Aboriginal Employee Network members interviewed. On #3, they noted that workplace culture was different from the official policy documents of the Government of Saskatchewan. One person interviewed said she had experienced negative comments about the aboriginal awareness training, with one non-aboriginal employee telling her, “We never had a problem with race until this Aboriginal Awareness Training started.” Another person interviewed said they were pessimistic about real change in the Government of Saskatchewan as a workplace until the “colonial mindset” was wiped out. #5: Aboriginal employees interviewed said there was confusion among themselves as leaders of the Aboriginal Employees network and in their employers about the real meaning of the terms diversity, employment equity and representative workforce. They said as long as this confusion remained, the achievement of a representative workforce was going to be “talk:, not walk”
I’m now going to quickly review some numbers. The story from these numbers is pretty obvious. Saskatchewan is experiencing boom times, despite the recession around the world, but aboriginal people are not benefitting from the boom and in fact are falling farther behind. This chart shows unemployment levels, noting the growth in the Saskatchewan labour force in 08-09 was the tops in Canada. But if you look at the unemployment rates for northern Saskatchewan, where the population is primarily aboriginal, the unemployment rate actually increased.
I want to thank and acknowledge Doug Elliott of Sask Trends Monitor, who was not able to be with us today because he has to be in Saskatoon, but he did generously agree to give us his data and gave us permission to use it today. This chart shows the aboriginal population level in Saskatchewan according to the last census, in 2006. It was 141,890 as of 2006, and is expected to be at least 160,000 by the next census, in 2011.
The number, 141,890 represents about 15% of Saskatchewan’s total population. This chart shows that Saskatchewan has the second highest concentration of aboriginal population among the provinces, after Manitoba.
The aboriginal population across Saskatchewan is by no means equally distributed. The aboriginal population is largely concentrated in the north and north central regions. So this raises the question, how are we going to measure “success” in achieving a representative workforce. We understand for example that the Prince Albert health region has achieved a greater level of success in recruiting and retaining aboriginal employees, but are they up to 34%? Conversely, should Saskatoon and Regina consider themselves successful if they achieve about a 9% aboriginal employment level, when both those large cities serve large populations from across the entire province? Or should our standard for achieving a representative workforce be one province-wide number, like 15% Worth debating
This chart shows the education trend. It’s positive for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal populations in Saskatchewan, with more people graduating from grade 12 and more from post secondary education. But the RATE OF INCREASE for aboriginal people is not as large, which means that, overall, the gap is widening between aboriginals and non-aboriginals when it comes to education levels
This chart compares the aboriginal labour force in the three prairie provinces to the national average, and we are well behind in Saskatchewan, with less than half of the aboriginal population actually in the labour force.
Again, there are variations by city, or census metropolitan areas. The aboriginal labour force is actually much lower in the larger centres, particularly Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon and Yorkton
This is a forecast of what the labour force might look like in ten years, based on the projection of current trends. By 2020, we MIGHT have 11% of the labour force as aboriginal, still well below the 15% of the 2006 census and even further behind the projected 17-20% of the labour force that is forecast for 2020 or 2025.
In case you think this is just an important issues for aboriginal people, this chart might make you think again. The labour force is expected to continue to grow at the rate of 10,000 jobs per year, well exceeding the supply of workers.
This gap between demand and supply has already had an effect on the Saskatchewan economy, in 2007. The boom that started then could have been even larger, but there just weren’t enough workers to meet the demand, which dampened growth.
Whatever happened to a representative workforce in Saskatchewan? Larry Sanders Research Associate Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre (IPHRC) June 10, 2010
Agenda for today 1:00 – 1:30 Larry Sanders. Opening overview 1:30 – 2:15 Wayne McKenzie 2:15 – 2:45 Coffee and conversation in groups (questions to consider) 3:00 – 4:00 Collective discussion, groups will report back, facilitated by Dr. Eber Hampton. Where do we go from here? 4:00 Closing
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Overview Personal policy history Academic literature and reports on representative workforce initiatives Labour force statistics from Sask Trends Monitor Conclusions and recommendations
Representative of Ontario Coalition for Healthy Communities was keynote speaker, giving details of the manual they had produced about the complex work of building effective “partnerships” involving community organizations, First Nations and government agencies.
Victoria Gubbels, at the time working for SAHO, was the moderator of the forum. She said the regional health authorities had hired 1,900 people who had self-declared as aboriginal, out of a total workforce of about 36,000. That’s 5.27%
Panel of people involved in various aspects of trying to develop a representative workforce in Saskatchewan’s off-reserve health sector. Panel included representative from CUPE talking about aboriginal awareness training developed through a collaborative effort by union and management, Saskatoon and Regina regional health authorities talking about their strategies and programs, and a representative of SAHO talking about career pathing program.
