Grand Circle of Commitment
for the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Quebec’s economy
ADOPTED DURING THE GRAND ECONOMIC CIRCLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND QUEBEC
IN TIO’TIA:KE (MONTREAL) ON NOVEMBER 26, 2021
In 2006, elected officials and representatives of the First Nations and the provincial and federal governments met in Mashteuiatsh as part of the First Nations Socioeconomic Forum. The commitments, initiatives and partnerships that resulted from this important event helped give impetus to the socio-economic development of the First Nations, an effect felt for many years. Fifteen (15) years later, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) and the Government of Quebec jointly organized a new major economic event, bringing together elected officials and representatives of the business communities of Indigenous peoples and Quebec.
On November 25 and 26, 2021, this Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous Peoples and Quebec brought together, at the Centre Sheraton Montreal, hundreds of political and economic leaders to discuss the objective of ensuring the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Quebec’s economy.
By participating in this Grand Economic Circle, these leaders had the opportunity to be part of a historic event, held in a spirit of reconciliation and whose impact will help lay the foundations for the creation of wealth for, by and with the Indigenous peoples.
This event is not an end but rather the beginning of a movement that we want to see spread throughout all regions of Quebec and across all sectors.
Therefore it was resolved to adopt this Declaration and encourage organizations and businesses to adhere to it to ensure the realization of a broad movement of support for the self-determination of Indigenous peoples and their full participation in Quebec’s economy.
Concerned by the fact that Indigenous peoples have remained on the sidelines of economic and social development in Quebec for too long, which has prevented them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in according to their own needs;
Aware that the current socio-economic context of the Indigenous peoples does not allow for individual or collective development, in particular to eliminate the enormous gap that separates the living conditions of Indigenous people from those of Quebecers;
Recognizing that all Quebec civil society organizations and businesses share a responsibility for improving the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous peoples;
Convinced that the economic growth of Indigenous peoples has a beneficial effect not only for their communities but also on all of Quebec and its regions;
Convinced that business partnerships and alliances constitute a success factor for the future of Indigenous communities, with an equally beneficial impact on the Quebec economy;
Guided by the principles of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples;
Let us be part of this Grand Circle of Commitment by endorsing this Declaration.
By endorsing this Declaration, we agree to be part of the Grand Circle of Commitment, a movement for the full participation of Indigenous peoples in economic and social life in Quebec. Consequently, we commit to the following:
- Recognize that Indigenous peoples form distinct Nations, each with its own history and culture, free to choose their means of economic and social development, through representatives they themselves have chosen according with their own procedures.
- Also, recognize the existence of ancestral and treaty territories, which are of fundamental importance for Indigenous peoples and the sustainable development of their communities.
- Take an active part in the reconciliation movement by encouraging the participation of various civil society players, including the business community.
- Play an active role in raising the standard of living in Indigenous communities, particulary by contributing to their economic growth and by developing projects that meet their needs.
- Consult and cooperate in good faith with the Indigenous peoples concerned before adopting and implementing any measure which may affect their rights or interests.
- Prioritize the conclusion of agreements with Indigenous peoples as a tool to ensure the full participation of communities in economic growth.
- Endorse the strengthening of business relations between Quebecers and Indigenous peoples as part of an approach that is beneficial for Indigenous communities and that they constitute a lever for both economic and social development.
- Adopt incentives to stimulate investment in Indigenous communities and businesses, to increase the creation of jobs and training intended for Indigenous women and youth.
- Recognize the contributions of Indigenous peoples to the Quebec economy and their ability to be an integral part of the solution to alleviate the labour shortage that Quebec is currently facing.
- Ensure equitable representation of Indigenous people in the workplace, including investing in the recruitment and retention of Indigenous talent, support for their professional development and advancement, and the promotion of the mobility of Indigenous employees in all sectors and employment levels.
- Combat all forms of racism or discrimination against Indigenous people, particularly in matters of employment or working conditions.
- Publicize and share the commitments made and success stories and other positive actions that contribute to providing examples to be followed for other businesses and organizations, with particular attention to providing role models for Indigenous youth, women and entrepreneurs.
- Agree to hold regional Grand Circles and meet again at the provincial level within five years to take stock of the progress made and discuss new commitments to pursue the vision that inspired this Declaration.