(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, BC) The First Nations Technology Council has launched a new project to advance reconciliation by decolonizing corporate systems and transforming the innovation, technology, and technology-enabled sectors both provincially and nationally.
“The Moving Beyond Inclusion: Partnerships and Reconciliation Project began in 2021 as a pilot program with five available partnership opportunities. SAP Canada was the first organization to sign on, with Pagefreezer, Microsoft, and Bench Accounting following shortly thereafter,” said Lauren Kelly, Director, Sector Transformation at the First Nations Technology Council. “We’ve seen that a lot of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work does not have enough emphasis on cultural safety and systems change to make a tangible impact. As a result, we saw a need to do more than focus on inclusion and design actions grounded in reconciliation with an Indigenous lens. That’s how Moving Beyond Inclusion was born.”
“The work we’re doing is advancing reconciliation by creating corporate cultures and environments that make space for Indigenous worldviews, culture, and thought leadership. We are doing this work in service of Indigenous peoples to increase influence, leadership, and self-determination in the digital age so we can design what our digital future looks like for ourselves,” said Denise Williams, Technology Council CEO. “In the process, we’re tackling racism, and exclusion in the tech sector head-on, both on a provincial and national scale. The ripple effects of this will likely be seen and felt internationally. We’re disrupting the status quo.”
The Technology Council, along with partners Chastity Davis-Alphonse, Shelley Joseph, and Reciprocal Consulting, supports program participants in developing a strategic and coordinated, actions-based approach to identifying and addressing barriers that prevent Indigenous persons from accessing employment, having a positive experience, and thriving within the respective company. Both participants and the Technology Council are aligned in their vision of increasing opportunities and leadership for Indigenous peoples in the technology and innovation sectors, developing a deeper understanding of race bias in these sectors, and creating tangible responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions while advancing meaningful reconciliation in a demonstrable way.
“Diverse perspectives fuel innovation,” said Cindy Fagen, Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada. “We joined the Moving Beyond Inclusion partnership with the First Nations Technology Council in acknowledgement of our responsibility to make reconciliation a focused pillar of our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Over the past few months, FNTC has guided us in examining our internal structures, policies and processes, and how they might be optimized for full inclusion of Indigenous people in our organization. We are excited to move from insights to action as we continue this journey alongside a community of technology industry peers.”
“While Pagefreezer has been driven by the values of inclusion, diversity, and equal opportunity since its inception, we realize that there’s more work to be done. We need to better educate ourselves, and carefully listen to Indigenous community leaders to learn what we can do to ensure equity in the workplace,” says Kaitlin Graves, Pagefreezer’s VP of People. “We also believe that we can play a part in the larger movement. With the First Nations Technology Council Moving Beyond Inclusion project, we saw an opportunity to illustrate for the BC Tech community how smaller start-ups can take meaningful steps towards reconciliation. It’s our goal to foster an equitable and inclusive work environment in which Indigenous people are well-represented, succeed professionally, and feel at home.”
“We recognize that workplace culture is built by the actions of the people within it and see this program as a tremendous opportunity for our teams to learn and engage in reconciliation,” explains David Seymour, Engineering Site Leader for Microsoft Vancouver. “We see the Moving Beyond Inclusion partnership as an important way to move forward in our journey to honour, share, celebrate and integrate Indigenous peoples, traditions and worldviews.”
“Bench is committed to the ongoing work of becoming an anti-racist and anti-oppressive company. And in the same breath, taking responsibility for the part we must play in the work of reconciliation and decolonization can feel daunting. We have so much gratitude and respect for the work and generosity of the First Nations Technology Council and the Moving Beyond Inclusion: Partnerships and Reconciliation Project. The Technology Council’s strategic and wise guidance are invaluable to us in these early days of what we know is a long journey ahead of us—one we are unwaveringly committed to.” —Ian Crosby, CEO of Bench Accounting
For more information on Moving Beyond Inclusion, please visit our website: technologycouncil.ca/MBI
Director, Communications and Engagement
First Nations Technology Council