Truth and Reconciliation micro-credential aims to transform workplaces


Learn about the Truth and Reconciliation at Work micro-credential.

B.C.’s First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) knows there are tech jobs available for Indigenous people with the proper training — indeed, it provides such training.

But it also knows from its experience and research that the tech industry, like other industries, don’t always feel welcoming to Indigenous staff.

That’s why FNTC is partnering with Royal Roads University Professional and Continuing Studies and Deyen (Chastity Davis-Alphonse) to educate employers so they can transform their workplaces and create safe spaces for Indigenous colleagues.

Building on a relationship that goes back to 2017 and includes joint development of a network technician program, FNTC and RRU are co-creating a micro-credential focused on Truth and Reconciliation in the workplace, and how to move beyond inclusion.

“More and more people are participating in their own learning around truth and reconciliation, and I think more and more companies are learning what it might mean to respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” says Lauren Kelly, First Nations Technology Council’s senior director of programs. “We had more companies reaching out to us saying, ‘What do we do? How do we do it?’”

To begin, she explains, there needs to be understanding about the history and issues around colonialism and systemic racism. 

That directly links to Call to Action #92, which addresses the corporate sector in Canada, calling on companies to: “Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”

Which is where the new Technology Council and RRU micro-credential begins. Kelly says it’s reflective of FNTC’s own research into workplaces, which shows microaggressions, covert forms of racism and emotional labour weigh heavily on the shoulders of Indigenous workers. 

A labour market study by the Tech Council showed that just four per cent of employers said they thought workplace discrimination or bias, or experiences of racism were a deterrent for Indigenous people working in their company but 45 per cent of Indigenous respondents said that’s something they had experienced or expected to experience.

So, while some organizations emphasize diversifying their workforces, that’s not the whole answer.

“If we just focus on hiring, we’re not going to see change,” says Kelly, noting if you don’t build a culturally safe environment, employees will leave.

That is why the focus of the micro-credential is on transformation rather than inclusion.

“Inclusion, to us, means ‘We want you to come but we’re not going to change the underpinnings of our system.’ What we’re after is transforming those systems so not only does Indigenous talent have a better experience, but everybody does. Because we’re centring humanity, we’re centring relationships, we’re centring people over profit.”

Currently, the first cohort is halfway through the first course of the micro-credential, titled,  Bringing Into Balance: The Role of the Individual in Truth & Reconciliation, and Kelly notes, “It’s head learning and heart learning at the same time.”

“Our ongoing partnership with the First Nations Technology Council has been a marvelous learning opportunity,” says Zoe MacLeod, RRU’s associate vice president, Professional and Continuing Studies, noting that RRU believes in the transformative power of education and the impact it can have on fostering inclusivity and understanding.

“Working together,” she adds, “we are co-creating a micro-credential that goes beyond mere diversity efforts. We are dedicated to helping employers create safe and culturally responsive workplaces that embrace the principles of truth and reconciliation."

About FNTC: The First Nations Technology Council is an Indigenous-led non-profit mandated by First Nations leadership in British Columbia that works to advance digital literacy, improve internet connectivity, and provide guidance on data and digital technology for all B.C. First Nations.

Learn all Royal Roads Professional and Continuing Studies has to offer.