Truth & Reconciliation

Engineers and Geoscientists BC is advancing five recommendations arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

Background

As part of our commitment to delivering a fair and just process for registrants to lend their voice and make recommendations for Council’s consideration, Engineers and Geoscientists BC allows registrants 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 organization’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 organization’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 organization 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 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 Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

Five Recommended Calls to Action

The five recommendations Nalaine Morin highlighted in her report are:

Education

  • 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.

Language and Culture

  • 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.

Professional Development and Training for Public Servants

  • 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.

Missing Children and Burial Information

  • 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.

Business and Reconciliation

  • 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

Outcomes

A pilot program to address the Commission's Calls to Action was developed in 2018 which included three components:

  • Formation of an Indigenous Engagement Working Group;
  • Engineers and Geoscientist BC participation at an Annual Aboriginal Career Fair to promote engineering and geoscience as a career took place at the UBC Okanagan campus in May 2019; and
  • Development of “The Value of Indigenous Engagement on Engineering and Geoscience Projects” a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event was hosted in September 2019 and is available on the online learning centre.

Continuing Education Opportunities

On-Demand Webinars

*NEW* 4 Seasons of Reconciliation – Indigenous Awareness Learning
This self-paced online course promotes a renewed relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians through transformative learning about truth and reconciliation. Each short module can be completed at the learner’s pace and provides a mix of learning tools such as slideshows, videos, films, and quizzes.

Land Acknowledgments for Engineers and Geoscientists
Explore the practice of acknowledging First Peoples and traditional land as a way to open meetings but also as part of a larger process towards reconciliation between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples in Canada, with a panel of Indigenous engineers and geoscientists.

An Introduction to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Making the Declaration Law in Canada
This webinar provides an introduction to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) that was passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007 and efforts to make the Declaration law in Canada.

The Value of Indigenous Engagement on Engineering and Geoscience Projects
This session will teach best practices for collaboration with Indigenous communities when working on engineering and geoscience projects on Indigenous land. The session will take a practical approach by assessing a hypothetical project from both the technical and First Nation's perspective, and finish with a panel of experts sharing their experiences.

Human Rights and Diversity Guideline
This webinar will cover the Human Rights and Diversity Professional Practice Guideline and provides education to Engineers and Geoscientists BC professionals regarding human rights and diversity issues that are relevant in professional practice.

Professional Practice Guidelines

Professional Practice Guidelines that have been developed relating to Truth and Reconciliation include:

Learn More

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.