Our community’s ability to engage aboriginal people in economic and employment opportunities is critical to improving the quality of life of one of Winnipeg’s fastest-growing populations. Initiatives should be launched to address aboriginal employment, training and entrepreneurship.
Municipal Aboriginal Pathways, the City of Winnipeg’s newly adopted strategy, is a great step forward. The Aboriginal Employment Initiative, a partnership between The Chamber, the Business Council of Manitoba, the Provincial Government, Western Diversification and the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada, has also created private-sector awareness of the importance of an aboriginal employment strategy.
Manitoba, the only Western Canadian province without an urban reserve, has a tremendous opportunity to learn from the experience of others and develop a strategy that will serve as a model for urban reserve development.
The Chamber believes several key principles should guide the development of an urban reserve to ensure its success.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Recommendations:
- Establish a partnership/relationship between the First Nation community and the City of Winnipeg that is based on mutual respect and a shared vision and objectives.
- Go forward with a solid, comprehensive plan for industrial, commercial or office development that’s consistent with Plan Winnipeg and creates economic opportunity for Aboriginal people.
- Establish agreements with the municipal and provincial governments, as well as school boards, that will ensure an enterprise operating on an urban reserve will not gain an unreasonable competitive advantage in the marketplace through taxation or bylaw/legislation application and compliance.
- Involve all three levels of government in the development process.
- Define a process to accommodate any disputes or challenges that arise from all stakeholders: the First Nation’s community, the private sector, government and citizens.
- Be proactive, from a City perspective, in ensuring that the development is right for all parties.
Adopted by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce board of directors, January 2004