A Message From Our CEO Julia Blackburn

For the first time, September 30th, is being recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and is being observed as a statutory holiday in Canada. This is a small but important step towards meaningful recognition of the deep damage First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples have suffered under colonial and postcolonial policies in Canada. As September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day, a day reserved for reflecting and commemorating the traumatic legacy of residential schools in Canada, NPower Canada has taken the time to reflect on our own commitment to supporting Indigenous youth and communities.

NPower Canada firstly acknowledges all that Indigenous peoples have suffered and lost. While the devastating reality of finding hundreds of gravesites at residential school sites may have been new to many of us, we recognize that it is not new to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, who have shouldered the burden of trauma for generations. We encourage our staff to recognize that we all share in this history and to use the statutory holiday as a time to reflect on how we can better support Indigenous communities. As part of our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, and to supporting our Indigenous staff, youth, and partners, NPower Canada will be closed on September 30th to allow space for such reflection and commemoration. 

Furthermore, we are committed to continuously learning about the unique and specific needs of Indigenous youth so that we can continue to design our programs and services in ways that will support them. We have made a commitment to highlighting Indigenous voices and in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, elders, and service providers in our communities, we have co-created and implemented Indigenous Youth Tech Career Pathways (IYTCP). IYTCP offers First Nations, Inuit and Métis participants wraparound services including Elder-led counselling, sharing circles, and culturally relevant career and personal development activities. Our Indigenous Advisory Council and staff continue to review the program to ensure that it meets the needs of our First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth. We continue to work with, and learn from, our community partners including Native Child and Family Services of Toronto and Miskanawah in Calgary, to offer holistic support to our Indigenous participants. 

Additionally, so that our staff has a greater understanding of how to create equitable spaces for First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, we will all be participating in mandatory training designed by Indigenous Awareness Canada. Staff will complete the training by the end of October through online modules, with additional training to come. Through increased awareness of the issues Indigenous communities face, we hope that staff will be able to better support Indigenous participants, partners and employers. Awareness will allow us to build long-term and trusting relationships through the inclusion and integration of Indigenous peoples in the work that we conduct. 

Through these initiatives, NPower Canada joins with others in our communities committed to urgently acting upon the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We know that by supporting Indigenous youth, we strengthen society overall. September 30th, now designated the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, provides us all with the opportunity to have important conversations about the realities of Canada’s relationship with indigenous peoples. These are conversations that we will be having as an organization and that we encourage you all to have with friends, colleagues, and family.