Evidence of meeting #115 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was suncor.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Patrick Cheechoo  Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada
Howard McIntyre  Vice-President, Supply Chain and Field Logistics, Suncor Energy Inc.
Virginia Flood  Vice-President, Government Relations, Suncor Energy Inc.

12:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

Patrick Cheechoo

No. I just don't have that information.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Okay.

We talked about the set-asides and, of course, we have PSAB with the set-asides, but you talked about a set-aside for indigenous women. Do you think it should be two separate set-asides or one within the other—that if we have a set-aside for indigenous business, part of that should be for women-led indigenous companies, or...?

Do you have any thoughts on that?

12:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

Patrick Cheechoo

I would say it should be in addition.

As I said, the point I'm trying to make is that there need to be direct and active goals around increasing procurement from indigenous women entrepreneurs.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

That's what I was trying to get at. What do you think is the best way forward?

You would think it should be as a separate: PSAB and...?

12:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Okay.

One of the other things you chatted about was the need to get the information out to first nation businesses that this exists. Within the government there's a program, OSME, the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises. It does a very good job of training businesses, but no one knows about it.

What do you think, from your experience, would be the best way to get this training or this information out there? Is it through you? Is it through reaching out to bands or organizations? There are programs to help, but we just don't know about them.

12:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

Patrick Cheechoo

I mean, if we can get connected as an organization with the one you just mentioned, we could work within our own infrastructure. We have member organizations across Canada.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Who else should they be reaching out to, through the bands directly or through other aboriginal business associations?

12:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

As many as they can find?

12:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

Patrick Cheechoo

Expand that as much as possible.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Okay, thank you.

12:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

Patrick Cheechoo

My focus, of course, would be NWAC's offer to help raise awareness specifically for indigenous women.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Perfect. That was a great idea, thanks.

Mr. McIntyre and Ms. Flood, you talked about changing your process and embedding this with your staff via internal training, the web-provided training. You talked about it being similar to your safety journey, and having worked in Fort Mac and with some safety issues up there, I know the oil sands folks do a phenomenal job of training and safety, everything first.

It's interesting how you talk about doing that same process with educating your staff for indigenous awareness. We've probably got only a couple of minutes, but could you expand a bit more on what that process is? It sounds as if you've changed your culture around it.

12:05 p.m.

Vice-President, Supply Chain and Field Logistics, Suncor Energy Inc.

Howard McIntyre

Just as with safety, we want people to have a reflex response to do the right thing as opposed to having to think about it. We don't want aboriginal content to be something that is an exception to any decision criteria, so it just has to be ingrained and natural.

I mentioned before that for the length of our company, which could be 100 years plus, we see the aboriginal communities and entrepreneurs fitting in very well and complementing operations. We just made the decision that in all aspects of our business, not just procurement, this is our opportunity, our reality. New students who come and work for us are exposed to this philosophy, and we're going to enhance it going forward.

12:05 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Suncor Energy Inc.

Virginia Flood

I would just say that one other piece around that, as I mentioned, is that we launched a social goal. In that social goal it's very clear that they are the aboriginal piece, and that's right from the top, and in our performances we're measured on that as well, and on what we're doing to contribute to that shift in how we're working with communities.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

You mentioned web training. Did you develop that in-house, or was that an outside program?

12:10 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Suncor Energy Inc.

Virginia Flood

The web-based one was done in-house, but we worked with aboriginal peoples, and for our social goal as well. We've also had advisers to help us do that, so that we're doing it in a respectful way and understanding what's required.

The other thing that we've established is an aboriginal employee network, which is employees, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, who get together and talk about and experience the cultural experiences. So we're really looking at people to understand that culture of the aboriginal people, because it's very much how they make decisions and how they interact with us, and it's part of the respect and the values in really understanding that.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Thank you.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Thank you very much.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

I'm out of time.

I just want to thank you again, and congratulate you folks on the fantastic job you are doing there.

Well done.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Thank you.

We'll now go to Mr. Jowhari for five minutes, please.

January 30th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It's good to have you all here, and it's good to be part of this committee. I'm hoping to be a full-time member.

Let's start with Mr. Cheechoo.

A lot of my colleagues, in their discussion, covered a lot of the barriers. One of the things that stuck with me was the offer or the recommendation that you put on the table around consultation and partnership—specifically with NWAC—in helping to improve the process and bring access to the training, education, and to address financial barriers, etc.

You briefly touched on the type of model of partnership in your previous comment, but can you expand on that? How can we go about facilitating that consultation and partnership? What would be the first step that your organization would take, and we could facilitate, to build on or design that partnership?

12:10 p.m.

Director of Operations, Native Women's Association of Canada

Patrick Cheechoo

It could take place in a couple of ways. One is our existing infrastructure with our member organizations across Canada, and then within that we have the Aboriginal Women's Business Entrepreneurship Network. Over the past couple of years we've been building a network of indigenous women entrepreneurs, and they act as mentors to other budding indigenous women entrepreneurs. That would be one, using that infrastructure.

The second is that we actually have a store that we're in the process of developing and enhancing, so we have a network of actual indigenous entrepreneurs supplying our store. That would be another mechanism.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

On that topic, do you have any stats around the percentage of women entrepreneurs to the percentage of total entrepreneurs for the indigenous community?