Provincial chamber unveils charter for business involvement in reconciliation

In a Facebook post, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce (SCC) congratulated the first round of signatories who signed its new Indigenous Engagement Charter. (Saskatchewan Chamber/Facebook)

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce (SCC) has launched a new resource for businesses wanting to engage Indigenous people.

As the SCC’s website explains, the Indigenous Engagement Charter will provide tools the business community can use to engage the Indigenous population and assist in demonstrating the role of businesses in reconciliation.

According to a 2011 University of Saskatchewan report, bringing the Indigenous population to the same economic level as the broader population is a $90 billion opportunity.

“Indigenous engagement has been on the chamber agenda for decades,” said Steve McLellan, CEO of the SCC in a news release.

He added the charter is their “most tangible and important effort in fully engaging Indigenous people with business.”

When businesses sign on to the charter, they’re expressing various commitments. These include:

  • developing an internal Indigenous engagement strategy
  • training their workplace on Indigenous history and culture
  • enhancing human resources practices to attract and hire more Indigenous workers
  • supporting the Indigenous population through community involvement
  • providing reports of all actions undertaken in the Indigenous Engagement Charter program

The Indigenous Engagement Charter task force was created about a year ago. The release said the program has been developed over time with cultural sensitivity.

“The Indigenous population in Saskatchewan is the youngest and fastest growing population and businesses have the opportunity to begin creating inclusive hiring policies that will lead to attracting, recruiting, and retaining Indigenous people,” said Nick Crighton, the SCC’s Director of Indigenous Engagement.

“This charter is a valuable first step in this process.”

Several organizations have already signed the charter, including Nutrien, Farm Credit Canada, SaskPower, CIBC, RBC, Finning and the Worker’s Compensation Board of Saskatchewan.

The initiative launched at the First Nations University in Regina on Tuesday, but the SCC is hosting a second launch event in Saskatoon at Prairieland Park’s World Trade Centre on Wednesday.

For more information, visit www.saskchamber.com/programs/indigenous-engagement.