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Mining companies want more Aboriginal goods and services, says report

The study was joint effort between Engineers Without Borders Canada and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
A new study shows that Canadian mining companies are looking to acquire more goods and services from Aboriginal companies. Photo supplied by Tahgaiwinini Technical & Environmental Services Group

A new study shows Canadian mining companies are making efforts to purchase more goods and services from Aboriginal companies.

The report, Partnerships in Procurement, is a joint initiative of Engineers Without Borders Canada: Mining Shared Value and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

The study documents the current challenges the mining sector is facing as they aim to improve engagement and offers several recommendations for government, industry and Aboriginal community stakeholders to improve coordination, communication, and partnerships.

“Partnering with Aboriginal suppliers makes sense for many reasons in the mining industry, including capacity development, business network creation, and local employment creation,” said Jeff Geipel, of Engineers Without Borders Canada, in a release.

“We’ve seen that Aboriginal suppliers and their employees want to work in their territory, provide services quickly with firsthand knowledge of the local area, and keep the profits from their work in the community.”

The study recommends the creation of a national strategy aligning federal, provincial and industry training programs, as well as for industry to make public targets and report progress on Aboriginal supplier engagement, notes the release.

As procurement contracts are often the first foothold in the door for Aboriginal businesses, the study’s authors recommend that industry associations such as the Mining Association of Canada include Aboriginal procurement content in their guidelines.

“The Partnerships in Procurement Report is a timely and powerful statement on how to improve the potential for working with Indigenous communities in Canada from both sides of the ledger, says JP Gladu, president and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, in the release.

“We have a responsibility to Aboriginal business, community and leadership to pursue necessary changes that can level business playing fields. Working with Engineers Without Borders on this exceptional report supports the importance and need for collaboration on research that not only informs but leads.”