Regina's mayor, Michael Fougere, called it a priority last summer, but he is not making much progress. The goal was to hire more Aboriginal employees, but the numbers are no better than they were about a year ago.
"It's not good enough. We have to do better and we are trying the best we can."
About 7.7 per cent of the city's workforce is Aboriginal. That represents about 130 full-time employees out of more than 1,100 workers. The city needs to more than double that number to 15.2 per cent to reach the target set out by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. That number would be representative of the Aboriginal population in Regina.
Fougere says the city is taking steps to get there, but admits progress has been slow.
"No question about that. And I think we need to have more conversations with First Nations leadership to see what we can do that is better. But we are doing the best we can. It is a complex issue of how we bring people in and have a career here."
In May of 2012, the city established the Aboriginal City Employees Group. It's made up of volunteers whose focus is to increase its role within the community working with Aboriginal groups and charitable organizations. The city is also trying to recruit more Aboriginal employees by participating at job fairs and advertising through Aboriginal Link, which has a database of 28,000 urban, rural and remote areas where 1.5 million Aboriginal people live.
There is some urgency to find workers. Within four years, 25 per cent of the city's workforce is eligible to retire. Fougere says there will be lots of opportunities.
"The city is a great place to work with a stable pension and great opportunities for advancement. And we remain very optimistic about that."
Fougere says hiring more Aboriginals is still a priority and he wants to work with the First Nations community to address it.