The Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan and Indigenous Advisory Council guides TELUS to enable economic and social outcomes for Indigenous communities
Driving meaningful social change is part of TELUS’ commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. By working together with Indigenous Peoples, Elders, and members of the Indigenous Advisory Council, they are leveraging its world-leading technology to help build a better future for Indigenous communities.
In April 2022, TELUS formed the Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) composed of respected Indigenous leaders and professionals with experience providing guidance and advice, to support the effective implementation of TELUS’ commitments outlined in the tech company’s Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan (IRAP). The creation of IAC comes as TELUS continues on its mission to build on a deeper commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, which weaves together four pillars, including connectivity, economic Reconciliation, cultural responsiveness and enabling social outcomes by developing and expanding programs that help strengthen communities.
Ensuring Indigenous voices are heard
For generations, Indigenous Peoples have been excluded from decisions about their own communities and lands. At TELUS, the success of the IRAP is measured by the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, and by ensuring Indigenous voices are represented. The Indigenous Advisory Council composed of Indigenous leaders is helping TELUS implement and achieve the IRAP’s targets. The council members — all respected voices of their communities — contribute strategic guidance, expertise, and perspectives on how these initiatives can make meaningful progress toward reconciliation. In addition, the IAC guides TELUS on ongoing relationship development with Indigenous Peoples and shares Indigenous values, teachings, and ways of knowing to ensure that all of these are considered throughout the process.
Technology and connectivity are key drivers in moving our communities forward in self-determination, so it’s important to have Indigenous voices at the table.Carol Anne Hilton
The Indigenous Advisory Council currently has four members, and that number is expected to increase to 10 by the end of the first quarter of 2023. “This is a very important initiative because we rarely get a seat at the table to talk about what the experience has been like for us, so being part of the Indigenous Advisory Council gives us opportunities to build out policies and processes that are grounded in the reality of our communities,” says Kim van der Woerd of ‘Na̱mg̱is First Nation, founder of Reciprocal Consulting Inc. and one of the IAC members.
Helping to bridge the digital divide
Technology and connectivity play an important role in the growth and well-being of Indigenous communities. TELUS is supporting this through bridging digital divides by connecting Indigenous communities to its world-leading networks “Technology and connectivity are key drivers in moving our communities forward in self-determination, so it’s important to have Indigenous voices at the table,” says Carol Anne Hilton of Nuu-chah-nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island, CEO and founder of the Indigenomics Institute and another IAC member. “This initiative also raises awareness for other North American companies on the importance of investing in Indigenous communities and provides a model of how to do this.”
TELUS has long supported investments in and with Indigenous communities. The TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good powers next-generation startups building tech for good and invests in entrepreneurs who are addressing challenges in health, education, agriculture, and the environment by connecting them with resources and capital. In 2021, TELUS launched the Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk program, which provides free smartphones and service to Indigenous women at risk of surviving violence so that they can access emergency services and health care and wellness resources, and stay connected to their friends, family, and support networks.
TELUS will continue these investments in projects through the Indigenous Communities Fund, which provides flexible grants to Indigenous-led programs supporting initiatives meeting social, health, cultural, and community needs.
A call to action for non-Indigenous Canadians
“We have incredible beauty and talent in our Indigenous communities across Canada that need to be seen and heard, and the IRAP is an opportunity to shine a light on all of that,” says van der Woerd. “I really see this as a call to action for non-Indigenous people to work with their leadership to contribute to the reconciliation movement.” As a leader in social capitalism, TELUS is committed to continuing to learn, evolve and grow to ensure they are aligned with Indigenous-led reconciliation frameworks through ongoing engagement with Indigenous leaders, Elders, and communities in the areas they serve. With guidance from the Indigenous Advisory Council, TELUS will ensure the development and implementation of the Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan positively impacts future generations to come.