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WEBINAR: Indigenous Relations- Recruitment

Hosted by: ECO Canada

EP Member: Price: Free

Non-Member Price: Free

Webinar Length: 60 mins

Career Stage: All career stages


Under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples have the right to “not be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour,” and to “enjoy fully all rights established under applicable international and domestic law.” Regarding national law, the Employment Equity Act states that barriers to employment must be removed, while efforts must be made to include the Indigenous peoples in the workforce.

Understanding of Indigenous values and ways of life is important in the forming of relationships with non-Indigenous, and a starting point in this conversation. True commitment to creating an inclusive workforce goes deeper than meeting a quota. The biggest challenge from the perspective of companies/industry is the recruitment of qualified individuals.

To find qualified Indigenous persons for a position, some recommendations include creating a clear policy for Indigenous recruitment, cross-cultural training, and utilizing recruitment tools outside of those normalized in the western world.

Talking Points

Systemic barriers are prevalent, including discrimination, reflected in the high unemployment rate for First Nations individuals. Outlined as the number one barrier to Indigenous recruitment is trust. Strongly rooted in events of the past, gaining the trust of an Indigenous individual may take time. Trust is imperative to relationships and must be cultivated between recruiter and the recruited. The second biggest barrier is cultural insensitivity, manifested as ethnocentrism, stereotypes, fear, and ignorance.

Other barriers include difficulty accessing education/credentials, limited transportation, poverty affecting mental and physical health, lack of funding for proper childcare, and racism/stereotyping. Potential solutions to most of these barriers involve understanding on behalf of the employer. With acknowledgment of these potential barriers, concessions and other agreements can be made when necessary.

While it is not the primary responsibility of the recruiter to overcome these barriers, awareness of them and action can and will help. Resources for Indigenous recruitment can include Indigenous persons already in the company, online or Indigenous job fairs, and local community employment centres. Best practices for recruitment can involve voluntary self-declaration for Indigenous employees, Indigenous awareness at the level of management, partnerships with Indigenous organizations, and targeting Inuit, First Nations and Métis individuals through utilization of Indigenous media and job boards.

Further inclusion strategies can be implemented at the interview stage. These include creating a comfortable environment and showing a genuine interest in the interviewee. During the onboarding stage, a clear Indigenous relations policy, and an openness to including elders or Indigenous mentors would assist in inclusion.

The termination of a job is also an opportunity to expand inclusion, by being open to constructive feedback, an organization can learn where it has room to grow, aiding in future employee retention. These ideas can be implemented within the culture of an organization to be more inclusive to the aboriginal community. The importance of this information lies in the idea of reconciliation. Together, we are working toward a world of equal opportunity.

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This webinar is meant for businesses, governments, education and training institutions, and individuals.




ECO Canada is the steward for the Canadian environmental workforce across all industries.

From job creation and wage funding, to training and labour market research – we champion the end-to-end career of an environmental professional. Our aim is to promote and drive responsible, sustainable economic growth while also ensuring that environmental care and best practice is a priority.

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About: Brad Spence, Indigenous and Community Relations Specialist


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