Grow Together

Aboriginal Engagement in Human Resource Management

There’s a (relatively) new HR Association in Canada, the Canadian Aboriginal Human Resource Management Association (CAHRMA). It was formed three years ago and is aimed at Aboriginal peoples, but is not exclusive to them. The Association was formed because many Aboriginal communities did not have a good understanding of the human resource function and, in fact, many times did not have anyone designated to handle HR. The problem with that is they were getting themselves into trouble and there was a significant cost in time, effort and legal costs associated with their lack of knowledge. CAHRMA has stepped in to help them get their HR function established, set up policies and to provide training and education. This helps them catch up with the world around them and start to compete for employment possibilities. This is not an Aboriginal issue, it is a Canadian issue. In order for Canada to get stronger and compete on a global basis, we need our Aboriginal communities involved and engaged in our economy and helping to make Canada stronger.

Many of our Aboriginal communities are at a disadvantage right from the start due to the geographic location of their communities. If there are no major centers or significant sources of employment close by, it makes it very difficult for them to build and sustain any significant level of employment within their community. The generally accepted rule of thumb for starting up a new business is location, location, location. But the Aboriginal communities are not in a position to relocate. The world of the internet has opened up some possibilities for these communities because a web based business does not have to be close by. CAHRMA has recognized this and is helping communities to reach out through the web and send resumes as well as check job opportunities in other locales. CAHRMA is also helping the communities to set up strong HR practices that support and strengthen the business process to increase both the employment and success of the community.

There are many success stories but we need more. Many of the people who helped found CAHRMA are not Aboriginal. They are senior HR professionals who understand how necessary it is to engage our Aboriginal neighbours and assist them in becoming active, successful partners in a strong and growing Canada. If you want to know more, check out Better yet, why not get involved in building this segment of our society and get engaged in building a solution.

R. David WynneMBA, CHRP, IPMA-CP