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Calgary Chamber releases report on Aboriginal-business connections following fall workshop series


October 7, 2013

CALGARY – The Calgary Chamber has released a  follow up report to the Aboriginal-Business Connection Series 2 workshops (ABC2) titled Building and Sustaining Successful Partnerships.

“This report is the result of a strong working relationship between the Calgary Chamber, Aboriginal groups and our members in the business community,” says Chamber president and CEO Adam Legge. “These findings are a blueprint of critical recommendations for how business can work with Aboriginal communities can work together and develop mutually beneficial relationships.”

Based on the ABC2 series and the report’s findings, the following key areas of learning were outlined:

  • First Nation consultation

This obligation does not solely stem from an organization’s legal obligation to consult, but also from a desire to ensure that the Aboriginal partners are being meaningfully engaged and valued as strategic partners instead of being mere observers.

  • Capacity building and economic development

The non-Aboriginal private sector has shown that it is ready to work with Aboriginal businesses and communities to advance development for its long-range interests. These initiatives are necessary for Aboriginal communities to fully participate in the economy.

  • Structuring partnerships

Major energy infrastructure projects are waiting to be approved and partnerships can help by allowing Aboriginal communities to share in both the wealth and the risk associated with the projects.

  • Industry collaborations

The unique situations that companies face when working with Aboriginal populations are much too complex to deal with without support from others in the sector. Companies within the sector face the similar corporate social responsibility and environmental challenges, it is important that they tackle these issues together.

  • Hiring and working with the urban Aboriginal population

With the provincial economy growing while the global economy recovers from the downturn, there is a critical need for labour.  As the majority of Canada’s Aboriginal population reside off-reserve, Canada and Alberta’s urban Aboriginal population is an untapped source of expertise and knowledge for potential Aboriginal-business partnerships.

The entire report can be found online at  The Chamber has also launched an online companion “toolkit” for businesses and can also be found on the our website.

This report seeks to promote a greater understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities in developing partnerships as well as assisting businesses, Aboriginal communities, governments and other relevant stakeholders in improving their approaches to facilitating and developing Aboriginal-business economic investment partnerships.

The findings show that small and medium sized organizations represent the strongest potential to expand their operations and increase business and employment opportunities both on and off-reserve. The key is to raise awareness of the issues, share knowledge of best practices, and equip businesses with the tools to successfully partner with Aboriginal communities to seize economic opportunities.

In 1980, the Calgary Chamber was the first in Canada to create an Aboriginal policy committee.  In 2007, the Chamber launched the Aboriginal Workforce initiative in response to Chamber members identifying labour shortages as a top priority. In 2011 the Chamber continued this work, establishing the Aboriginal-Business connection series as the hub of emerging solutions and ideas to strengthen these connections. These initiatives have been highly successful, generating partnerships and solutions to improve economic and labour market outcomes.

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For more information contact Scott Crockatt at 403-681-5529 or

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