The Right Honourable Paul Martin to receive the new Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations

TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2011 /CNW/ -  The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Sodexo Canada are pleased to announce the launch of the Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations and the selection of The Right Honourable Paul Martin as the Award's inaugural recipient.

The Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations is presented to a Canadian who has personally contributed, through his or her professional and voluntary commitments, to building bridges between Aboriginal people and Canada's business community.  The recipient of the award is selected by a jury of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal business leaders.

Mr. Martin is being recognized for his work both within and outside of public service.  In particular, two recent initiatives: The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, which aims to reduce  the Aboriginal youth dropout rate and increase the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions, and the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) Fund, which he founded with his son David. The investments made through the CAPE fund seek to further a culture of economic independence, ownership and entrepreneurship amongst both on and off reserve Aboriginal peoples, through the creation and growth of successful businesses.

"I am honoured to be selected as the first recipient of the Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations," says Mr. Martin.  "It is critically important that we work together, all Canadians, to eliminate the gaps that exist between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in health, education, housing, economic development, indeed across the board. Clearly this is a moral issue, but it is also an economic issue. The discrimination with public spending against the youngest and fastest growing segment of Canada's population makes no sense."

Dean Johnson, President of Sodexo Canada, is pleased to partner with CCAB to create an award that recognizes Canadians, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, who have championed positive change for the Aboriginal community through business.  Mr. Johnson says Mr. Martin's accomplishments are commendable and that he was selected as the inaugural recipient because "his life's work demonstrates a conviction to greater opportunity for Aboriginal Canadians".

"The efforts of Paul Martin have led to real change in how business is done in Canada," says Clint Davis, President and CEO of CCAB.  "Mr. Martin has long recognized the potential of greater participation of the Aboriginal community in the mainstream Canadian economy".

The Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations will be presented to Mr. Martin at CCAB's Annual Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Gala in Vancouver on September 29, 2011.

For more information about the CCAB and an overview of the Award for Excellence, visit www.ccab.com

ABOUT Sodexo Canada: Since 1912, Sodexo Canada has been providing Quality of Daily Life Solutions that contribute to the performance of organizations and the effectiveness of employees. Now present in Healthcare, Education, Business and Industry, Government, Hotels, Sports and Leisure and Remote Site environments, Sodexo designs, manages and delivers On-Site Service Solutions that include the delivery of property management, project management, facilities management, public private partnerships, and food services.     In 2001, Sodexo Canada founded the Sodexo Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has donated more than 750,000 free meals to at risk youth in Canada.  Sodexo Canada has been working with Aboriginal communities for more than 20 years and is dedicated to building community relations and supporting sustainable youth and heritage initiatives.

ABOUT Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business: The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) was founded in 1984 by a small group of visionary business and community leaders led by Murray Koffler. CCAB is committed to the full participation of Aboriginal people in Canada's economy. A national non-profit organization, CCAB offers knowledge, resources, and programs to both mainstream and Aboriginal owned companies that foster economic opportunities for Aboriginal people and businesses across Canada.

SOURCE Sodexo

For further information:

Chris Allicock, Media Consultant
Amberlight Productions Inc.
chris@amberlight.ca
416-694-3131 or cell 416-319-8003

Angela Bishop
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
(416) 961-8663 or cell (416) 859-0389
abishop@ccab.com

Jon Kristjanson
Senior Vice President
Sodexo Canada
Jon.kristjanson@sodexo.com
877-632-8592 ext. 33250

Lucie Santoro
Administration Director
Martin Aboriginal Initiative
(514) 982 3911
lsantoro@mai-iam.ca

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