Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 57: Training for Public Servants (57)

Province to boost Indigenous representation in new employment plan

November 16, 2022

Every department and agency in the territory are expected to meet the plan’s goals

Province to boost Indigenous representation in new employment plan

NationTalk: HRD (Human Resource Director): The government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) has rolled out an action plan to boost Indigenous representation in the public sector. The Indigenous Employment Plan (IEP) outlines short-, medium-, and long-term goals, as well as specific actions that agencies and departments in the territory are expected to execute to increase, develop, and retain Indigenous employees. The plan focuses on:

  • addressing bias, racism, and discrimination throughout the staffing process to improve cultural competency in the public service
  • encouraging and supporting Indigenous people to join and stay with the public service by fostering culturally inclusive workplaces
  • improving retention of Indigenous employees through professional development and career progression

The IEP is guided by the government’s Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Framework, which supports the provincial government’s efforts to increase Indigenous representation and leadership opportunities in workplaces.

“The GNWT is committed to increasing Indigenous representation in the public service with the goal of creating a government that is representative of the population it serves,” Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek said. “We will continue to embrace diversity, cultural competence, and inclusion, while taking proactive and tangible action to advance reconciliation and address discrimination and cultural bias in the public service and the territory.”

According to the government, its Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Framework was developed following engagement with human resources experts and Indigenous governments across the territory. It aims to address the barriers to the recruitment and retention of employees belonging to the sector. The framework is one of the initiatives under the GNWT’s Diversity and Inclusion Unit, which works with government departments, boards, and agencies to enhance their workforce diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Efforts to boost Indigenous representation in workplaces have been getting the spotlight in Canada’s public service. Yukon recently extended its hiring preference for qualified jobseekers who identify as either Yukon First Nation or another Canadian Aboriginal ancestry for public service sector roles. This is part of the provincial government’s plan to boost Indigenous representation in the public service to 22%.

The Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) said that having Indigenous employees “makes good business sense,” but organisations are encouraged to partner with Indigenous communities to identify potential talent, and to conduct cultural awareness and inclusivity trainings.

“Organizations must continuously adjust and evolve their policies and practices to be more inclusive and supportive of the talents and skills that Indigenous people bring to the workplace,” the CBOC said.