Sask. Chamber of Commerce unveils Indigenous Engagement Charter

Businesses in Saskatchewan that want to boost their Indigenous engagement now have a new resource to help them do so. 

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce formally unveiled its Indigenous Engagement Charter at the First Nations University campus in Regina on Tuesday. 

"Businesses are going to be a little bit more inclusive, including Indigenous people in their plans when they're talking about hiring policies, recruitment policies, retention policies," Nick Crighton, director of Indigenous engagement at the chamber of commerce, said.

"We're happy to share that information with the business community." 

As per the chamber's Indigenous Engagement Charter, those who sign on will develop their own Indigenous engagement strategy, educate their workplaces on Indigenous history and culture, hire more indigenous people and implement procurement practices, actions and partnerships with Indigenous businesses.

Businesses will also reinforce relationships and support Indigenous communities through community involvement and provide clear, honest reporting of all actions taken through the Indigenous Engagement Charter program.

Bryan Eneas/CBC

The charter program lasts for three years, after which businesses have a choice to sign on for another three years or continue implementing their own Indigenous engagement strategy on their own. 

Thomas Benjoe, second vice chair of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, said the creation of the charter will help medium and small businesses who may not have the money to create their own strategy. 

"As long as we're seeing great impacts in the community and that commitment to want to do something different, perfect, let's continue maintaining that relationship and continue moving those strategies forward," Benjoe said. 

Crighton said roughly 25 businesses have already signed onto the charter. 

He noted Indigenous people are the youngest, fastest growing population in Canada and in Saskatchewan. 

"The business community has to get ready and start including Indigenous hiring policies," Crighton said. 

He said businesses who sign on will be assessed annually through the chamber.