To develop resources anywhere in the world today, we must foster strong relationships, share project benefits and build capacity in Aboriginal communities. At SNC-Lavalin, we’ve developed a solid reputation and track record in helping clients engage and partner with Aboriginal communities in a fair and inclusive way. This has served to strengthen the Canadian Aboriginal business community and the economies of communities where we do projects.
In the 1990s, we became the first Canadian engineering and construction company to partner with a First Nations group to deliver the Diavik Diamond Mine Project in the Northwest Territories. Over time, we saw how these relationships add significant value for both clients and Aboriginal groups. Our growing experience has led to best practices in Aboriginal employment and procurement.
Effective dialogue, consultation and relationships with Aboriginal peoples create numerous benefits for our clients. They include:
- enhancing project sustainability (design and execution)
- facilitating the project permit and approval process
- improving project profitability
- strengthening local communities
- building client credibility and reputation as a ‘partner of choice’
Benefits to Aboriginal peoples include:
- building local capacity, opportunities and wealth
- training an Aboriginal workforce
- developing Aboriginal-owned businesses
- respecting their role as stewards of the land
Key competitive advantage
Today, our know-how in Aboriginal relations is a key competitive advantage. It has driven sharp increases in Aboriginal employment and procurement across all of our major projects.
Through dynamic partnerships and board membership with national organizations like the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, we continue to network and engage with Aboriginal leaders. We’re also increasing our knowledge of and contribution to business best practices.
Maximizing Aboriginal inclusion
In 2014, we helped our clients maximize Aboriginal inclusion on several projects, including the:
- John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project on Vancouver Island, British Columbia
- Evergreen Line rapid transit system in Vancouver, British Columbia
- Husky Oil projects in Alberta
- Eléonore Gold Project in Quebec
- Keewatinohk Switchyard Project in Manitoba
We facilitated the training and employment of hundreds of Aboriginal people on these projects. We also coordinated the procurement of millions of dollars in goods and services from local and regional Aboriginal businesses.
In 2014, our contributions to the Aboriginal community reached far and wide. They serve to advance and facilitate success in the Aboriginal business community. We sponsored regional, provincial and national Chief meetings as well as trade shows, conferences, cultural festivals and youth camps. Ongoing sponsorships included the Human Resources Council’s Indigenous Works youth career fair and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business national awards.
This support continued in early 2015 with our sponsorship of the New Relationship Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening First Nations in British Columbia through capacity building. We also supported IBM Canada’s successful IGNITE science and technology camp for Aboriginal youth, ages 8 to 14, in Alberta . In partnership with the charitable organization Mining Matters, our engineers shared their mining and metallurgy know-how with youth and other stakeholders in three First Nations communities in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.
We’ll continue to develop and market our Local Resource Development Initiative™ as we look to develop a culture of Aboriginal inclusion on all of our projects, small and large. Supporting national and regional Aboriginal organizations that actively promote Aboriginal business success will also remain a priority. So will seeking out opportunities to partner with Aboriginal companies and develop projects of mutual interest.