The Leadership Circle for Indigenous Inclusion

Here atEnergy Connections Canada, we have more than 100 members working together to build a safer, more sustainable industry.

But sometimes, it is through our membership in other organizations that we work toward our goal of supporting excellence in safety, sustainability, quality, inclusion, and reliability across the pipeline supply chain.

Energy Connections Canada is proud to be a member of Indigenous Works, a national social enterprise organization established in 1998 with a mandate to improve the engagement of Indigenous people in the economy.

As a member of the Leadership Circle for Indigenous Inclusion, Energy Connections Canada is part of a group of corporations and organizations that are committed to advancing and supporting Indigenous workplace inclusion regionally, nationally, and internationally.

“For me personally, connecting with Indigenous Works over two years has brought increased knowledge and awareness, and significant appreciation for current and on-going issues,” said Rick Tofani, Executive Director, Energy Connections Canada. “In addition, opening the doors for an increase in partnership opportunities is critical. For Energy Connections Canada, we are now working on developing a greater understanding of the guiding principles for engagement, and diversity and inclusion issues, with the outcome being longer, stronger and more rewarding relationships.”

We asked Craig Hall, COO of Indigenous Works, how the organization supports their members in driving Indigenous inclusion. “We use models and metrics to help companies do a better job of Indigenous recruitment, and preparing their workplace so there’s stronger retention,” said Hall. “Companies are much more successful in achieving their inclusion goals when they understand how Indigenous groups work together, how they’re organized and the systems within which they work. Couple that with a deeper understanding of Indigenous people, their history, their culture and outlooks, and we’re helping set them up for success.”

Indigenous Works offers online inclusion training, advisory services, workplace inclusion diagnostics and a suite of other resources to help their members develop skills and strategies to forge effective, productive relationships with Indigenous employees, suppliers, and partners.

Indigenous Works

“We’re also looking at partnership development between Indigenous groups and businesses and mainstream institutions,” said Hall.

“With Energy Connections Canada we’ll be exploring effective practices for businesses to help them deepen their relationship with Indigenous people, work more closely with Indigenous businesses and build more mutually beneficial partnerships. We are developing some case studies to show how pipeline companies have successfully recruited employees and worked with sub-contractors and suppliers from Indigenous communities; also, how they’ve partnered with them in both corporate social responsibility activities and broader ventures.”

Hall commented that the pipeline sector has already made progress in forging stronger relationships. “What’s impressed us is their willingness to take this on and to evolve their learning and to grow ways they can work productively and collaborate with Indigenous communities. It’s helpful when groups are part of the coalition of the willing.”

Much has changed in the 23 years since Indigenous Works was founded, but there is still much that can be done to build productive, more meaningful relationships between Canadian companies and Indigenous people or businesses. Our goal is to help our members and our industry continue its progress in forging strong, mutually beneficial relationships.

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