Toronto – May 31, 2016 – The month of June marks Aboriginal History Month in Canada. As part of Aboriginal History Month, Canadians from coast to coast observe the National Day of Reconciliation on June 11, which coincides with the federal government’s 2008 apology to the 180,000 Aboriginal peoples who were impacted by Canada’s residential school system. In addition, June 21 will mark the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, which celebrates the diverse cultures, traditions, heritage, and achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.
This year, UFCW Canada has worked diligently to create a public awareness campaign focused on reconciliation in the workplace and in the community. To help advance the recommendations put forward in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, we have created a reconciliation online toolkit entitled, “Reconciliation: We are all part of the solution.” It explains the concept of reconciliation based on the history of our colonial past and the degradation faced by indigenous peoples in Canada ever since. The toolkit also provides guiding principles for creating meaningful reconciliation in the workplace going forward.
Last year, our union launched the Reconciliation in the Workplace poster for Aboriginal History Month. This year, we will be publishing articles that analyze the four pillars of reconciliation (Truth-Telling, Acknowledging, Restoring, and Relating) on the UFCW Canada website over the next four weeks. The pillars are applicable to a workplace context and are derived from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s model for reconciliation in child welfare, as well as their Touchstones of Hope initiative. The articles will also provide important examples of reconciliation in action.
By applying the principles of reconciliation in the workplace, we can ensure that our workplaces are inclusive environments free of prejudice and discrimination. To find out more about UFCW Canada’s work on indigenous rights, visit the UFCW Canada Aboriginal Issues webpage.
Together, we can make a difference by working to reconcile our differences, better understand each other, and building a more hopeful and inclusive future for everyone.
Paul R. Meinema