Panel on HHR challenges faced by First Nation health organizations. L to R: representatives of Battleford Tribal Council Health Services, Gordon First Nation, Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) and First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada, Saskatchewan Region.
Representative workforce policies in action in the health sector partnerships: locally and provincially aboriginal awareness training: preparing the workplace, trying to break down myths and misconceptions, overt and covert racism supportive employee development strategies such as work preparation programs to enter the workforce, then career pathing and other supportive strategies once in the workforce
Susan Pentelichuk 2001 thesis on apprenticeship system in Sask apprenticeship system working well, for young white males. Women and aboriginal people not aware of apprenticeship as a life option or rejected it cultural, distance, and language barriers stopped aboriginal people from participating apprenticeship training model of learning from a mentor in applied context understood and accepted, but workplace learning culture seen as barrier for women and aboriginal people (“macho white male” environment) recommendation: don’t lower standards of industry, but recognize different learning styles and adapt to accept other cultures
Existing research: 2003 Klyne, Richard J. "Employment barriers and aboriginal working life: towards a representative workplace in Saskatchewan." M.V/TEd. thesis, University of Regina, 2003. Found five key barriers to aboriginal employment and retention: subtle and blatant racism; recruitment and selection processes for employment; a gap between official government policy and practice in relation to workplace diversity; very few Aboriginal people in positions involving real decision-making authority; and some confusion about what constitutes a representative workplace.
Existing research: 2007 Caverley, Natasha. "What works: effective policies and programs for aboriginal peoples of Canada." Ottawa, ON: Turtle Island Consulting Services Inc., 2007. Extensive lit review and national consultations. Best practices identified included: evidence-based strategic planning done by partnerships hiring and supporting aboriginal employee career development officers aboriginal awareness training aboriginal employee networks develop and support evaluation methods relevant to aboriginal people
Existing research: 2007 Peach, Ian. "Case study research – Saskatchewan’s approach to increasing aboriginal people’s representation in the health care workforce. Prepared by the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy for Human Resources and Social Development Canada.” Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy, University of Regina, 2007
study commissioned to learn about the “Saskatchewan model” in recognition of the “horizontal” nature of this policy issue and to document Saskatchewan’s experience in achieving some success in horizontal collaboration
key informant interviews found mostly strengths and some “lessons learned” from the SK approach:
collaborators worked well together (“soft” management skills)
allowance for flexibility in partnership so some task teams can take on specific projects without necessarily implicating or engaging entire network
recommended guidelines for horizontal collaboration projects to be funded by federal government in the future
Existing research: 2010
SMAHHR project: “Seeking models of aboriginal health human resources” received CIHR funding in 2006, signed research partnership agreement with Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) in July 2007. SAHO and Health Canada were supportive co-applicants.
Project launched to identify and elaborate indigenous ways of understanding health and indigenous ways of “managing human resources.” Project runs to September 30 2010
Key preliminary findings relevant to our discussion today:
successful partnerships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal organizations and individuals should be constructed in an ethical space, where indigenous and non-indigenous world views have equal standing, not western dominant
indigenous ways of thinking about and doing management of HR are wholisitic and focus on maintaining “good relations” and are likely exemplars for better management for everyone, not just aboriginal peoples
aboriginal employees face multiple challenges and require supports such as career pathing to overcome effects of colonialism, racism, etc.
Existing research 2010 (continued)
Summary: RWF policies and practices policy framework was based on evidence of what worked, what wasn’t working, particularly building and maintaining strong partnerships at all levels, plus taking a long-term, wholistic approach to aboriginal employment development “Saskatchewan model” seen as national best practice no clear benchmarks; still a long way to go; some employers frustrated with “touchie-feelie” approach – they believe it should just be up to training institutions to prepare employees, aboriginal or otherwise
Unemployment rates, by EI Region Saskatchewan experienced the highest yearly rate of employment growth (+2.6%, or 13,200 added to the labour force) during the 2008-09 fiscal year. This was the first time that Saskatchewan held the top rank in employment growth since comparable data were first recorded in 1976/77 Source: EI Monitoring and Assessment Report 2009 Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Annex 1.1 - Unemployment Rate, by EI Region http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/employment/ei/reports/eimar_2009/index.shtml
June 2, 2009 21 Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal Population in 2006 Excluding the population in collective dwellings, there were 141,890 persons who reported an Aboriginal identity in 2006. Approximately two thirds are First Nation members, almost all of whom are “Registered” in the sense of The Indian Act. There are about 3,000 individuals who reported that they were: Indian although not registered, Inuit, another Aboriginal identity, or a combination of these.
