In recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Great-West Life today reaffirmed its commitment to reconciliation by announcing its first-year progress and future goals toward Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord.
“We have an important role to play in our collective journey of reconciliation, whether it’s empowering Indigenous employees or supporting community initiatives that further Indigenous rights and well-being,” said Stefan Kristjanson, President and Chief Operating Officer, Great-West Life. “We’ve worked with the Indigenous community to establish a strong foundation in the Accord’s first year and look forward to continuing down this path, guided by shared principles of respect, equality and collaboration.”
Rooted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord sets out a responsibility accepted by signatories to participate in a long-term process of reconciliation and to report their success and future goals annually.
As one of the Indigenous Accord’s inaugural signatories, Great-West Life has committed to fostering a workplace culture in which Indigenous Peoples and all employees can contribute to their fullest potential. Great-West Life outlined the progress they’ve made toward this goal in their first year, including:
Working with AMIK Professional Indigenous Engagement Services to promote a diverse workforce, including increasing the representation and advancement of Indigenous employees;
Implementing new training initiatives to foster a more inclusive workplace culture, including a workshop in unconscious bias at our Canadian Senior Leadership Forum;
Providing support to Indigenous community programs, including Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures Fund and the Promoting Life Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program.
“The creation and implementation of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord is another important step in Winnipeg’s Journey of Reconciliation,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “As one of Winnipeg’s largest and enduring institutions, Great-West Life has demonstrated strong community leadership by becoming one of the initial signatories to the Accord. The commitments and progress they’ve made in support of reconciliation are an inspiration for businesses to find ways to join the chorus of diverse voices, from all across Winnipeg, responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.”
In the year ahead, Great-West Life will continue their work to advance a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. This includes expanding unconscious bias training within their workforce and launching Indigenous employee resource groups. A detailed list of Great-West Life’s progress and goals related to the Indigenous Accord is available here.
“For nearly two decades, AMIK’s main purpose has been to support the growth of Indigenous people in the workplace through innovative solutions in collaboration with Canadian companies on a national level,” said E.J. Fontaine, President and CEO AMIK Inc. “It pleases us to see prominent companies like Great-West Life, incorporate sincere and progressive initiatives. We’d like to acknowledge the tremendous work Great-West has done over the years, supporting the Indigenous community from which they hire. The opportunities GWL has provided to the Indigenous community changes lives, and AMIK is proud to be part of this ongoing journey.”
Great-West Life made the announcement at an event to raise awareness and appreciation for National Indigenous People’s Day. The organization worked with AMIK to display a 22ft teepee outside their head office at 100 Osborne Street in Winnipeg. Employees and the community are invited to view the teepee throughout the week.
The Indigenous Accord was unanimously adopted by Winnipeg’s City Council on March 2017. More than 80 individuals, groups, and organizations, including Great-West Life, participated in the initial signing of the Accord.