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Workforce Warriors Inc.

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Overview

Workforce Warriors Inc.

In light of Canada’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and the “Team Canada’s” commitment to meaningful Indigenous engagement and participation in the delivery of the SMR Roadmap, Workforce Warriors, an emerging national Indigenous non-profit led by AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine, is an essential partner for SMR development in Canada. As part of Team Canada, Workforce Warriors will facilitate ongoing dialogue and cross-cultural relationship building aimed at enforcing reconciliation, forward-thinking, inclusive training, and employment practices that bridge gaps between mainstream and Indigenous world views – and in doing so will provide an innovative model to guide capacity building and engagement

Workforce Warriors is a sustainable collaborative partnership model for improving the lives of Indigenous peoples through increased Indigenous capacity, and Indigenous diversity and inclusion in the workforce/mainstream industry. Workforce Warriors includes a skill-to-work and leadership program that recognizes and develops skills, replaces barriers with mentorship, while improving the overall lives within the indigenous communities (Appendix A).

Historically, whether it be training initiatives or engagement on environmental permitting projects, Indigenous peoples have been consistently both top-of-mind and left behind in Canada, once the dust settles and credit given for having “ticked the box”, a social licence acquired, a wage subsidy run out, the opportunities disappear. In fact, there are many employment projects that have involved training and/or hiring indigenous workers within a community for environmental permitting/construction projects, and still a limited increase in Indigenous diversity in the Canadian workforce. What is lacking, is sustained capacity building, or lasting employment and career opportunities. When the training/construction project is complete, the employer/proponent often leaves town and the worker is left without a pathway or supports to complete their training/obtain certification or maintain employment. Workforce Warriors bring solutions to indigenous communities by providing sustained mentorship, collaboration, and an industry partnership model creating meaningful career opportunities, and long-term sustainable solutions to mitigate legacy barriers to success. These long-term solutions must include a plan for a shift to sustainable housing in Indigenous communities. Full participation within the labour market must begin with a safe, affordable home. Sustainable housing is a key factor to building resilience to the barriers that affect economic prosperity.

SMR development, and the partnership with Workforce Warriors, is an exciting opportunity to change the discourse/patterns of the past and provide an innovative model for meaningful Indigenous engagement and participation, that will mean sustained development well into the future. Reciprocal learning and respect for a truly inclusive workforce; a model to be applied by other industries and sectors in the future.

SMR development and deployment in Canada is an opportunity to get it right from the start; for countless reasons, from environmental to social, particularly regarding Indigenous engagement, capacity building and inclusion. The engagement must be developed through truly meaningful and transparent plans that will lead to sustained growth and development for our nations Indigenous Peoples.

With current plans to launch Workforce Warriors in New Brunswick, several project proposals are currently in progress: Examples of the types of projects under development by Workforce Warriors, include, but not limited to;

  • Workforce Warriors Leadership Program Research and Development
  • Innovative renewable energy literacy curriculum coupled with green/smart tiny house neighbourhood skill-to-work project in NB Indigenous Communities
  • Renewable Installation Technician curriculum development, research and refinement
  • KINAP Solutions developing First Nation communities on-line connectivity to broaden opportunities for participation in post secondary and industry training programs.

Workforce Warriors endeavours to champion innovative industry advancements from our nations Indigenous communities. We are not only building communities; we are building strong Indigenous leadership to bring innovative sustainable solutions to mainstream industry and the Canadian public at large. Take our Renewable Energy Installation Technician curriculum; there exists a gap in the energy sector, a need for a specific and absent skill set. If the training is needed, why not launch in collaboration with an innovative project with our nations Indigenous Peoples? Exactly, why not? Showcasing industry advancements through collaborative Indigenous partnerships has a multitude of benefits.

