Sask. Chamber of Commerce launches Indigenous Engagement Charter

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce (SCC) is looking for ways to increase engagement between the province’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses.

For the last few years, an engagement project has been in the works by the SCC, and it was announced at a ceremony on Tuesday at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina.

Members of the chamber, dignitaries and guests from the business community witnessed the launch of the Indigenous Engagement Charter. The charter will help bring Saskatchewan’s Indigenous population to the same economic level as the broader population with engagement from businesses and Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities.

Steve McLellan, CEO of the SCC, said there are a number of ways this will benefit Indigenous businesses in Saskatchewan.

“It will give them a platform. We have a directory of Indigenous businesses that will be more accessible to the business community more broadly,” explained McLellan.

“It will also connect them through our events and activities, so they know what projects, programs, expansions of businesses are available so they can offer their services and products.”

“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 SCC director of Indigenous engagement Nick Crighton in a release.

There are six actions companies are committing to once when they become signatories:

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

In return, signatories are provided with the following resources to accomplish their strategies:

  • Directory of Indigenous-owned businesses to facilitate procurement and partnerships;
  • Hiring resources – skilled worker directories, hiring best practices;
  • Training opportunities – list of trainers and online tools to train staff;
  • Assistance with Indigenous strategy – including sample elements, key performance indicators; and
  • Measurement –provide easy to use online tracking tools to confirm the businesses commitment to the charter program and to measure its success and progress against its peers.

“By people signing on, they have made a mental, physical and in some cases a financial commitment to make Indigenous engagement a bigger part of their DNA,” added McLellan.

“It’s no longer just a part of someone’s job, it’s a part of the company’s DNA.”

A launch is taking place at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon Wednesday morning. 25 companies have signed on with the charter including Nutrien, SaskPower and Farm Credit Canada.

View the details of the charter here.

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