June 2, 2009 22 Aboriginal Population in 2006: Interprovincial Comparison Manitoba and Saskatchewan are, by far, the provinces with the largest Aboriginal populations as a percentage of the total population. Although the largest proportion of Aboriginal people in Canada live in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the highest number are in Ontario. In 2006, there were 242,000 Aboriginal people in Ontario compared with Saskatchewan’s 142,000.
June 2, 2009 23 Basic Counts: Residence in Urban Areas As a proportion of the total population, Aboriginal people are more common in Prince Albert and North Battleford. They are less common in Regina and Saskatoon and almost non-existent in southern urban centres such as Estevan and Swift Current. Among urban centres, the fastest growing Aboriginal population from 2001 to 2006 was in Prince Albert.
June 2, 2009 24 Completed Education: Changes over Time The levels of completed education are rising in the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations in Saskatchewan. The gap between the two is, however, widening. From 1996 to 2006, for example, the proportion of adults with a post-secondary education increased: from 37% to 45% in the Non-Aboriginal population; and from 23% to 29% in the Aboriginal population.
June 2, 2009 25 Employment: Interprovincial Comparison, 2006 The employment rates for the Aboriginal population are lower in Saskatchewan than in Canada as a whole or in either of our neighbouring provinces.
June 2, 2009 26 Employment Rates by Urban Area, 2006 Employment rates tend to be higher in urban areas where relatively few Aboriginal people live – Estevan and Swift Current, for example. Rates are noticeably lower in the larger centres – Regina and Saskatoon – and in Yorkton.
Composition of the Labour Force Compared with today, the labour force of the future will have more Aboriginal people, more immigrants, and more older workers. In 2009, 6% of the labour force is comprised of immigrants and an estimated 8% is comprised of Aboriginal people. An increase in the participation rates for the Aboriginal population would increase their share beyond the 11% shown here. March 22, 2010 27
Comparison of Labour Force Supply and Demand In spite of the unprecedented growth in the population and the labour force, there is still a distinct possibility that the province will experience a general shortage of workers in the future. If the demand for labour grows at 10,000 per year (the increase during the growth period of 2007 and 2008) the growth in the size of the labour force will be insufficient to meet the demand for workers. March 22, 2010 28
The recent surge in employment started in 2006. There was a slowdown in 2007 which was thought to be caused by a shortage of workers rather than a shortage of jobs. The 2.2% increase in the annual average for 2008 is the largest increase since the mid 1980s. Most of the growth happened over the summer, just before the financial crisis began in earnest. There has been little or no growth since September 2008. April 15, 2010 29 Monthly Employment Trends in Saskatchewan
Concluding thoughts and recommendations colonialism and racism have been with us for a long time, their effects are still present in the labour force, and will take a long time to defeat. Short term solutions won’t succeed representative workforce initiatives were quite likely on the right track but could have been improved and expanded, particularly with greater engagement with aboriginal leaders in designing and implementing initiatives. Current “review” process dangerous because it’s not transparent The “do nothing” option, or leaving workforce development strictly up to employers and local initiatives didn’t work before (up to 1990s) so likely won’t work in 21st century
Concluding thoughts (2) There has been quite a bit of descriptive literature published about diversity in the workplace, but “usable knowledge is in short supply” (Pitts and Wise 2010) Except for SIIT, GDI and FNUniv, training institutions don’t have representative student populations because of curriculum and accessibility issues and therefore are not producing a representative workforce. Elders tell us that “education” to be valid has to be inclusive of both western and indigenous epistemologies (Akan 1992) strategic, system-level approaches with targeted investments have been shown to work, so why not continue?
References Akan, Linda. "Pimostamowin Sikaw Kakeequaywin: walking and talking. A Saulteux Elder's view of native education." Canadian Journal of Native Education 19, no. 2 (1992): 191-24 Caverley, Natasha. "What works: effective policies and programs for aboriginal peoples of Canada." Ottawa, ON: Turtle Island Consulting Services Inc., 2007 Klyne, Richard J. "Employment barriers and aboriginal working life: towards a representative workplace in Saskatchewan." M.V/TEd. thesis, University of Regina, 2003 Peach, Ian. "Case study research – Saskatchewan’s approach to increasing aboriginal people’s representation in the health care workforce. Prepared by the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy for Human Resources and Social Development Canada." Regina, SK: Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy, University of Regina, 2007 Pentelichuk, Susan Phyllis. "Public policy in changing times: moving toward an apprenticeship training system representative of the workforce in Saskatchewan." M.V/TEd. thesis, University of Regina, 2001 Pitts, David W., and Lois Recascino Wise. "Workforce diversity in the new millennium: prospects for research." Review of Public Personnel Administration 30, no. 1 (2010): 44-69
Questions? Comments? Larry Sanders Research Associate Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) University of Regina (306) 337-2437 firstname.lastname@example.org