Workforce Warriors and SMR development go hand in hand; we are both new, innovative, and exciting initiatives for the advancement of Canadians, especially for Indigenous Canadians. As Workforce Warriors grows and expands its success from NB into the rest of the country, we can bring the collaborative engagement, awareness, knowledge and capacity development in SMR technology to our nations Indigenous communities through our network of strategic partnerships and innovative programing.

As the national coordinating lead for Indigenous capacity building and engagement, Workforce Warriors will provide input on development of a Diversity and Inclusion Employment plan with respect to policies for diversity and inclusion such as;

  • Setting realistic targets for Indigenous employment; including targets for women and youth;
  • Setting realistic targets for Indigenous Supervisors, Foreperson, and Shop Steward positions;
  • Providing recommendations for policies and requirements for employers to track and report data on the Indigenous employment on the project;
  • Developing policies for mandatory cultural, diversity, and inclusion training for all workers, including management;
  • Developing and executing, in collaboration with in-province partners, curriculum for Cultural, Diversity and Inclusion training;
  • Developing and executing, in collaboration with partners, green and renewable energy, climate change adaptation and sustainable waste management curriculum; • Developing policies to support and respect Indigenous traditions and culture in the workplace;
  • Developing policies to encourage and support mentorship on the job; and • Innovative youth engagement, utilizing online leadership platform to maximized outreach. • As part of increasing Indigenous diversity and inclusion in SMR development,

Workforce Warriors propose the following initial action plans; first in the development and execution of policy and plans in environmental permitting, social procurement and union diversity; and secondly in building capacity and career development opportunities through Workforce Warriors sustainable collaborative partnership model.

ACTIONS

POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND REGULATION
Indigenous Engagement and Participation in Regulation and Policy Development
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
WW01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 24, 31, 32, 33, 39, 43, 51, and 53

Federal Environmental Assessment

Workforce Warriors leadership team is comprised of a unique blend of subject matter experts (SME) offering a broad range of expertise in Indigenous engagement, policy and regulation development, labour relations, government relations, collective bargaining, management of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and environmental sciences. We will advise and inform early Indigenous diversity and inclusion advancements in SMR development such as engagement in regulations and policies pertaining to an EIA, a socially responsible procurement process, and an inclusive and diverse unionized workforce development.

Workforce Warriors can help develop and deliver a meaningful Indigenous engagement program, and more importantly, set targets for active participation/careers in the Workforce Warriors can help develop and deliver a meaningful Indigenous engagement program, and more importantly, set targets for active participation/careers in the environmental permitting, construction and operation/maintenance of the SMR project(s), and provide opportunities for capacity building in environmental sciences and engineering generally.

Workforce Warriors will tie all engagement back to, and thus maximize, career development and Indigenous capacity building opportunities.

ACTION

  • In collaboration with SMEs, partners and  stakeholders, Workforce Warriors will develop a  meaningful, transparent and innovative Collaborative Indigenous Engagement and  Participation Plan to bring consistency nationally  to EIA engagement, while being flexible to satisfy  unique community needs and maximizing opportunities for Indigenous participants.
  • Workforce Warriors will partner with environmental consultant(s) and Indigenous  communities/organizations to execute Collaborative Indigenous Engagement and  Participation Plan, and assist in early outreach to  communities/organizations, building trust and a  collaborative team approach in the environmental  permitting/project planning and engagement. 
  • Workforce Warriors will not only ensure traditional knowledge is incorporated into the EIA  but will lead meaningful Indigenous participation  in the planning/permitting process by developing, executing and managing the SMR EIA Indigenous Participation Program. As such, Workforce Warriors will lead, in collaboration with partners, the recruitment, management and support of Indigenous participants in the environmental work (e.g., biophysical surveys, archaeological work, waste management studies, emergency response planning).
  • Workforce Warriors will bring wrap-around supports and in-province organizations/service providers together as partners for capacity building and career development.

