Canada and Alberta sign Aboriginal employment partnership agreements with two of Alberta's largest employers

    EDMONTON, March 9 /CNW/ - Canada's New Government and the Province of
Alberta today signed partnership agreements with the City of Edmonton and
Capital Health to promote career and employment opportunities for Aboriginal
    The agreements were signed by the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and
Non-Status Indians; the Honourable Iris Evans, Alberta Minister of Employment,
Immigration and Industry; His Worship Stephen Mandel, mayor, City of Edmonton;
Al Maurer, manager, City of Edmonton; and Joanna Pawlyshyn, vice-president and
chief operating officer, Royal Alexandra Hospital.
    Although there are two separate agreements with the City of Edmonton and
Capital Health, both are similar in that they commit the organizations to the
recruitment and retention of Aboriginal employees, including educational and
training opportunities. Each reflects and fosters fairness, inclusiveness,
respect and honour for diverse traditions and perspectives, open
communication, trust and consistency of approach.
    The agreements are part of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's
Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative (AWPI), a program that promotes
the participation of all Aboriginal peoples - First Nations, Métis and Inuit -
in the labour market.
    "To promote meaningful participation of Aboriginal people in the
workforce, Canada's New Government is proud to be partnering with some of
Canada's leading companies, public agencies, industry, professional and labour
groups," said Minister Prentice. "By signing these agreements, we are working
to ensure that employers can recruit, retain and promote Aboriginal employees,
which results in a win-win situation."
    The Government of Alberta's Aboriginal Policy Framework emphasizes the
well-being, self-reliance, and rights of Aboriginal people. Through
partnerships with all levels of government and private and public sector
organizations, the framework seeks to meet the needs of all Aboriginal people
in the province.
    "By strengthening Aboriginal employment in the health care system,
Capital Health is improving the well-being of Aboriginal people," said
Employment, Immigration and Industry Minister, Iris Evans. "The City of
Edmonton has the second largest urban Aboriginal population in Canada and its
participation in the agreement affirms the city's commitment to Aboriginal
    The City of Edmonton's priority for building relations with Aboriginal
people is evident in City Council's declaration "Strengthening Relations
between the City of Edmonton and Urban Aboriginal People" and in the
administration's Edmonton Urban Aboriginal Accord relationship agreement with
the Aboriginal community.
    "The city has been moving forward in its relationship building with
Aboriginal people and toward its goal of hiring and retaining more Aboriginal
employees. The AWPI agreement provides the city with a solid foundation on
which to do this," said Mayor Mandel.
    "With the recent creation of the Aboriginal Relations Office and with
Human Resources hiring an Aboriginal Outreach staff member, we expect to see
more Aboriginal people considering work and pursuing a career with the city.
And we are building a work environment that will welcome and sustain their
involvement in our workforce."
    Capital Health has identified increasing capacity to recruit and retain
Aboriginal workers within its workforce as one of the key priorities within
its Aboriginal Health Program's strategic plan. As part of the agreement, the
health region is committed to advancing a plan to increase the number of
Aboriginal people in healthcare occupations.
    "Capital Health is honoured to be a part of AWPI," said Pawlyshyn. "We
are committed to fostering a safe, supportive work environment and ensuring
constructive cultural relations so that we can recruit and retain Aboriginal
people. Participating in an agreement that is supported nationally,
provincially and locally will bring additional diversity, strength and
innovation to Capital Health."

    This release is also available on the Internet at



    The Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative (AWPI) is a partnership
initiative of the Government of Canada, committed to increasing the
participation of Aboriginal peoples in the labour market. Initially launched
in 1991, its mandate was renewed and enhanced in 1996.
    Its goal is to educate and inform employers about the advantages of
hiring Aboriginal peoples. The initiative strives to raise awareness of
Aboriginal employment issues; increase the capacity of employers to recruit,
promote and retain Aboriginal employees; and promote information-sharing and
networking among stakeholders.
    AWPI recognizes that Aboriginal employment is a complex issue, requiring
a flexible approach. It supports a wide variety of activities to assist those
committed to Aboriginal employment. These activities can be easily tailored to
meet specific needs.
    Today's agreements are with two of Alberta's largest employers.


