Supporting Indigenous Self-determination
UFCW Canada’s Indigenous-focused advocacy is supported by our member-led Indigenous Sub-committee. Having Indigenous members set the priorities for our national advocacy strategy ensures our work is culturally appropriate. Our approach to Reconciliation includes taking active measures to acknowledge and include the contributions of First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples across our local unions. In consultation with Indigenous members, UFCW Canada has developed meaningful actions that pave the way to mutual respect and understanding. Practices include land acknowledgments, Elder-officiated greetings at union events and UFCW Canada-supported activities and solidarity campaigns.
Through our enduring partnership with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, UFCW Canada supports closing the funding gap between First Nations children living on-reserve and non-Indigenous children. Inadequate funding from the federal government in all service provisions leaves First Nation children behind and contributes to the cycle of poverty devastating on-reserve communities: a true cause of national shame. UFCW Canada trains activists in effective lobbying and election campaigning to ensure elected officials understand the urgency in addressing these issues.
UFCW Canada plays host to an annual Indigenous Peoples Conference that brings together First Nation, Metis and Inuit members and allies to share knowledge, build capacity and celebrate Indigenous culture. UFCW Canada’s Indigenous Sub-committee works tirelessly to present the annual conference that embraces Indigenous ceremonies and builds off traditional knowledge. Engaging First Nation, Metis and Inuit members on the best practices to include Indigenous voices across local unions serves as the gathering’s focal point. In addition, discussions are shared on how strategic partnerships across Indigenous organizations strengthen UFCW Canada’s mandate in living up to Reconciliation.
As a part of our member-led initiatives UFCW Canada’s HRED department has been invited to First Nation communities to share practical knowledge on how union membership empowers young workers. Discussions led by First Nation members in their language ensures our outreach efforts are done in a culturally appropriate way while building important bridges with the fastest growing demographic in Canadian society.
Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls
After sustained pressure from Indigenous organizations and allies, including UFCW Canada, the federal government launched a National Inquiry into the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). The final report included 231 Calls for Justice of which closing the funding gap between Canadian and Indigenous children ranked high. UFCW Canada, together with the voices of our national partners including the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) have called for action on this issue.
UFCW Canada is taking historic strides to change the way our organization relates to First Nation, Metis and Inuit members with the aim of making our union more inclusive. Key to this mandate is developing accessible resources that our local unions can rely on to make successful strides of their own. Our groundbreaking document on collective bargaining language in support of reconciliation is a guide for local union negotiating committees to include culturally appropriate practices into union contracts. This collective bargaining resource was created in the spirit of reconciliation and seeks to include Indigenous viewpoints in the drafting of employment contracts.