Deloitte Canada says it has launched a dedicated practice focused on helping build capacity and opportunity for Indigenous peoples and nations.
Jolain Foster, managing partner of the new Nation Building practice, says there are major barriers for Indigenous communities as they work towards increased sovereignty, economic independence and self-determination.
She says there’s significant opportunity to do so, but that many nations are bogged down and overwhelmed with the immediate needs of their community, like responding to the opioid crisis, to work more on longer-term solutions.
Deloitte’s practice will focus on helping in areas of governance, economic development — especially in the natural resources sector — and basic needs like broadband internet and roads.
Foster says there’s also clear need to increase training and skills building so that Indigenous workers, which are expected to make up seven per cent of the workforce by 2030, can get jobs.
She says Deloitte has already been doing this sort of work for a while, and been offering heavily discounted rates for Indigenous communities, but with the new practice it’s taking a more holistic approach with more consistency across the country.
Foster, who is Gitxsan and Wet’suet’en and belongs to Wilps Niisto, says she’s motivated to create opportunities after seeing the disparities around her growing up.
“I grew up in a small community in the Northwest, saw a lot of resource development happening, yet experienced extreme poverty all around me, and trauma, and was often confused as to why that was happening,” said Foster.
“I believe that we all deserve the chance to live a better quality of life than what I’ve experienced.”
—By The Canadian Press