypes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous workers. She said having a workplace where there is an environment for people to feel comfortable asking questions is key.
Labour unions have a long history of standing up for human rights and have taken pride in standing by Indigenous people in Canada. Unions stood beside Indigenous people in the call for a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Indigenous workers earned 8.47/hour more with a union, than without a union.
Canada is an amazing place to live and work, and together we can make sure it is for all Canadians no matter their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity.