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New Research Reveals Partnership Gaps Between Corporate Canada And Indigenous Communities

Challenge represents opportunity: Stephen Lindley, SNC-Lavalin

A new report reveals an alarming finding: 85 percent of Canadian businesses are in no way engaged with Indigenous communities. Researchers from Malatest surveyed more than 500 Canadian medium and large businesses over six months in 2017. They looked at the systems they have in place to forge partnerships and build long-term relations with Indigenous groups. The average score in the Index score created from the survey data was only 13/100.

While some partnership successes have been realized in the resource sector, in other areas of the economy there is virtually no interaction between businesses and Indigenous organizations.

Four profiles emerged from the research. The disengaged majority (85% of corporate Canada) are passive and unaware of Indigenous partnership value. Engagement novices (9%) believe that engagement will help grow their businesses, but they lack the skills and competencies to take the next steps. Relationship builders (4%) and committed partnership builders (only 2%) are motivated by access to Indigenous labour markets, business and community development and creating long-term, ongoing relationships.

"Partnerships need to be developed and awareness needs to increase. Only one in four companies are aware of the 2016 Truth and Reconciliation Commission call to action to businesses," says Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of Indigenous Works.

"This challenge also represents an opportunity for both corporate and Indigenous leaders," says Stephen Lindley, Vice president, Aboriginal & Northern Affairs, SNC-Lavalin Inc., and  Co-Chair of Indigenous Works. "Nearly 70 per cent of the 'disengaged majority' say they need at least one form of support to move forward with specific guidance needed from Indigenous communities and engaged businesses."

Brent Bergeron, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Goldcorp Inc. chaired the research project's national advisory committee. Businesses in other sectors can learn a lot about the partnerships which have been successfully developed with Indigenous communities.

"Over the years companies in the resource sector have developed new standards and innovations in their engagement practices," Bergeron says. "While we are still a long way from achieving full partnerships with Indigenous communities, there are lessons and knowledge which businesses in other sectors can benefit from."

"Canada must work together toward reconciliation", says Baxter. "Corporate partnerships for employment, business and social development is one way we will achieve this."

To obtain the summary report, click on this link: "Researching Indigenous Partnerships: An Assessment of Corporate-Indigenous Relations".

Source: Indigenous Works

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