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  • Writer's pictureMark Taylor

Building A Culture Of Collaboration And Partnership

Successful collaboration is built on common understanding, common goals, and a willingness to share success. Collaborating with one other party can seem challenging at times, how would you like to try building a sustained collaboration with 36 First Nations, two levels of government, and over 25 contractors? This is exactly what the Indian Resource Council (IRC) has done with the creation of the First Nations Site Rehabilitation Program (FNSRP).

How did a small organization manage to craft this level of collaboration? Passion, caring for First Nations, willingness to see outcomes beyond what others see, and the drive of a team. In early 2020 Canada sent $1 billion to Alberta to clean up inactive oil and gas sites. Stephen Buffalo, IRC’s CEO, immediately saw an opportunity that others hadn’t. He understood that the intent of the fund was for job creation, but he knew that we could do more than that. We went far beyond simple job creation, creating career paths, building new businesses, strengthening relationships, and expanding the capacity for the First Nations members to play an active and large role in Canada’s energy transition.

Building common understanding and common goals takes time and it takes the ability to see others’ perspectives. We call it the ability to ‘translate’. First Nations don’t speak ‘government’ and energy companies don’t always speak ‘contractor’. IRC has conducted over 2500 meaningful engagements over 15 months. Meaningful engagements mean listening. We never showed up to tell anyone what to do, but instead listened to their desired outcomes, and matched those with the desired outcomes of other participants.

Economic reconciliation and the energy transition are built on people. IRC has created a sustainable, career creation program that provides training, work experience, sustainable companies, and careers that will endure for decades. Through this collaboration, First Nations have proven they have the capacity, workforce, businesses, technical expertise, and innovative thinking to build the foundation to support the repurposing of old developments. The newly created relationships will extend beyond reserve boundaries and the FNSRP program. First Nation communities have expressed that the importance of getting their lands cleaned up cannot be overstated and that First Nations need to have stewardship of their lands. IRC’s FNSRP has ensured that these outcomes are achieved while creating long-lasting benefits and a foundation for sustainable career growth by working with industry, licensees, and contractors. Through programs like this, First Nations people are returning their lands to mother earth, using them for growing herbs, and medicines, and continuing local traditions for future generations.

The principles below have been the foundation of this success. They provide a reference to compare to anytime there is a question of shared goals, a quick reminder that we were all still heading in the same direction.

  • Stewardship of First Nations lands by First Nations

  • Long-term capacity development and jobs for First Nations members and contractors

  • Returning our land to an acceptable form

  • Reducing methane emissions

  • Taking a positive step towards economic reconciliation

What we accomplished:

Connect with Mark Taylor today to know more.


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