Increase Your Workforce Through Learning How To Engage With Indigenous Communities

Learning How To Foster Win Wins With Indigenous Communities

With 353 major resource and energy projects happening in BC and Alberta, Indigenous community engagement and relationship building is more important than ever. Learn about how to foster win-win relationships built on respect and shared interests and common goals.


Building lasting relationships with Indigenous communities is similar to building relationships with any partner; You want to go in with honesty, respect, and shared values. By being open and honest from the start, expectations and trust can be established and built upon, and if problems arise, they can be resolved with clear communication. 

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Matrix Labour Leasing is a leading staffing agency in Calgary. Whether you are looking for a short-term labour job or something more permanent, we are committed to placing our employees in great companies and in a position where they will succeed and advance their career and skills to the next level. With the large amounts of government dollars coming in to fund infrastructure projects, contact Matrix Labour Leasing to ensure you have the right people, ready to go, for whatever project you are starting

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Find Alignment of Values

Elected councillor of Gitga’at Nations, Cameron Hill, suggests spending lots of time thinking about your worth and lots of time getting to know the values of the community you are trying to foster a relationship with and then looking for alignments in values. Consider, "What are we doing that is going to impact our environment?" "What are we doing that is going to impact our future generations?" If the impact is going to be detrimental, the Gitga’at will fight to uphold their principles and look after their lands. “Take what you need and use what you take," says Hill.

Guest Speakers 

We were honoured to have our five amazing guest speakers join us:

  • Paul Paterson – CEO, Gitga’at Development Corporation
  • Billie Fortier – Associate, MLT Aikins
  • Cameron Hill – Councillor, Gitga’at Nations
  • Rebecca Kragnes – Indigenous Business Relations Manager, Bird Construction
  • Evie Nance – Employment and Training Manager, Gitxaala Nation
Relationships Need to be Win-Win for the Communities

Communities, where projects happen, need to receive the benefits of the developments, so agreements need to be made to benefit and respect the communities that are being operated in. Some of the ways that this can be shown are within legal agreements:

  • Impact Benefits Agreement: The community directly benefits from a percentage of the profits.
  • Limited Partnership Agreement: The community becomes a partner with a working interest in a project.
  • Employment Provisions: The community members are trained and hired over outsiders for project work.
  • Firm Commitments: Wording in agreements goes beyond best efforts. 
  • Preferential Bidding Processes: Agreements that set preferences for using community resources and businesses where possible.
Respect Is The Most Important Factor

If you want to foster a real relationship, it really comes down to respect. It’s no different with Indigenous communities than it is with anyone else, we all want it, and it always makes things easier when something unfavourable happens. If you want to keep your communications and relationships strong, be respectful, be honest, and be sincere.

Knowing your values, having legal frameworks for benefitting the communities you operate in and being respectful are the most important factors to consider when fostering relationships with indigenous communities. If you have these three important ingredients, you will be well on your way to building a successful relationship and partner in whatever project you are commencing.


Tips On How You And Your Company Can Work Effectively With Indigenous Peoples
  1. Do Your Research: Starting your research before you start is key this will figure out the language you should be using and help identify things you should not say. This will help you become more culturally competent and understand the community dynamics.
  2. The First Step Is To Establish A Relationship: Relationships and connections should be formed with communities and people before you need something. This allows time to build trust and learn about each individual community you’re interacting with. 
  3. Know The Community's Leadership Structure: Understanding the community leadership structure from the beginning is a wise and respectful strategy. For example, if a woman is a decision-maker, then match that partnership with women. 
  4. Deal With Meetings and Interactions Honourably: Remember, when dealing with Indigenous Peoples you are working across cultures and even though shaking hands might be a very common social practice, it is not for everyone. Communities have had problems in the past with deals and agreements, so be prepared to have your meetings recorded. Also, be cautious and research any gift you may give, as symbolism in different cultures can change drastically.
  5. Understand Current Issues And Stay Up-To-Date: It is important to learn and understand the community’s current issues and history. This will help show Indigenous Peoples that you care about their core concern and will help you anticipate their priorities. 

These are just a few helpful tips to help you start to foster relationships with Indigenous Community. 

Call Us Today

Tired of dealing with the same old recruitment or staffing agency in Calgary? Give Matrix Labour Leasing a try. We specialize in construction staffing and short-term labour placement, helping our clients attract the best-skilled workers out there. We also help those who are looking for construction jobs like plumbers or carpenters get placed with the right companies, ones that will help advance their skills and career to the next level.

To find out more about how we can help you land the top construction talent or your dream job in the trades, visit us at Suite 204, 11420 27th Street SE, Calgary, AB, T2Z 3R6. Or you can contact us by calling 1-866-666-9520 or by filling in our online contact form.



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Yes, by hiring professionals who have already invested in getting to know quality candidates, you can save significant resources and get straight to the more qualified candidates for your roles.

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Short-term labour jobs are a great way to get your foot in the door with the construction industry. You can make important connections and see firsthand what different trades are all about.

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Crane operators, drillers, and blasters have the highest median income, according to Statistics Canada. Check out this article to find out what other construction jobs in Canada pay the most.


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