Economic Reconciliation Initiative
According to the OCC’s 2023 Ontario Economic Report, advancing economic reconciliation is a growing priority for Ontario businesses. However, many require guidance on where to start or how to do so meaningfully, with different businesses at different stages of their reconciliation journey.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) to help Ontario businesses advance reconciliation, build mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous Peoples, and support stronger Indigenous economic outcomes. Read the release.
Through this work, the OCC will develop a series of practical resources to contextualize the role of businesses in advancing reconciliation, promote existing resources, and showcase best practices in Indigenous partnership building across Ontario. This work is being guided by an Indigenous Advisory Committee and will include engagement with Indigenous leaders, as well as CCAB and OCC members.
The OCC recognizes that reconciliation is an ongoing process of learning and action and looks forward to continuing to build on this initiative in the future.
Indigenous Advisory Committee Members
- Chelsea Combot, Director of Policy and Government Relations, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
- Kevin Eshkawkogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Tourism Ontario
- Sarabeth Holden, Owner, Red Tape Brewery
- Christopher Lefebvre, Principal, Bawaadan Consulting Inc.
- Tracy Primeau, Founder and Principal, Agile Bear Consulting
- Jason Rasevych, Partner, National Indigenous Client Services Lead, Deloitte
- Britney Sault, Relationship Manager, Indigenous Trust Services, CIBC
- Sean Vanderklis, Director, Business Development, Indigenous Markets, Meridian
“I am proud to be a part of the Economic Reconciliation Initiative to support and build upon Ontario’s vibrant and growing economy. Through this initiative, I hope to highlight the strength of the Indigenous economy in Ontario and to foster connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous business owners, enterprises and communities, for the benefit of current and future generations.
I look forward to the continued partnership between the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business – and the journey ahead for all of us in building an inclusive and prosperous Ontario. ”– Britney Sault, Relationship Manager, Indigenous Trust Services, CIBC
“The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres is hopeful for new reconciliation pathways that will emerge from the launch of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Indigenous Advisory Committee. Friendship Centres are economic drivers across the province that employ a significant number of Indigenous staff and connect Indigenous community members with access to job readiness support and employment opportunities in various sectors, such as trades, entrepreneurship, and caregiving. Friendship Centres work with local businesses every day to create employment opportunities for Indigenous community members. We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to foster stronger relationships through this Committee and work together towards addressing TRC Call to Action 92.” –Chelsea Combot, Director of Policy and Government Relations, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
“I am honoured to share my First Nations’ grassroots worldview and cultural perspective to advance the knowledge base of the OCC / CCAB in their respective pursuits and ecosystems around Indigenous relations and reconciliation. It is crucial that we hold ourselves and corporate Canada accountable to the TRC Calls to Action, especially #92, to adopt and support the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and operationalize Free Prior Informed Consent framework into policy. It will be important for companies to understand Indigenous supplier initiatives and Indigenous Rights Risks to avoid red-washing and to talk the talk when we consider raising the socio-economic position and social justice of Indigenous peoples. We all have a role to play, and we must not tolerate colonialism in any corporate institution.” – Jason Rasevych, Partner, National Indigenous Client Services Lead, Deloitte
“Indigenous Knowledge is needed at decision-making tables, and this partnership between the OCC and the CCAB clearly illustrates they understand this need. I’m thrilled to be a part of this Indigenous Advisory Committee, which has the ability to impact so many businesses and communities.” – Tracy Primeau, Founder and Principal, Agile Bear Consulting