SaskPower: Raising the bar for Aboriginal relations
A social performance case study from the 2014 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report, Engaged for a Sustainable Future.
In 2013, SaskPower executed a five-pillar strategy to integrate its Aboriginal relations mandate across all of its business areas, a ‘whole company’ approach that is helping the organization create new educational, employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples, communities, and businesses touched by its operations.
All business areas across SaskPower helped execute more than 20 corporate initiatives over the past year. The results of these efforts included:
- Purchasing $13 million of goods and services from Aboriginal vendors as a result of a new Aboriginal procurement policy
- Establishing Canada’s first master agreement between a power utility and the First Nations Power Authority for the establishment of a portfolio of First Nations-led power generation facilities
- Recruiting 15 full-time, permanent Aboriginal employees (approximately five per cent of new hires)
- Helping 51 Aboriginal Peoples complete training programs so they can be involved in future SaskPower projects
- Providing $1.2 million to Aboriginal education programs
- Contributing more than $60,000 to 21 Aboriginal events across Saskatchewan.
The 2013 participants from the Island Falls Hydroelectric Station High School Graduate Program. Pictured from left to right: Corey Bear, Clorrissa Morin, Marianne McCallum, Reina McCallum. Picture courtesy of SaskPower.
A commitment to partnership
These projects were made possible through dozens of community consultations and by committing to formal, documented partnerships with several different Aboriginal communities. For example, engagement with eight First Nations groups, one tribal council and a commercial association led to the creation of three new formal partnerships with Aboriginal communities, as well as the initiation of a fourth partnership outlining how SaskPower will work together with that community over the next three generations. One-on-one interactions are also incredibly important; last year, four SaskPower employees volunteered to mentor four Aboriginal youth from a local inner-city elementary school.
By developing and improving the competency of Aboriginal relations across all of its business functions, as opposed to relegating it to a single business area, SaskPower is aiming to not only optimize its impact on Aboriginal communities but also to raise the bar on how power utilities across Canada can successfully engage with Aboriginal Peoples.
Use the menu at the right to read more member success stories and case studies from the 2014 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report, Engaged for a Sustainable Future, or get the PDF here.