On September 30th 2021, the very first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Randstad facilitated a History Hour: "Canadian" history from an Indigenous perspective. Formerly known as Orange Shirt Day, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation provides an opportunity for everyone to recognize the history and present-day issues of not only residential schools, but also the history of oppression put upon the Indigenous communities by colonization. 

The Indigenous Employee Resource group along with 21 volunteers took the time to walk 317 attendees through a sample of shared history. Starting in the 1400s and ending in the present day, the hour consisted of facts about “Canadian” history that are typically left untold. 

In this article, we’d like to share some of the answers to the questions that we received after the event.

indigenous worker workplace diversity equity and inclusive
indigenous worker workplace diversity equity and inclusive

how did the indigenous employee resource group prepare this event, and why didn’t we have an indigenous speaker?

Truth and reconciliation is an ever-evolving journey, hence it was important to honour the lessons we learned during last year’s Orange shirt day event with Maïtée Labrecque-Saganash, an activist and an advocate for indigenous rights. Last year she took the time to share her story with us, but also advised us that while it is important to actively seek to engage in learning conversations with Indigenous people (for example, through a roundtable on Indigenous cultures we organized in July), we also must recognize that it’s not the responsibility of Indigenous peoples to relive their trauma for the sake of our education on the tragic and painful history that continues to impact their lives, especially not on the day meant to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and their communities.

why the focus on land acknowledgements?

As we learn more and more about how the Indigenous peoples have been denied the sacred relationship with the land for centuries, recognizing that you are living and working on traditional ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples is a sign of respect for their various communities and acknowledgement of your willingness to repair the wrongdoings of the past. You can learn more on how to prepare your own land acknowledgement from this article

how do we contribute to Indigenous communities currently as an organization?

water first education & training inc.

For the past two years, the Randstad Foundation has provided financial support to the Water First Internship Program. This 15-month program supports indigenous youth to become certified water treatment plant operators. This approach ensures sustainable access to safe drinking water in Indigenous communities for the long term. In this paid internship, Indigenous youth receive over 2,000 hours of training and experience in the classroom, at local water treatment facilities, and out on the land. The program provides hands-on skills training and supports interns to obtain three provincially recognized certifications. The Internship also looks beyond technical skills, providing interns with support in areas such as resume writing, employment coaching and networking opportunities. Wrap-around supports are provided, like access to childcare services, to ensure the program works for a diverse set of participants.

IT solutions internship

In collaboration with representatives from local Indigenous friendship centres, IT solutions and Randstad’s D&I division developed an internship program specifically targeted at Indigenous communities. Through this program, we have already hired and completed an internship that has currently moved to the post-internship mentorship program phase. We are currently seeking new interns and working on expanding this internship program across the company.

canadian council for aboriginal business (CCAB)

In 2020 Randstad Canada became a member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB). CCAB fosters business relationships between Indigenous businesses, partnerships between Indigenous entrepreneurs and Canada’s institutional enterprises and awareness of Indigenous participation. Through our partnership with CCAB we will engage in their Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification process starting in 2022. 

procurement

Randstad has recently partnered with a PPE distributor that is 100% Indigenous-owned. This business is committed to supporting Indigenous peoples and communities through their supply chain as well as through community outreach. A portion of each sale is donated to the Future Leaders Scholarship Program which supports Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education in business, economics law and the trades.

what is our action plan as an organization going forward?

Despite these initiatives, we recognize that we still have a lot to do as a company and as a community. Here are the next steps we are currently working on:

  • Providing more space for Indigenous voices to share their traditions, stories, and teachings. If you would like to share your story or ideas, please reach out to diversityconsulting@randstad.ca.
  • Progressive Aboriginal Relations, or PAR, is an online management and reporting program that supports progressive improvement in Indigenous relations, and a certification program that confirms corporate performance in Indigenous relations at various levels. Randstad will be engaging in this program starting in the first half of 2022. To learn more about PAR check out their website.
  • Focusing on internal recruitment of Indigenous talent, while helping our clients do the same. Our D&I Consulting Division has developed a specific Indigenous recruitment strategy to make our organization more representative of the communities we serve. Teams across Randstad Canada will work together on the execution of this strategy, and our Internal Talent Acquisition team will learn to engage with strategic partners to build relationships with Indigenous communities. If you are interested to know more or would like Randstad to help you create a specific recruitment strategy, reach out to diversityconsulting@randstad.ca. 

Action starts with a conversation and by challenging our own practices. How do we create a safe place of respect and conversation about MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls)? What barriers are employers putting in place that are limiting opportunities for Indigenous peoples to find employment? How do we promote and encourage the 94 calls to action as employers? How can we implement more apprenticeships, internships, skills development programs for Indigenous talent? Our D&I team is always open to connecting.

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