Committee moving ahead with Indigenous relations training

·2 min read

Timmins' Indigenous Advisory Committee is moving ahead with taking Indigenous relations training.

At the virtual committee meeting Wednesday, members voted in favour of taking training offered by Bob Joseph, the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act and the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

The committee’s interim chair Kristin Murray said it’s more of a self-guided training that can be entered in groups of up to 30 people and that can be completed at an individual pace.

The previously suggested training, The San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Training Program, was off the table because some elements of the training weren’t always offered, Murray said.

“Not all of our staff could jump on board and get that training at once, which was the downside,” said Murray.

During the committee’s last meeting in December, members agreed to take a training program before deciding whether they want to recommend the training for city employees.

“There’s racism in the city. Even before we do all this training ourselves, we have to try get out there and try to educate the public,” committee member Irene Camillo said during Wednesday’s meeting.

Stacey Vincent Cress of Waubetek Business Development Corporation, who attended the meeting as a guest, said taking online training shouldn’t be “a tick box exercise”.

“Something is better than nothing," he said. "However, if we’re going to have some Indigenous awareness and competency training … if you’re going to train 500 members of the community plus the committee, plus the general population, you need to be able to sit and speak with some people on some of the issues that you can’t get from a computer program.”

Murray noted the discussions about taking the training have been going on for two years, and there has also been a discussion about taking localized training.

“But that’s going to take time. By the time we put these things together, it will be years, it will be after our term as a committee,” she said. “Some of these training opportunities are not click-through, you have to be able to engage.”

If approved by council, this will be the first cultural awareness training for city employees since the Ontario Human Rights Commission's visit to Timmins in 2018.

Murray said the hope would be to have the members complete the training by the next committee meeting in March.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,