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Employer Handbook launched to improve Indigenous Engagement

For immediate release: August 27, 2019 - 1:00pm

Today, the City, along with more than a dozen community partners made up of First Nation, Métis and non-Indigenous employers, employment, education and training institutions, business associations and community organizations, launched the Indigenous Engagement Employer Handbook. A resource for small and medium sized businesses, the Handbook aims to provide guidance and practical options for employers seeking to improve their Indigenous workforce recruitment and retention outcomes.

“Indigenous people are the fastest growing labour resource in our province. It only makes sense that we make the effort to engage in a meaningful way to ensure that we connect opportunities with Indigenous communities and people,” says Lisa Mooney, Nutrien Global Lead, Sustainability and Strategic Inclusion. “Nutrien has led the way in Indigenous engagement by going a step further in offering the Aboriginal Content Playbook. Tools like this, and the Indigenous Engagement Handbook offer resources and connections that remove barriers and support the successful outcomes of these valuable connections.”

The result of a series of workshops and consultations held in early 2019, the Handbook will serve as a valuable tool for companies looking to foster resiliency, enhance competitiveness and become an employer of choice for Saskatchewan’s Indigenous workforce.

“Businesses are at different stages in their Indigenous engagement process and will need distinct strategies and capacities to reach their goals,” says Gilles Dorval, Director of Indigenous Initiatives, City of Saskatoon. “While not every suggestion in this handbook will be relevant for every organization, we hope that many of the suggestions will resonate with most employers.”

“SREDA’s goal is to promote effective Indigenous economic development strategies to encourage and support economic inclusion and growth in the Saskatoon Region,” added Alex Fallon, CEO of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority. “This handbook will serve as an important tool to help employers better engage with Indigenous employees and partners, to the benefit of the entire community.”

As new ideas and technologies change the way people do business, Indigenous people are connecting with these changes and looking for opportunities to participate and lead.

“Starting with Affinity was a life-changing, amazing experience. They helped me try to find what I needed to do. I went in there with no experience, I didn’t even know what type of behaviour I needed to get through. The HR Advisor at the time asked, ‘what types of resources do you need to help you’,” says Chantel Buffalo, Affinity Credit Union. “She was open and honest with me and talked with me lots. It was very helpful to have a support system to get me through training.”

The Handbook is made possible through the support of community investors Nutrien, Affinity Credit Union and the Saskatoon Community Foundation. For more information and to download a digital copy of the Indigenous Engagement Employer Handbook, visit

The Indigenous Engagement Employer Handbook responds to Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action #92 calling on the corporate sector to engage in meaningful consultation and develop respectful relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses as well as provide equitable access to jobs, training and educational opportunities to Indigenous peoples.

The City of Saskatoon’s commitment to the TRC’s Calls to Action supports the City’s Corporate Strategic Goal of Quality of Life by identifying actions for supporting a diverse, resilient, and growing economy and enhancing well-being and participation of Indigenous peoples in our community.