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Indigenous Inclusion in Tech

Toronto Talks Inclusion (TTI) is an initiative started to create and foster conversations about stereotyping and inclusion in Toronto, building a community of people who are passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In June, TTI and Wealthsimple, a Toronto-based FinTech firm, joined forces to host Indigenous Inclusion: What’s Missing in the Tech Sector. Panelists Jace Meyer, Jarret Leaman, Krystal Abotossaway discussed the lack of indigenous representation in the Tech sector and possible steps toward building an Indigenous Relations Strategy through recruitment, business development, community engagement and investment. The panel was moderated by Althea Wishloff.

The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) since 2008 (now continued by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation) and the more recent revelations of the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girlshave left no question that a long history of institutional racism and cultural genocide in Canada is a national disgrace and there is much work to be done in order to reach reconciliation. The tech industry is not excluded from this journey and can play a role.


In Indigenous Inclusion: What’s Missing in the Tech Sector, we discussed that the lack of indigenous representation in the tech industry begins with the digital and educational divide between two distinct populations, and without intentional action from established tech firms it’s not a pattern that will change. Some of the key takeaways from the panel discussion were these main pillars of focus:

  1. Recruitment: Consistently find ways to participate in recruiting and workforce development events. You need to show that you're truly committed to reconciliation or there will be a lack of trust.
  2. Business development: Are you including indigenous businesses in your procurement? If not, small steps you can start to take are looking for caterers, artists, speakers, etc... (this particular event was catered by TEA-N-BANNOCK)
  3. Community engagement & investment: What financial or labor contributions are you making to help elevate these communities? How can you dedicate company resources to advance the workforce?

I came away from the event with my own ‘to-do’ list in order to do my small part and learn what I can do to contribute to reconciliation:

  1. Read all 94 calls to action from the TRC and think about where they fit into my everyday life
  2. Learn more about Canada’s history of treatment of indigenous communities through reading and listening to podcasts
  3. Read the summary of the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women Report

These are small steps that I can take to learn more about what I need to be doing to help ensure that I am aware, educated, and actively taking part in reconciliation.

Love your Software,
David
david@campbrain.com