Ontario Chamber: We All Must Do BetterJuly 1, 2021
(Toronto – July 1, 2021) – Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement:
“We acknowledge the systemic racism that led to the tragic deaths of 215 children whose bodies were recently discovered buried at the site of former Kamloops Indian Residential “School”, as many as 751 unmarked graves found on the site of Marieval Residential “School” in Saskatchewan and most recently, 182 human remains in unmarked graves found at a site close to the former St. Eugene’s Mission “School” in British Columbia.
“We offer our deepest condolences to all Indigenous families and communities affected by Canada’s racist legacy and the ongoing and enduring implications of the residential “school” system.
“We mourn and empathize with you and vow to do better.
“Between 1863 and 1998, Canada’s residential “school” system removed more than 150,000 Indigenous children from their families and brought them to Christian “schools” run on behalf of the federal government. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings suggest this is not likely to be the last discovery of unmarked graves that will be uncovered.
“While we do not wish to take away from the voices who represent the communities directly impacted, we do wish to highlight the role the business community can play within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations on Business and Reconciliation. Call to Action 92 states:
“We call upon businesses in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and 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:
- Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
- 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.
- 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 Canada Day, we would like to make a commitment: we pledge to do better and take meaningful action for our staff, our network, and for the betterment of communities across Canada. We have lots of work to do and have fallen short to date. We can and must do better.
“We stand with Indigenous Communities.”
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.
For more information, please contact:
Ceara Copps – Edwards
Manager, Public Affairs
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