Truth and Reconciliation in Tech

September 27, 2021

Truth and Reconciliation in Tech

September 30, 2021 marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day, which coincides with Orange Shirt Day, has been created to give everyone an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of Canadian residential schools, where more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forced to attend between the 1870s and 1997.

Many institutions and organizations will be closed for the day and in some provinces, kids will be off school but what does this day mean for Canadian tech companies?

What could it mean?

It could mean a lot. It could mean hundreds of thousands of people working in our sector gain a deeper understanding of the painful legacy and impacts of the residential school system. It could spur thousands of people to make their organizations more diverse and inclusive and help indigenous peoples access more employment opportunities in the sector.

The federal government established the new federal holiday in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #79-83 but it’s Call to Action #92 that’s for us, corporate Canada.

Truth & Reconciliation Commission: Call to Action # 92

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. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:

i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.

ii. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.

iii. Provide education for management and staff 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.

This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for our tech sector to participate in reconciliation and build a better future for everyone in our communities.

We are in a position to provide opportunities for our teams (and ourselves!) to learn about Canada’s history of colonization, treaties and residential schools and learn about current realities of indigenous peoples living in Canada - realities like systemic racism, intergenerational trauma, and a lack of clean drinking water. Many of our companies are in a position to provide training and employment opportunities to indigenous peoples.

How do we want our sector to look going forward? And what are we going to do about that?

Several organizations are providing virtual learning events this week. These virtual events can be shared with your teams and viewed together.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting an incredible line-up of daily webinars and recorded videos all week, starting today.

Details here:

On September 30th the First Nations Technology Council is hosting a live online industry-focused learning event with Chastity Davis-Alphonse and Shelley Joseph - Canadian History Through an Indigenous Lens. This will be an extremely powerful 2-hour learning experience.

Details here:

We encourage tech sector leaders to join us in in listening, learning and taking action to indigenize our sector.

If we all take actions this week towards reconciliation, it could mean a lot.


Read the Full TRC Report here:

Visit TAP Network's Diversity & Inclusion Resource HUB for additional resources to support the indigenization of your organization.