Increasing Aboriginal Canadians participation in the workforce (Web Sight)

|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/20/2004


boriginal Peoples represent one of the fastest growing populations in Canada, and yet they are still under-represented in the workforce. These sites look at challenges as well as strategies and success stories about the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal Canadians.

Tool kits for employment

The Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative is a part of the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada site. Its primary focus is enhancing awareness and improving Aboriginal participation in the workforce. There are some excellent resources, including an employer tool kit, featuring more checklists and information directed specifically at employers. Definitely worth the visit.

Connecting employers, employees

The Aboriginal Inclusion Network links Canadian employers to Aboriginal jobseekers. The two-part goal is to “improve employment prospects for Aboriginal jobseekers through a dedicated recruitment system, and to provide a means for employers who are serious about creating a diverse workforce to reach Aboriginal talent.” The site outlines benefits of membership, and provides some useful resources for employers, including a place for job postings, a searchable talent database, employer tutorials, e-resources section, and a member’s exchange board.

Programs, services

The Indian and Northern Affairs Canada site is a good place for information on employment programs and services. To the left of the screen is a drop-down box of INAC links. Select the “Employment” link, and browse the most recent progress reports under the Aboriginal Employment Program section. The progress reports are monthly and date back to 2002. There are also a number of publications and research papers available on all related topics from the “Publications and Research” button at the top of the screen.

Realistic targets

The Web site for the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission of Manitoba features a lengthy but relevant discussion paper on Aboriginal employment strategies, accessible by following the “Consultation Papers” link on the left of the screen. The paper outlines “practical steps in an effort to increase Aboriginal employment representation within the Manitoba Department of Justice and other applicable governmental agencies.” It examines the issue of employment equity and determines what realistic employment targets are. It goes on to discuss, in detail, issues and strategies for levelling the playing field. The site also features a recommended work plan and appendices to supplement the discussion paper.

Case studies in diversity

The Paths to Equal Opportunity Web site, an Ontario government site, is a great resource for all diversity and accessibility issues. Under “Gateway to Diversity,” there is a link to “Employer Experiences,” which provides detailed accounts of diversity initiatives at 10 companies. One company, construction contractors PCL, entered into an agreement with the Constance Lake First Nation, near Hearst, Ont., to provide training to 30 band members while working on the Nagagami hydroelectric project. The training allowed PCL to hire more than 40 per cent more band members than originally estimated.

After Oka

This paper, from the Department of National Defence, discusses challenges faced by the Canadian Forces with the recruitment of youth, but particularly with young Aboriginal Canadians. It raises interesting questions about what impact the Canadian Forces’ involvement in the Ipperwash and Oka disputes may still have on the way Aboriginal youth look at the Canadian Forces, especially as a potential employer. The paper also suggests that the Canadian Forces current approach to the issue (that is, to remain silent), is ineffective at best, and “should be reconsidered if the Canadian Forces hope to recruit and retain Aboriginal Peoples.”

Shannon Simson is Canadian HR Reporter’s resource editor. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section. To share an interesting HR Web site, contact

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