In 2017, we started on a focussed journey to improve our office’s cultural agility and to support respectful engagement with Indigenous organizations, communities and individuals. We did this in response to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action and the Tsilhqot’ in Supreme Court Decision.
We have carefully and thoughtfully developed an internal strategy, with invaluable input and advice from a number of Indigenous individuals. The first step was to develop cultural agility training and to encourage all of our staff to participate. We built a two-part training program with the intention of supporting our staff to learn on both an emotional and intellectual level. 86% of our staff participated in at least one of the training sessions in 2018/19.
We offered more intensive training sessions to staff members who directly engage with Indigenous peoples through their audit work. We involved Indigenous individuals in the delivery of all in-house training.
We also developed guidance for staff on how to actively include Indigenous perspectives and voices in our work, how to deliver an appropriate territorial acknowledgement and how to engage in reciprocity through gift giving and food sharing. To get started, we set a day aside to meet with a small group of Indigenous leaders and sought their advice on how to support our staff in building cultural agility. The guidance that we developed reflects their voices.
The work to date is a first step on our journey in building greater awareness, sustained learning and cultural agility as an office. Our strategy and areas of focus will evolve over time, as we learn through our own experiences and bring more Indigenous voices into our work. The guidance will also evolve over time.
If you would like more information on our experience in developing our Indigenous Relations Strategy, including the guidance we have developed, you can reach us at: IRS@bcauditor.com.