A draft version of the guide, which was two years in the making, was unveiled recently during the CCA's fall board meeting in Fort McMurray, Alta.
"This isn't an opportunity where 'one size that fits all,'" said Chris Lorenc, a CCA board member who was also the indigenous guide project management committee co-chair. "The objective here was to provide an easy-to-read national review that is a door opener, or a pathway to success."
Lorenc, who is also president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, told members of the business and market development committee he took away five "P's" from the guide that can be applied to companies of all sizes when engaging with indigenous communities: presence, persistence, patience, partnership and profit.
The guide provides general information, guidance and insights into indigenous engagement strategies and defines engagement in several ways:
- with indigenous people — for recruitment or employment;
- with indigenous business — for partnerships, procurement or allies; and
- with indigenous communities — for investments, partnerships, etc..
If a company is considering "deeper relationships with indigenous businesses," there are several key questions to keep in mind:
- Do you and your company have the knowledge to work successfully with indigenous people, businesses and communities?
- Is your workplace ready to hire and support indigenous employees?
- Do you know who to approach in indigenous communities?
- Do you know how to approach indigenous leadership?
- What are the trends in indigenous business or employment that matter to you as a construction owner and businessperson?