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Reconciliation Action Plan Aims to Strengthen Indigenous Ties

20 May 2022 4 Minute Read

Reconciliation Action Plan Aims to Strengthen Indigenous Ties

When CBRE Canada’s Global Workplace Solutions group released its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) earlier this year, it represented the culmination of a multi-year effort by GWS aimed at strengthening relationships and opportunities with Indigenous communities in Canada.

Developed in consultation with Creative Fire – an Indigenous-owned consultancy that specializes in Indigenous engagement and partnerships and diversity and inclusion strategies, – the RAP lays out three key objectives:

  • Build meaningful partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities to create trust and ongoing opportunities for positive impact;
  • Promote and sustain supply chain diversity opportunities for Indigenous businesses;
  • Focus on attracting new Indigenous communities and clients for future partnerships and employment opportunities.

The RAP is a response to recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, one of which called for the Canadian corporate sector to pursue meaningful consultation, long-term sustainable opportunities from economic development projects, and education and training for managers on the history of Indigenous people, intercultural competency, human rights and anti-racism.

There's an incredible opportunity to leverage the business and the spend we manage on behalf of clients to support Indigenous communities - Ryan Clayton

Ryan Clayton, the leader for Global Workplace Solutions in Canada, notes that the plan also ties in with CBRE’s broader diversity, equity and inclusion priorities. These are: to strengthen the company’s inclusive culture so all feel welcome and valued; expand career paths for underrepresented populations; and improve economic opportunities through increased spending with diverse suppliers.

GWS is in a strong position to carry out its objectives and make a big difference with the RAP. “There’s an incredible opportunity to leverage the business and the spend we manage on behalf of clients to support Indigenous communities,” Clayton says. “Whether it’s through the hiring of subcontractors, the development of partnerships, or the training and hiring of people for our own business.”

“We’ve identified avenues for us to do more business with Indigenous-owned companies and people, and we’re committed to making a difference.”

First Steps

An example of the plan in action is the recently announced agreement that GWS Canada forged with Makwa Development Corp., a 100% Indigenous, privately-owned development company based in the Neyaashiinigmiing Unceded First Nation within the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.

The two organizations have agreed to enter into a cooperative working relationship to develop and pursue mutually beneficial facility services and property management business opportunities with private sector and government entities in Ontario.

“Together, CBRE and Makwa can move into new areas of business by leveraging each other’s strengths and unique perspectives,” Clayton says. “There’s also incredible potential to build bridges and produce better service and outcomes for clients.”

CBRE GWS is also working with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business in pursuit of PAR (Progressive Aboriginal Relations) certification, a program that confirms corporate performance in Indigenous relations at the Bronze, Silver or Gold level.

“Alignment to PAR and other corporate social responsibility mechanisms will allow us to track progress, monitor activities and measure success against objectives each year,” says Clayton.

While GWS Canada is playing a lead role in the commercial real estate industry with the launch of its Reconciliation Action Plan, it is also ensuring it is in alignment with the priorities of its biggest clients. “Most of our key stakeholders are looking for this level of engagement and support now,” Clayton says.

It’s still early days, but Clayton and his team are hopeful they can affect meaningful change with the RAP, bringing the substantial reach and scale of the GWS operation to bear in carrying out their mission.

“Our footprint and ability to make an impact continues to grow. We’re looking forward to seeing where this journey takes us and our Indigenous partners.”

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