Truth and Reconciliation
As part of our commitment to delivering a fair and just process for members to lend their voice and make recommendations for Council’s consideration, the association allows members to put forward motions at the annual AGM.
At the 2017 AGM last October, the following member motion was carried:
“MOTION 5: That Council consider:
- Establishing a Task Force in collaboration with the assembly of BC First Nations to review the recommendations contained within the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) report with the intent of determining how Engineers and Geoscientists BC can help to facilitate the recommendations within the mandate of the Act as well as within the context of the Code of Ethics; and
- Develop guidelines for members to ensure that professional conduct and professional services performed and delivered by members are consistent with the recommendations of the TRC report and/or help to facilitate the intent of the recommendations.
The Professional Practice Committee met on January 24, 2018, to discuss the issue and agreed that the motion aligns with Principle 5 in the association’s Strategic Plan: to foster inclusivity and diversity.
As a result, the committee agreed to commission a vendor to develop a report that would address the following:
- Identify which of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action relate to the association’s primary duty to serve the public interest as a progressive regulator that supports and promotes the engineering and geoscience professions; and
- Identify which action(s) would be appropriate for the association to take in response to each of the recommended Calls to Action.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC engaged Nalaine Morin—a member of the Tahltan Nation, speaker at the upcoming 2018 AGM and Conference and principal of ArrowBlade Consulting Services—to review all 94 Calls in the report “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action” and develop a report highlighting the Calls to Action that Morin believes relates to the primary duty of the association.
The five recommendations Nalaine Morin highlighted in her report are:
- We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
- Engineers and Geoscientists BC should ensure that the outreach currently provided to schools and communities on professional engineering and geoscience as a profession and a career is also provided to aboriginal schools and communities.
- We call upon the federal government to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.
- Engineers and Geoscientists BC should support the development of signage for all engineering/geoscience projects on aboriginal lands/territories which are consistent with best practices identified by the relevant First Nations.
- We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
- Engineers and Geoscientists BC should ensure the professional development programs currently offered include content dealing with intercultural competency (how to relate to the culture you are providing services to), conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
- We call upon the federal government to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, churches, Aboriginal communities, former residential school students, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried. This is to include the provision of appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children.
- Engineers and Geoscientists BC should develop professional practice guidance for the protection and preservation of all sites which are of cultural significance to First Nations Communities.
- We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.
- Engineers and Geoscientists BC should offer professional development seminars for engineering and geoscience professionals on these matters.
Read Nalaine Morin’s Full Report
On November 23, 2018, Council approved a pilot program to address the Commission's Calls to Action. The pilot program has three components:
- Establish an Indigenous Engagement Working Group to review initiatives related to the pilot program;
- Participate in an Indigenous career/community fair to promote engineering and geoscience as a career; and
- Develop a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event to educate members on Call to Action numbers 57 (Professional Development and Training for Public Servants) and 92 (Business and Reconciliation).
The CPD event will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, via webinar, and in-person in Vancouver, BC. This event focuses on how professionals can foster collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities when working on engineering and geoscience projects on Indigenous land. It will provide practical tools by assessing a hypothetical project from both a technical and First Nations' perspective, and will conclude with a panel of experts sharing their experiences.
Read the Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada’s full report: “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action”
To learn more about Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, visit their website.