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Performance Area: Strengthen relationships among Aboriginal People and all Canadians, starting with Suncor
We can do more to learn about the history and experiences of Aboriginal Peoples, so that we can begin to better understand one another.
We commit to providing our employees with more training and also more opportunities to participate in cultural experiences. We will measure changes in understanding and behaviours — within Suncor and through the work of the Suncor Energy Foundation’s key partners, like Indspire, Bridges Social Development, and Reconciliation Canada.
Strengthening relationships will be an evolution for each of us at Suncor and we have designed many supporting initiatives to enable our employees along the way. We’re focusing on four key areas: increasing awareness, building understanding, shifting attitudes and ultimately, changing behaviours.
Aboriginal Awareness Training
At the end of 2015, we launched our new web-based training to ensure that every employee can have a basic level of awareness about the history and experiences of Aboriginal Peoples across Canada. We developed our own training with input and guidance from partners like Reconciliation Canada and also our own Aboriginal employees. The training features their stories and perspectives, which has made the information and messages more relatable.
We also offer a more comprehensive classroom session that expands on the awareness created through the web-based training. It builds understanding about the historic and current relationship between Aboriginal and all Canadians through storytelling and meaningful discussion.
Aboriginal Employee Network
Suncor’s Aboriginal Employee Network (AEN) is a new employee resource group to support advancing Aboriginal inclusion at Suncor. The network is structured around four focus areas, called circles. The Aboriginal Awareness Circle specifically supports cross-cultural sharing by increasing awareness and understanding within Suncor of Aboriginal experiences.
Cultural Experiential Learning
We are creating opportunities for employees across Suncor to participate in cultural learning experiences. These experiences enable direct engagement and cultural exchange between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Examples include participating in community events such as Treaty Days or volunteering for specific initiatives like leading business development workshops through our partnership with NAABA (Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association).
Growing awareness and understanding, one employee at a time
Aboriginal awareness training is a key way we’re enabling every employee at Suncor to learn more about the history and experience of Aboriginal Peoples. Employees across Canada who’ve taken the training have given some great feedback. Here are just a few samples of what they said:
- I like the fact I am walking away appreciating our history as a country and not treating this as only the First Nations history. We had a role in making the history and we have a role in making a better future for all Canadians, regardless of background. – Calgary
- Wow, to be honest I never really thought of Aboriginal relations in my personal life until I saw this video. It was a glimpse of how much I didn't know that I didn’t know...It inspired me to learn more about the culture and how I can help bridge the gap. Thank you. – Mississauga
- It was an emotional experience going from learning the issues, to feeling ashamed of our past, and to feeling proud to be in a company that is really trying to make a difference. – Fort McMurray
Beyond Aboriginal awareness training, we spent some time in 2015 to ensure that more opportunities were available for employees to become engaged and to learn more about the history and experiences of Aboriginal Peoples. For example, beyond the AEN and opportunities for cultural experiential learning, we:
- created a new employee section on our intranet that highlights a wide-variety of topical resources such as books, movies, websites, music and podcasts
- distribute a community update e-newsletter that profiles an AEN member, provides updates on the work of each of the AEN Circles and includes a cultural awareness moment along with other relevant news
- maintain a calendar of events so that employees across Suncor can see upcoming opportunities and get involved
Measuring our progress
As with the supporting initiatives, we’re measuring relationship building in a number of ways along the journey. Internally, we’re measuring awareness building and changing attitudes through the number of participants attending the online and classroom-based Aboriginal awareness training, as well as conducting pre and post surveys. We’ll also be using developmental evaluations to assess the effectiveness of our work, to look for shifts in perception, attitudes and behaviours, and to identify emerging opportunities.