Why We Reconcile
Our purpose is to brighten lives, which goes beyond our engineering work. With our purpose at our core, we recognize that the work we do every day ultimately has an impact on various people in the community who ultimately use the infrastructure we design.
Through our work, we want to be a part of the solution that Indigenous Peoples desire for their community and their land. We believe that by including individual and cultural knowledge as a part of our design work, we hope to collectively build opportunities with Indigenous communities that foster greater and more meaningful impact.
Our reconciliation journey includes understanding and acknowledging our country’s past and how past and present decisions have impacted and continue to impact Indigenous communities. At Williams Engineering, we believe that to truly reconcile with Indigenous peoples, all of us must first understand why it is essential to do so, beyond the fact that it is an expectation in the country right now (with the TRC and public attention to these issues) we are doing this because we truly believe that we have an important role to play in moving this conversation forward – using our place of privilege and power to help break down barriers and support Indigenous voices to be heard.
That’s why we encourage and provide opportunities for our teammates to participate in education programs and assemble our entire company to take part in sessions that grow our learning and understanding of the Indigenous story – histories, realities, rights and strengths- on this land. This important work helps us to build and maintain meaningful relationships with Indigenous partners and takes us each further down the path of our personal reconciliation journey.
We are committed to developing and nurturing our relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities by first understanding the past while endeavouring to find new ways to move forward. We believe working closely together from beginning to end will lead to greater and more meaningful change. We develop and nurture relationships by listening first and then working collaboratively to create solutions that help solve infrastructure problems and ultimately contribute to the advancement of Indigenous communities. This approach provides transparency for all stakeholders and allows us to work more cohesively with Indigenous communities today and in the future.
Alignment with Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
We are aligning ourselves with TRC Call to action number 94: Through our work and our operations, we agree to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This includes, but isn’t 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 teammates 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.
- Be an industry leader on working collaboratively with Indigenous communities to support nation building goals and activities
- Build reconciliation through all layers and functions of the company so that we can evolve as teammates and show up as advocates for Truth and Reconciliation through our work and personal lives.
- Be an advocate amongst clients, vendors, and the community for Indigenous voices and rights.
- Participate in creating entities with Indigenous communities that is Indigenous owned and Indigenous run, to nurture the creation of unique and worthwhile solutions.
We acknowledge that Williams Engineering operates on the traditional and unceded territory of the Indigenous peoples who, since time immemorial, have lived on, been part of and stewarded this place now known as Canada. We recognize that this is still home to Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and live on this land.