CBTU Launches Virtual Indigenous Training for the Construction Industry

18 Jun, 2020

Ahead of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) is pleased to announce the launch of Virtual Indigenous Training. Developed under the workforce development program, Build Together, this training is part of our ongoing efforts to address hidden and systemic barriers to underrepresented groups within the construction industry. This comes at a time when citizens of Canada, and across the world are calling for action and real change to end racism.

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions are committed to making a career in the skilled trades open for everyone. Virtual Indigenous Training will create an opportunity for our members and employer partners alike to increase their awareness and understanding of Indigenous Peoples, cultures and customs,” said Lionel Railton, Canadian Executive Board Member, CBTU and Canadian Regional Director of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). “It is through this investment in education that we can more clearly understand the challenges that exist for underrepresented people that enter the skilled trades, or are seeking an apprenticeship. I am proud that IOUE Local 870 in Saskatoon, is the first to offer this training for all members, and look forward to seeing it grow.”

In June 2009, the Government of Canada declared the month of June National Indigenous Month; prior to that, June 21 was designated as National Indigenous Peoples Day. Both provide an opportunity to reflect on the deep history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. CBTU, in our ongoing efforts to honour the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, has developed Virtual Indigenous Training.  Under Build Together, CBTU has been working to address systemic barriers for many years.

Virtual Indigenous Training is offered through four modules; each of which can be customized to a unique audience and region. The training will provide meaningful ways to improve understanding and relations in the workplace and explore ways to recruit the next generation of workers. The modules are meant to create a base line understanding of the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, provide context on current situations taking place within the construction industry, and prepare course participants with career development tools.

“The Virtual Indigenous Training will offer a path forward to better understanding, and equality within the construction industry; but the lessons learned through this training can be applied to all facets of life and allow for a meaningful way to improve understanding and relations with not only Indigenous Peoples, but with people of all races,” said Lyle Daniels, Inclusion Manager of Build Together and from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan. Daniels will deliver this new training, and has facilitated similar training for Building Trades affiliates and contractor partners in the past.

Railton summed up by saying, “Virtual Indigenous Training is a tool we can use to help people better understand, respect and work with each other to build a stronger Canada. The skilled trades offer a lifelong career that is available for everyone. This training, combined with opening up job opportunities up for underrepresented groups through the application of community benefit agreements on publicly funded projects will make a difference to Indigenous Peoples for now and well into our future.”