Quick Train Canada is a collaborative project between the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2) and 14 colleges, cégeps, polytechnics and institutions. With funding from the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program (SWSP), the project launched in February 2023 to help equip Canadian workers with the necessary skills to lead the shift to a green economy.
As we lay the foundations for a new and greener economy, we must acknowledge that the strength of the foundation does not only come from the skills we provide our workers, but it also relies on providing all Canadians an equitable chance at being involved in our workforce and reconciling with those who have been historically excluded when building economic systems.
One of the priority groups Quick Train Canada has been working to bridge sector gaps with are Indigenous communities. The 94 Calls to Action (CTAs) released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) outline the following as a CTA for businesses:
CTA #92: We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
ii. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
iii. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
To begin addressing CTA #92, Quick Train Canada is currently offering four fully-funded microcredentials through Red River College Polytechnic (RRCP) and Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask Poly) in Indigenous relations and business development, with more coming soon. The current courses are:
- Engagement and Relationship Building with Indigenous Communities,
- Indigenous and Canadian Government Relationships,
- The Consultation Process, and
- Indigenous Business and Entrepreneurship.
Through these microcredentials, over 750 learners from across the country are being provided the knowledge and tools to better understand the laws, principles, policies and obligations to work towards reconciliation, such as the UNDRIP, the stages of the consultation framework, the skills to relationship-building and engagement with Indigenous communities and the history and heritage of Indigenous businesses as well as the challenges of Indigenous entrepreneurs.
“Accessible microcredentials are one of many approaches being developed to provide Canadian workers with the understanding of the history, policies and tools that will strengthen the relationship between businesses and Indigenous communities and stimulate the growth of Indigenous entrepreneurship in a low-carbon green economy,” said RRCP Vice-President, Academic, Christine Watson.
More broadly, microcredentials offered through Quick Train Canada are developed to address upcoming sectoral needs as identified by industry partners, and the ease of access to high-value training ensures that more Indigenous people are gaining the expertise that will allow them to flourish in a net zero economy. Approximately 6.9 per cent of respondents to a project-run survey targeting all learners enrolled in Quick Train microcredentials have self-identified as part of an Indigenous group, developing skills in areas of agriculture and agri-food, construction, clean tech, transportation and natural resources and environment.
Quick Train Canada is looking forward to continue working with post-secondary institutions and industry sectors across the country to make skill training more accessible and help advance the TRC’s Calls to Action as it related to business and education.