Social Procurement

  • Engage with, and advise, governments/proponents on policy and regulation for Indigenous inclusion in social procurement in SMR projects

Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion in Building Trades Unions

  • Engage with, and advise, Management, labour and the International unions on the creation of an Industry Liaison and/or Indigenous Shop Steward to be the liaison in the workplace for the Indigenous Workers to liaise directly with labour and/or union and the employer on issues pertaining to workplace policies and /or the Collective Agreement, Culture, training, etc. This person would place an added focus on Indigenous women and youth where extreme attention and care is needed to support a balanced workforce.  
  • Engage with, and advise, Management, labour, and/or International Unions in the collective bargaining process to develop and include contract language to allow for increased Indigenous diversity and inclusion employment and supports within labour and the unionized building trades. Workforce Warriors would recommend clauses to support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous trades workers, Indigenous Shop Stewards and/or Industry Liaison, and training to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Demonstrated fulfillment of Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action for Industry and   government partners
  • Quality, meaningful and transparent engagement withIndigenous Peoples
  • Capacity building and career opportunities for our nations Indigenous peoples in SMR sector, and science and engineering Meaningful partnerships with  our nations Indigenous communities
  • Indigenous leaders as SMR experts and advocates of the  project Increased knowledge and understanding of the SMR project in Canadian Indigenous communities
  • Increased support for SMR development as clean energy • A mentorship program, led by Indigenous Leaders, to increase and support the number of Indigenous youth  and women working on SMR projects
  • Increased number of Indigenous persons working towards, and being supported  to advance their careers into leadership roles
  • Increased opportunities and support for Indigenous economic development through socially responsible project procurement
  • Increased Indigenous diversity  and inclusion in Canadian Building Trades, including;
  • Development of an Indigenous Shop Steward/Industry Liaison training program
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Engagement as Participation: Training and Career Development at Every Turn in the Roadmap
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
WW02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 24, 31, 33, 39, 43, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53

Workforce Warriors believe capacity building and career development is at the heart of project engagement with Indigenous Peoples. All development projects need to offer opportunities for career exploration, training and career development, and leadership development.

Strategic partnerships and knowledge exchange will be at the heart of SMR engagement under the guidance and expertise of Workforce Warriors engagement specialists. In addition, Workforce Warriors leadership team members bring decades of unique experience within Indigenous Engagement in collective bargaining, labour relations, labour leadership, curriculum development, and management of apprenticeship training/employment programs and skills development.

Workforce warriors will engage and work with in-province educators/trainers and service providers to lead curriculum development and execution of training programs, collect data for research and development purposes, and work with partners (Indigenous communities and training providers) to access and refine piloted programs in partner communities for roll out for use nationally.

ACTION

  • In collaboration with stakeholders and  partners, draft living Indigenous Engagement, Inclusion and SMR Workforce Diversity Plan
  • Indigenous engagement and feedback with Indigenous communities, organizations, leaders, individuals to maximized
  • Engagement with other project  partners/pillars to assure consistency  n Indigenous engagement approach and accountability to overarching Indigenous Engagement, Inclusion and SMR Workforce Diversity Plan
  • Partnership development with Canadian Indigenous communities for potential pilot projects
  • Curriculum development and delivery (from basic SMR literacy, to technical  skill/knowledge development)
  • Skill-to- work opportunities for Indigenous in trades, science, technology and engineering with Workforce Warriors partners (unions, industry leaders, governments, academia, environmental and engineering firms)

*note; a “living” plan is one which is regularly updated and modified based on feedback 
and lessons learned

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Demonstrated fulfillment of Truth and  Reconciliation Calls to Action for Industry  and government partners
  • Quality, meaningful and transparent engagement of Indigenous Peoples throughout the curriculum development  process 
  • Capacity building and career opportunities for our nations Indigenous  peoples in apprenticeship trades
  • Meaningful partnerships with our nations  Indigenous communities to pilot training  programs that bring new opportunities for  capacity building and career development
  • Increased knowledge and understanding  of the SMR project in Canadian Indigenous communities