A new report, Partnerships in Procurement, released today by the Mining Shared Value venture of Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) in partnership with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), shows Canadian mining companies are starting to increase efforts to purchase more goods and services from Aboriginal communities.
The convergence of more public attention being paid to corporate behaviour in Canada’s extractive industries can play a heightened roll in economic reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada. This will address the need for government and business strategies to align, building prosperous partnerships for all Canadians. This study documents the current challenges the mining sector is facing as they aim to improve engagement and offers several recommendations for government, industry and Aboriginal community stakeholders to improve coordination, communication, and partnerships.
“Partnering with Aboriginal suppliers makes sense for many reasons in the mining industry, including capacity development, business network creation, and local employment creation,” says Anthea Darychuk, Project Manager at EWB’s Mining Shared Value initiative. “We’ve seen that Aboriginal suppliers and their employees want to work in their territory, provide services quickly with first-hand knowledge of the local area, and keep the profits from their work in the community.”
The aim of this collaborative study was to investigate the current and best practices for harnessing the potential of procurement contracts within large mining operations for Aboriginal business people and Aboriginal Economic Development Corporations (AEDCs). The study recommends the creation of a national strategy aligning federal, provincial and industry training programs, as well as for industry to make public targets and report progress on Aboriginal supplier engagement. As procurement contracts are often the first foothold in the door for Aboriginal businesses, the study’s authors recommend that industry associations such as the Mining Association of Canada include Aboriginal procurement content in their guidelines.
“The Partnerships in Procurement Report is a timely and powerful statement on how to improve the potential for working with Indigenous communities in Canada from both sides of the ledger, says JP Gladu, President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. “We have a responsibility to Aboriginal business, community and leadership to pursue necessary changes that can level business playing fields. Working with Engineers Without Borders on this exceptional report supports the importance and need for collaboration on research that not only informs but leads.”
Attention on Canadian resource company engagement with Aboriginal communities has been increasing nationally and internationally, with recent protests in Canada and the US, turning the spotlight on our own backyards. Understanding the business case for Aboriginal supplier engagement as a means to maintain reliable supply chains and acquire social license is increasingly important and modern operating reality for extractive sector companies working in Canada today.
The report released today, which covers a national study involving eight mining companies and more than 25 Aboriginal businesses, outlines how mining companies and Aboriginal suppliers and AEDCs are navigating procurement partnerships and leveraging the opportunities that arise throughout the mining cycle, including training and capacity building. The study uncovered a complex patchwork of federal and provincial training programs and initiatives targeted at Aboriginal youth and tradespeople which are failing the growing Aboriginal workforce and entrepreneurial business base.
To download the full Partnerships in Procurement report, please visit: www.miningsharedvalue.org
About Mining Shared Value
Mining Shared Value is an Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada venture that works to improve the development impacts of mining in developing regions by encouraging and helping the industry to purchase more goods and services locally. EWB is a movement of over 50,000 professional engineers, students, overseas volunteer staff, and supporters across Canada and Africa. We believe that poverty is the product of broken systems that prevent people from realizing their full potential. Beating poverty means making those systems work. EWB is working to do exactly that.
About the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
CCAB is committed to the full participation of Aboriginal people in Canada’s economy. A national non-profit, non-partisan association, CCAB offers knowledge, resources, and programs to both mainstream and Aboriginal owned companies that foster economic opportunities for Aboriginal people and businesses across Canada. www.ccab.com
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