Home » Diversity » Empowering Indigenous Voices » Exploring CN’s Commitment to Indigenous Hiring
Vanessa James

Vanessa James

HR Business Partner, CN & Member of Sagkeeng First Nation

Trevor Pilatzke

Trevor Pilatzke

Transportation Manager, CN & Member of Rainy River First Nations, Ontario

CN has many job opportunities available — and its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion means that opportunities are available for all.

CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler headquartered in Montreal, Que., that serves North America and connects Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the U.S. South. Just as its rails traverse thousands of kilometres and countless diverse communities, CN espouses a corporate culture that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The company is continuously looking for ways to build a culture that’s welcoming to all.

A commitment to DEI and First Nations

“Diversity is about aspiring to do the right thing,” says Vanessa James, HR Business Partner at CN and an Ojibway from Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba. “I believe that industry, businesses, and government have an economic and social responsibility to be committed to DEI in general and to be part of specific Indigenous reconciliation efforts.”

Last year, CN established an Indigenous Advisory Council (“IAC”), an independent body comprised of Indigenous Peoples’ representatives from across the country chaired by Ms. Roberta Louise Jamieson, OC, Kanyen’kehà:ka and the Honourable Murray Sinclair, Mizanay (Mizhana) Gheezhik.

The Council’s mandate is to provide advice to the members of CN’s Board and President and Chief Executive Officer on issues that are relevant to CN and its relationship with the over 200 Indigenous communities in which CN operates. The goals of the IAC include reinforcing diversity and inclusion through policies and procedures that reflect these values, as well as fostering meaningful and long-lasting relationships between the railway and Indigenous peoples.

Empowering Indigenous Voices - CN Railway - sustainable future

A focus on hiring Indigenous Peoples

“Our network operates across North America, including in a lot of remote communities, many of which are First Nations-owned lands,” says Trevor Pilatzke, Transportation Manager at CN and a member of Rainy River First Nations in Ontario. “We understand that there’s societal impact to be had and also a stewardship, essentially, that we are part of these communities.”

CN has eight employee resource groups to support and engage its employees, including one for Indigenous Peoples. It also strives to include Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and experience in its recruitment and retention strategies. To facilitate this, CN has worked with AMIK, a professional Indigenous engagement services company, for a decade, as well as with Indigenous Link for Indigenous sourcing and community engagement activities.

“AMIK has been a proud partner of CN on a variety of reconciliatory initiatives such as cultural awareness training, job postings, recruitment and retention, and community engagement projects,” says EJ Fontaine, AMIK’s co-founder. “Our mutually-beneficial relationship is producing innovative approaches in the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92 and has been a huge driver of change that promotes the socioeconomic progression of Indigenous Peoples across Canada.”

A wide variety of opportunities

“We’re working closely with Indigenous communities to bring forth initiatives for employment and positive societal impacts,” says Pilatzke. “We hire about 2,000 individuals yearly and we’re looking for people who have a safety mindset and are interested in rewarding and innovative roles which contribute to delivering for our customers, supporting the economy and building a sustainable future.” Pilatzke notes that career opportunities at CN range from conductors and engineers to corporate managers and IT professionals, and applicants only need a high school degree to get their foot in the door for many of the careers offered.

CN welcomes and values Indigenous candidates and has many exciting opportunities available.

Empowering Indigenous Voices - CN Railway - sustainable future
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