In British Columbia and in Canada, steps towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples has moved to the forefront of government, industry and social priorities. In 2019, the Government of British Columbia passed Bill 41, which officially implemented into law in the province the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Reconciliation is defined as a long-term commitment rooted in Canada’s pledge to build a renewed relationship with its Indigenous peoples that are based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
At Grieg BC, we strive to follow the same commitment and path to reconciliation every day with Indigenous peoples, partners and communities along the coast where we work and live.
“It is important to us as a company to respectfully appreciate the rich history, knowledge and rights of coastal Indigenous peoples, while acknowledging that we operate our farms, hatcheries and offices on their traditional lands and waterways with their permission,” says Rocky Boschman, Managing Director of Grieg Seafood BC.
“To us, reconciliation means going beyond the engagement required by our regulators. It means changing – changing how we communicate, how we involve our Indigenous partners in our operations and, most importantly, how we think and act as a company, and therefore we added the Director of Reconciliation position at Grieg BC.”
OD Hansen – New Director of Reconciliation
In February 2020, Grieg BC welcomed OD Hansen to our family in the new role of Director of Reconciliation. Hansen will connect with coastal Indigenous communities then liaise with Grieg BC’s employees to help us move towards a better understanding of the importance and purpose of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, as well as UNDRIP.
This is the first role of its kind in the BC salmon farming industry, one that works to shift workplace culture internally by working with Indigenous communities externally.
“This position will be an educational tool so that everyone has an appreciation of where they are and why they’re here,” says Hansen. “We should appreciate that we are allowed to be here. It’s important to have that appreciation because then we can build relationships and partnerships that work for everyone, as opposed to a process where you check off the exercise of) consultation and have no regard for the desires of the Indigenous peoples.”
“The onus is now on industry as well as government to keep [reconciliation] going, to keep showing that you’re serious about working with Indigenous communities, about listening to them, and following up on it. Taking their advice and requests and doing something with it.”
Hansen’s first task with Grieg BC was working with the Indigenous & Community Relations department to host five members of three partner Nations on an Indigenous Summit to Bergen and Stavanger in March 2020.