Canada is home to an Indigenous population of 1.4 million. Their quality of life, when compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts, is impacted by factors that many of us can’t imagine.
Only about 40 percent of Indigenous adults in Canada have graduated high school. Many Indigenous adults experience poor health. Beyond this, many Indigenous people face discrimination, poverty, and poor living conditions on reserves.
As it relates to the workforce, close to 40 percent are unemployed. Those that are employed have a significantly lower income than non-Indigenous workers. CBC News reported last year that there is a $27 billion labor pool of Indigenous workers waiting to be tapped.
If we’re going to improve the lives of our Indigenous peoples, it’s incumbent upon Canadian organizations to invest in Indigenous communities and hire Indigenous people. It is Sodexo’s policy, as well as part of our strategic development plan, to contribute to the social and economic development of the communities where we operate. This includes in areas populated by Indigenous peoples.
Sodexo’s relationships with our Indigenous partners and communities are directly tied to our goal of becoming an employer of choice, as well as a partner of choice for our clients. Our Engineering & Construction Projects (ECP) business has deep, longstanding partnerships with Indigenous groups and communities with whom we collaborate very closely.
On our remote Canadian sites, the majority of ECP client projects (Oil & Gas, Mining and Hydro sectors) operate on lands owned by First Nations and Inuit. Our clients operating projects on these lands work with our Indigenous partners to provide business opportunities for people in their communities. Sodexo partners with the community to manage ECP client camps, services, facilities and grounds; employing, training and developing community members to provide Quality of Life services.
As a Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Gold certified company since 2001, our relationships with our partners and their communities have been critical to our ongoing service delivery success. Partnering with over 30 Indigenous communities Canada-wide, Sodexo maintains greater than 50 percent Indigenous employment rates at accounts where we have an Indigenous partner. We are committed to supporting the development of Indigenous communities and their cultures through policies and strategies of employment, training, and mentoring. Sodexo actively shares business experience and technical expertise with our Indigenous partners, and our investment in local talent acquisition and development contributes to building strong and sustainable communities with a positive legacy.
Sodexo Canada has been committed to Indigenous relations for more than 30 years and we are proud of our PAR Gold Level certification. We help provide a voice for Indigenous communities in the Canadian marketplace and around the globe.
What strategies do you think are impactful to help improve the quality of life for Canada’s Indigenous population?