During my six years serving as the President & CEO of CCAB, I have encountered many people across Canada who are in full support of Economic Reconciliation – they just haven’t put a label on it yet. There is no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming majority of the Canadian public wants to see it in some form or another, yet its true meaning remains unclear to some; hence the reason for this blog post. Allow me to explain the foundations of economic reconciliation in five brief points.
#1. Truly, the first step towards Economic Reconciliation is recognition. Recognizing our country’s past and the injustices that occurred (which are unpleasant to discuss or acknowledge), is vital for someone to really understand what economic reconciliation is.
#2. Opportunity is another pillar in our quest for Economic Reconciliation. This is why CCAB remains focused on increasing Aboriginal Business involvement throughout supply chains across Canada. There are over 40,000 Aboriginal Businesses in Canada, and our entrepreneurs are hungry for the chance to succeed in Canada’s economy. Procurement has been targeted as a clear path towards increased participation and cooperation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses.
#3. Acknowledging and understanding the difference between a hand-up and a hand-out is important. We are not asking for an endless stream of money from the government, nor are we asking for preferential treatment from corporate Canada. What we want to achieve is equality; a chance for Aboriginal Businesses to operate and manoeuvre on the same level as the rest of corporate Canada. And given geographical differences, our shared history, infrastructure, human capital, and other factors, this fair chance which we seek comes with a responsibility to include these factors in the designing and decision-making process as we move forward. To ignore these factors is a symptom of our past failures as a country to progress.
#4. On the other side of the spectrum, it is likewise important for CCAB and Aboriginal Businesses to acknowledge the instances where corporate Canada is succeeding in facilitating economic reconciliation. We must give credit where credit is due, and I am extremely encouraged by the recent outpouring of support, especially for our Procurement Champions initiative, in which we have already secured 34 Procurement Champions for our Aboriginal Marketplace.
#5. Creating and fostering an Aboriginal Procurement Marketplace is another key step towards Economic Reconciliation, which is why CCAB has partnered with tealbook in order to develop and maintain an online procurement marketplace for Aboriginal Businesses to utilize when on the hunt for contracts. This marketplace should be operational by Fall 2019, and the CCAB is excited for what the future holds.
I hope these points give you a foundation as to what we are talking about when we speak of Economic Reconciliation. Now is the time for Canada to move forward, and we hope you can join us at Forward Summit where we will be discussing these, and many other important issues surrounding the future of our country.
Economic Reconciliation will be achieved when our Indigenous people and Communities are no longer managing poverty but are managing wealth.