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Notes for an Address by Rod Bruinooge Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians at the Signing of a Partnership Agreement between the Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative and Siemens Canada
January 24, 2007
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Thank you for that kind introduction. It gives me great pleasure to sign an Aboriginal Workplace Partnership agreement with Siemens Canada. I’m convinced that this agreement will open up a wealth of opportunities for Aboriginal peoples in this country.
The Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative secures partnership agreements between some of Canada’s leading companies and public agencies along with industry, professional and labour groups.
The initiative helps employers recruit, retain and promote Aboriginal employees. This is an extraordinarily important initiative and I can tell you that the Minister regards it as very successful, very progressive, and one where we are seeing enormous progress.Our goal is not simply to create jobs but to remove the obstacles that separate employers from employees. To maintain economic growth we must establish new beneficial partnerships. We must encourage Aboriginal youth to pursue careers in business and science and in the skilled trades and we have to continue to get the message out. Doing business with Aboriginal Canadians benefits all parties.
Canada’s New Government believes that the best way to remove economic obstacles is to recruit partners.
And few partners have more to offer than Siemens Canada.
Siemens is one of the largest companies in the world, employing more than 500,000 people in 190-plus countries. A subsidiary of one of the largest companies in the world, Siemens Canada has been active for more than a century, with 7,000 Canadians working in offices scattered right across the country, including Saskatchewan.
Under the terms of the agreement we are signing today, Canada’s New Government and Siemens Canada will work together to generate opportunities that can provide social and economic benefits for Aboriginal people, the Government of Canada and Siemens Canada. We will identify and work to eliminate those barriers in the workplace that limit Aboriginal employment opportunities, and we will support career and business development projects for Aboriginal youth.
My excitement about today’s signing has everything to do with the nature of this company and the way it conducts business.
Siemens Canada operates in several sectors that are particularly important to Aboriginal communities, such as energy, health care, Internet connectivity and infrastructure, which includes water treatment.
And a key part of the company’s business model involves setting up infrastructure, then contracting out the tasks associated with maintenance and operations.
These type of projects creates jobs right away and opens the door to other business and economic possibilities over the long term.
There are numerous other advantages to associating with Siemens Canada, as well, such as employment and training opportunities.
Given that Siemens has more than 37,000 clients in this country, Aboriginal peoples will find it easier to connect with other contractors and entrepreneurs.
And Siemens Canada’s parent company regularly develops infrastructure projects in some of the world’s most remote regions, so the skills and expertise acquired by Aboriginal peoples in this country could lead to strategic opportunities abroad.
It’s important to recognize the benefits to Siemens Canada from today’s partnership agreement.
As you well know, Canada faces a serious labour shortage as the baby-boom generation enters its retirement years. And Canada’s Aboriginal population is not only younger than the mainstream population, but also increasing at a much faster rate.
By committing to partner with Aboriginal peoples, Siemens improves access to a large and highly motivated labour force and new business partners.
I’m confident that this agreement will attract dynamic and enthusiastic new employees to Siemens Canada and it’s my sincere hope that these successes will encourage many other organizations to develop partnerships of this nature. The benefits to all parties in the form of economic success, self-reliance and the promise of a prosperous future are enormous.
On behalf of all Canadians, and Canada’s New Government, I want to thank Siemens for its commitment to Aboriginal peoples. And I encourage all Canadians to help get the message out: partnering with Aboriginal groups improves the bottom line and supports long-term growth.
Thank you. Merci.
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