Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 92: Business and Reconciliation (92)

Vancity announces new Indigenous Advisory Committee

July 4, 2024

NationTalk; TERRITORIES OF MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH AND TSLEIL-WAUTUTH NATIONS and VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancity today announced its newly formed Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC), an independent group dedicated to guiding Vancity’s Indigenous Banking Strategy. The group will focus on three key areas:

  • Financial inclusion and empowerment
  • Affordable and climate-ready housing
  • Support for entrepreneurs

The members of the committee, who are compensated for their expertise and contributions, are Charla Huber, Elder Larry Railton, and Steven Stark.

“Our Indigenous Banking Strategy addresses three critical needs identified by Indigenous communities. Each of our advisors brings invaluable expertise in these areas. We are grateful for the guidance these exceptional leaders will provide,” said Michelle Laviolette, Director of Indigenous Banking at Vancity.

Committee Members

With roots in Fort Chipewyan and Inuit communities, Charla Huber has deep connections across Indigenous communities in BC. She is an associate faculty member at Royal Roads University, holding a master’s degree in professional communication and a chartered housing designation from the Chartered Institute of Housing Canada. Charla has extensive experience in the affordable housing and non-profit sectors, known for fostering strong relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

“I have had the honour of working with Vancity on several projects, witnessing their unique approach to honouring Indigenous people and communities with humility and integrity. Vancity isn’t about ticking boxes; it’s leading the way, and I’m grateful to play a part in that,” said Charla.

Elder Larry Railton, with Métis heritage, has held leadership roles in various educational institutions for over 30 years. He is an advisor and facilitator for Vancity’s Wealth Mindset Program, a financial literacy and empowerment initiative for Indigenous people. Larry is a long-time advocate for improved education for Indigenous youth and also advises the World Forum for Early Care and Education Conference Committee.

“It is my pleasure to serve as an Elder for the Vancity Wealth Mindset Program and as an advisor on the Indigenous Advisory Committee, supporting positive relations for Indigenous peoples and communities,” said Larry.

Steven Stark, President and Owner of Tsawwassen Shuttles Inc. and founder of Two Worlds Transportation and Tsawwassen Constructors, is passionate about entrepreneurship, team leadership, and business strategy. As a proud member of the Tsawwassen First Nation, Steven is committed to creating a positive impact through sustainable and innovative business solutions.

“Vancity was instrumental in helping me start my business, and we collaborated closely to create the Tsawwassen First Nation Home Mortgage Program. I am proud to be a part of Vancity’s Indigenous Advisory Committee and to support the Indigenous Banking strategy moving forward,” said Steven.

Vancity’s Commitment to Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a core value at Vancity. The formation of the Indigenous Advisory Committee represents the next phase in the credit union’s Reconciliation journey and commitment to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations(PAR) certification program. This initiative builds on Vancity’s history as a founding partner of Reconciliation Canada, its adoption of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action for businesses, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its 570,000 member-owners and their communities, with offices and more than 50 branches located in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay, within the territories of the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw people. With $35.5 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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