    The City of Edmonton is Alberta's seventh largest employers with more
than 10,000 employees and operates in a number of diverse business areas
including: transportation, planning and development, asset management and
public works, community services, corporate business planning and corporate
    Edmonton is home to more than one million people and the global port to
more than $100 billion in northern oil sands development, Alberta's capital is
an economic powerhouse offering the nation's best combination of business
opportunity and quality of life. Edmonton leads the world in healthcare
research and innovation, education, and environmental stewardship.


    Capital Health is one of the largest integrated health regions in Canada
and is proud to be one of the country's top-rated health systems, known
internationally for groundbreaking innovations and advances in medicine.
    In 2004 Alberta Venture Magazine recognized Capital Health as one of
Alberta's top five most innovative organizations in its survey "Alberta's Most
Respected Corporations." Capital Health was the only public sector
organization on the list. Alberta Venture magazine has ranked Capital Health
number one in its Top 50 Not-For-Profit and Charitable Organizations in
Alberta, based on revenue, assets, number of employees and clients served.
    Capital Health provides complete health services to one million residents
in the cities of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and St.
Albert; and in the counties of Leduc, Parkland, Strathcona and Sturgeon (and
communities within their geographical areas), as well as the Town of Devon and
communities in the eastern part of Yellowhead County.
    Capital Health also serves a total of 1.6 million people across central
and northern Alberta, providing specialized services such as trauma and burn
treatment, organ transplants and high-risk obstetrics. It also provides
specialized services to N.W.T., the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut and to small
numbers of people from northern B.C., Saskatchewan and the Yukon.
    Capital Health is Alberta's largest employer, with more than 30,000
employees. In addition to emergency and acute care, its employees provide home
care services, outreach programs, continuing care, public health, specialty
clinics, mental health services and many rehabilitation and prevention

    Several other agreements have been signed including:

    -   A partnership agreement signed Jan. 24, 2007 with Siemens Canada
        Ltd., one of the largest and most diversified companies in the world,
        providing innovations in areas such as automation and control, power,
        transportation, medical, information and communications, and
        lighting. In Canada, Siemens is headquartered in Mississauga, Ont.,
        with more than 7,500 employees located in 76 offices and seven major
        manufacturing facilities.

    -   Two agreements signed Nov. 24, 2006 in Nova Scotia with the Nova
        Scotia Nurses' Union and the Trucking Human Resource Sector Council
        to improve opportunities for Aboriginal people in these two sectors.

    -   In 2004, an agreement was signed with the Brandon (Manitoba) Regional
        Health Authority that has led to improvements in human-resources
        planning and delivery of health-care services. In the past three
        years, the number of Aboriginal employees at the authority has
        increased four-fold.

    -   In 2003, an agreement was signed with Michelin and the Province of
        Nova Scotia. Today, one out of every four new employees at the
        company is an Aboriginal person.

    -   An agreement - with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE),
        Canada's largest union - led to new language in collective agreements
        reflecting a shared commitment to foster welcoming workplaces for
        Aboriginal peoples.

For further information:

For further information: Deirdra McCracken, Press Secretary, Office of
the Honourable Jim Prentice, (819) 997-0002; Kelly Payn, Communications,
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, (780) 495-2840; Jason Gariepy, Assistant
Communications Director, Alberta International, Intergovernmental and
Aboriginal Relations, (780) 415-0876; Gary Dyck, Communications, City of
Edmonton, (780) 496-8676; Ronna S. Bremer, Director, Public Affairs, Royal
Alexandra Hospital, Community Care, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics and Mental
Health, (780) 735-5111

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