Canadian HR Reporter

October 2019 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER OCTOBER 2019 2 NEWS No laughing matter A support person can provide much-needed comfort during a layoff Violence in the health-care sector Ontario guide aims to help employers, supervisors and workers Sign here – or just say 'yes' A settlement agreement can be valid even if the paperwork's not signed Learning agility key to human leadership in the new world of work It's important to consider evidence-based practices and ask how we can make sure people are building the skills 2019 Canadian HR Awards winners announced Jazz Aviation, IBM, Best Buy, Queen's among 25 winners Rapid rise of co-working providing needed space as big cities feel crunch 'In the last 20 years, the average square feet per employee that's needed has been shrinking' Federal response to 'gig' workers hindered by unreliable data: government 'is is the hollowing out of the high-skill, high-wage class,' says economist Confusion trips up labour reform rollout Government still figuring out who will be exempt from provisions as law takes effect Ontario's immigration strategy needs to change: report Supplementary labour helps as wave of retirements increases BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS VIDEO BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS VIDEO Recent videos, stories and blogs posted on Check the website daily for updates from Canada and around the world. Reconciliation efforts about day-to-day interactions: report But employers struggle without standardized processes, say experts BY MARCEL VANDER WIER THE PATH to reconciliation in Canada lies not in pomp and circumstance but rather in more minute, day-to-day interactions within the business community, according to a series of reports by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. And recognizing reconciliation as an opportunity rather than an obligation is mission-critical for success, says Susanna Cluff-Cly- burne, senior director and Indig- enous policy lead at the chamber in Ottawa. "ere needs to be a recogni- tion of this as a tremendous op- portunity," she says. "We've got this homegrown, young, fast- growing workforce — potential workforce — in a country that has labour shortages." The chamber hosted three roundtable events to capture the perspectives of business, commu- nity and post-secondary educators on reconciliation. Sessions were held in Saskatoon, Sask., under Bay, Ont. and Fredericton, and led to three separate reports. Government action needed Even as the federal government pushes a large-scale reconciliation process, it is businesses that are truly driving practical change, says Cluff-Clyburne, who has spent the last decade studying business- Indigenous relationships. "Businesses that deal on a day- to-day basis with Indigenous communities are further ahead than government in recognizing the capacity that exists within In- digenous communities," she says. "Business-Indigenous relation- ships are much further ahead than those between Indigenous peoples and the Crown." At issue is a lack of practical di- rection coming from the federal government, says Jamie Saulnier, president of Working Warriors and Running Deer Resources in Winnipeg. "Ottawa is pushing reconcilia- tion to employers in Canada and saying that 'is is part of our cor- porate social responsibility to do this,'" he says. "But companies are on their own, trying to sort this out. A lot of companies struggle. Some- body has to take responsibility for this." At present, it is difficult to iden- tify the group responsible for rec- onciliation efforts as the respon- sibility is continuously pushed down the chain of command, says Saulnier. e lack of direction or man- date from the government is a main reason why the reconcili- ation journey isn't farther along, he says. e government needs to turn its future efforts to drumming up a standardized process where em- ployers begin to engage with the First Nations, says Saulnier, who is also a member of the leadership council for Workforce Forward, an Indigenous-focused employ- ment conference set to happen in Calgary this month. Further focus should be given to working with Indigenous peo- ples to understand their available workforce and any potential barri- ers they are facing, such as lack of education or training opportuni- ties, he says. "It's great that our country is pushing reconciliation," says Saulnier. "But it's almost premature right now, because you're not providing the tools to both employers and the nations to be able to do it. "Because you're not doing that, you're getting a lot of frustration. Employers are frustrated because of various reasons and the nations are frustrated because their mem- bers aren't getting jobs," he says. "It's a very, very messy situa- tion. And somebody has to take responsibility for this." If the government fails to cre- ate a standardized process, a large majority of employers will not en- gage in the reconciliation process unless they truly need to find em- ployees, says Saulnier. "e responsibility, I feel, has to fall to somebody to pave that path for us." A standardization of Indig- enous engagement processes is also necessary to assist employ- ers with this recruitment, says Saulnier. "ese are the conversations that I'm having from coast to coast with employers — every- body is struggling to find a work- force in Canada," he says. "So, now, they're turning to the Indigenous population to see if there [are] people that can be utilized in their operations." The recruitment of Indige- nous people in an urban setting is somewhat easy, but when you [are] trying to get out into com- munities, it's a difficult and often costly process." Strong relationships needed Last month, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) unveiled a Business Rec- onciliation in Canada Guidebook in partnership with the federal government to begin fostering respectful economic partner- ships, according to JP Gladu, president and CEO of the CCAB in Toronto. Business associations across the country understand that the importance of the Indigenous economy is "paramount," as the growth and scale of this sector has been remarkable in recent years, he says. e Truth and Reconciliation Commission emphasizes that the responsibility to improve relationships between non-In- digenous and Indigenous com- munities rests on all Canadians, says Gladu. More specifically, call to ac- tion 92 states: "We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Dec- laration on the Rights of Indig- enous Peoples as a reconcilia- tion framework and to apply its principles, norms and standards to corporate policy and core op- erational activities involving In- digenous peoples and their lands and resources." The success of the national economy will increasingly re- quire strong relationships with Indigenous peoples, and business leaders need to take the time to understand the issues at hand, he says. "If you don't understand us, how are you going to work with us?" says Gladu. "Racism is still alive and well in this country. A lot of Indigenous people don't self-identify in the workforce, because they're afraid of reprisal against them to ad- vance their careers or being let go." "is is a fear of Indigenous people," he says. "So, we're still very much at the front end of try- ing to change up the way that we actually perceive and work with Indigenous businesses and em- ploy Indigenous people." e CCAB also offers a Pro- gressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification program and has trained 250 companies on improved Indigenous relations, he says. Varying degrees of success by sector e success of economic recon- ciliation efforts varies sector by sector, according to Gladu. "Generally speaking, if you blanket Canada as a whole, we're at the very beginning," he says. "Canada's just waking up to this idea that there's an Indig- enous population that has been mistreated for 150-plus years and [is] living in poverty… But there's also many communities that are doing exceptionally well in devel- oping their economy." Still, it is important that the country isn't painted with one broad stroke, as many employers are successfully engaging with Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs, says Gladu. Efforts by the federal Liberal government and late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie have pushed the conversation forward, as have three decades of effort from the natural resources sector, he says. "ey've stumbled along the way, but they are certainly more advanced in their understanding and practices than all other sec- tors, quite frankly." For full reconciliation, Indig- enous people need to be given a corporate voice and achieve eco- nomic independence, says Gladu. "ere needs to be more Indig- enous people represented at the corporate level." Residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors and Indigenous support workers at the IRSS Legacy Celebration in Toronto in 2017. Credit: By Susan G. Enberg (Shutterstock)

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