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Sask. Chamber of Commerce launches new charter to enhance Indigenous engagement

Saskatchewan businesses officially sign, and commit to, the Indigenous Engagement Charter on Jan. 21, 2020.
Saskatchewan businesses officially sign, and commit to, the Indigenous Engagement Charter on Jan. 21, 2020. Daniella Ponticelli / Global News

A new initiative from the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce (SCC) aims to bring Indigenous people in the province to the same economic level as the broader population.

The SCC launched its Indigenous Engagement Charter at the First Nations University in Regina on Tuesday.

“We are the youngest, fastest-growing population in Canada, and in Saskatchewan, so the business community has to get ready,” said Nick Crighton, the SCC director of Indigenous engagement.

READ MORE: Saskatoon employer handbook aims to boost Indigenous engagement

Crighton said 25 businesses have already signed on to the charter, which was developed by a task force that started in January 2019 specifically for Saskatchewan employers.

“The goal isn’t to shame, it’s to help people and assist people in this process and do it in a good way, what we were taught by our elders, what we were taught by our knowledge keepers,” he said.

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According to the Indigenous Engagement Charter website, businesses signing on commit to do the following:

  • Develop an internal Indigenous engagement strategy
  • Educate their workplace on Indigenous history and culture through training
  • Enhance HR practices to attract, hire and retain more Indigenous workers
  • Implement procurement practices, actions and partnerships
  • Reinforce relationships and support Indigenous communities through community involvement
  • Provide clear reporting of all actions undertaken in the Indigenous Engagement Charter Program

Crighton added they will tailor and measure target rates for the organizations involved, and evaluate them at the end of the year.

“(Training) is going to give us an opportunity to talk about myths and misconceptions, we’re going to talk about Indigenous history,” said Nick Crighton, Indigenous engagement director.

Any business is welcome to sign the charter, which comes with a number of online resources, for a fee.

Crighton said some of that money will be reinvested, while the rest will fund training associated with the initiative.

READ MORE: New funding brings $7.5 million for Indigenous businesses in Sask.

“This year, we’re doing over 31 Indigenous awareness training (sessions) across the province,” he said.

“That’s going to give us an opportunity to talk about myths and misconceptions, we’re going to talk about Indigenous history and share some of that knowledge with our business community.”

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The charter website also includes a directory of Indigenous suppliers for procurement opportunities.