The National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB) welcomes the Government of Canada’s commitment to renew the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples and to move forward on a path of reconciliation based on recognition of rights, respect, and partnership by implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada directly addresses a dark period in Canada’s history and offers a path by which all Canadians can begin the process of healing from the devastating legacy of the residential schools and racial discrimination. Despite the difficult legacy it describes, the TRC report is nonetheless aspirational, stating: “Reconciliation must inspire Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share.”
It is this spirit of transformation and aspiration that the NIEDB wishes to foster and build upon by emphasizing the importance of Indigenous economic participation to progress on reconciliation. We have a vision of vibrant Indigenous economies, characterized by economic self-sufficiency and socio-economic equality with the rest of Canada. We want to pursue this vision, through a relationship of mutual respect, by working together with the Government of Canada to enjoy the same social and economic outcomes as the rest of Canada.
Achieving true reconciliation will be the work of generations, but we can begin immediately through actions that will have a benefit for Indigenous communities in the short term. The TRC outlines an approach to economic equality in Recommendation #92. We urge the Government to work with corporate Canada to implement this recommendation, and to facilitate success by removing barriers to Indigenous economic development, ensuring access to capital, and improving Indigenous social outcomes.
We call upon 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 would include, but not be limited to, the following:
i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects;
ii. Ensure that Indigenous peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Indigenous communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects;
iii. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
Specifically, the NIEDB recommends that the Prime Minister of Canada direct his Ministers to develop reconciliation action plans that would create tangible and measureable goals for moving forward on a path of reconciliation within all parts of the federal government; and this progress should be publicly reported annually. Furthermore, the NIEDB is of the view that all levels of government and corporate Canada should demonstrate leadership and recognize their role in reconciliation by adopting reconciliation action plans relevant to their mandates and actively contribute to the reconciliation process that will lead all Canadians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, to a place of national well-being and shared prosperity.
To learn more . . .