The Aboriginal Human Resources Council says there is a partnership crisis between Indigenous communities and corporate Canada.
Council President Kelly Lendsay says this crisis is being caused by mistrust and misunderstanding and it is time to put aside our differences and start working together.
“We need to figure out how we are going to paddle this canoe in the same direction, we are all going to be going through some pretty severe rapids here and we need each other,” he says.
Lendsay is communicating this message at a national three-day conference which opened in Vancouver Tuesday morning.
He says a lot is at stake including 650 billion dollars in resource development over the next 10 years and upwards of two million jobs.
The Aboriginal Human Resource Council wants to fast forward new partnerships and workforce development models.
Lendsay adds the resource industry is currently leading the way leaving the rest of corporate Canada behind.
“If you look outside the resource sector, outside of banking, you know lots of those companies don’t even know where to start. They sort of look at the Aboriginal issue and see it as kind of noisy, kind of fragmented, it’s in the media and for the most part it is often seen as kind of negative.”
He says the basis for any partnership is trust – something that takes a long time to build and is easy to lose.
“You have got to look at the level of partnership readiness. Many of our communities are just learning how to run their school boards, to run their economy, to run their community and they are also learning to trust again.”
Lendsay says many Indigenous communities are still at least one generation away from developing the capacity to deal with industry and governments.
He hopes the Vancouver conference can help close that gap and speed up the process to build prosperous corporate and Indigenous partnerships through all sectors of the economy.