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OTTAWA – September 5, 2019 – A new report finds Indigenous and non-Indigenous business and community leaders in Fredericton agree that real reconciliation is happening between business and Indigenous peoples.
On June 25, 2019, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce sat down with Indigenous and non-Indigenous business and community leaders in Fredericton to hear what they had to say regarding reconciliation, what it means to them, their communities and their businesses.
Their perspectives are captured in Lessons in Reconciliation: What We Heard in Fredericton – the last of three roundtables held in Western, Central and Atlantic Canada.
“What we heard in Fredericton was that the dynamics in Indigenous-business relationships are shifting. The long-held view of Indigenous-business relationships being that of non-Indigenous businesses as employers of Indigenous peoples is, quite rightly, mostly a relic of the past. A seismic shift is underway in the current and potential heft of Indigenous peoples in our society and economy,” said Susanna Cluff-Clyburne, Senior Director, Parliamentary Affairs and Indigenous Policy Lead.
“Indigenous peoples contribute billions of dollars to our economy annually and they are creating new businesses at five times the rate of non-Indigenous peoples. When combined with the fact that Indigenous peoples are the youngest, fastest growing demographic in Canada, it is imperative that they have the same opportunities to participate in our economy as others. It is the only way we will be able to compete globally,” concluded Cluff-Clyburne.
The lessons for government outlined in the report include:
- Recognizing that Indigenous peoples and businesses have the capacity to set the social, economic and political agendas.
- Getting the word out to Canadians about the economic and social heft of Indigenous peoples.
- Removing the barriers to productive relationships between Indigenous peoples and business while not creating any new obstacles.
- Recognizing that there is only one economy and including Indigenous communities/governments in the development of regulatory regimes for new economic development opportunities.
- Bringing business to the reconciliation table. There is only one economy and the day-to-day interactions between Indigenous peoples and business can be instructive to government.
- Acknowledging that there is no one path to reconciliation and that the benefits of the journey have the potential to be as important as the destination.
- Reaching out to and engaging with Indigenous peoples more often, rather than only when you must.
To see examples of how Canadian businesses are playing their part in reconciliation watch Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s videos on reconciliation and guiding conversations or Nutrien’s video on their Saskatoon Tribal Council Partnership.
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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most representative business association. Speaking with one unified voice on behalf of nearly a quarter million businesses, the Canadian Chamber’s job is to help Canadian businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions grow their business. We do this by helping them connect to each other, new opportunities, providing essential business services and influencing government policy on their behalf. For more information, visit Chamber.ca or follow us @CdnChamberofCom.
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