Sudbury Conference makes wide strides for Indigenous business – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – February 8, 2018)

Procurement, Employment and Partnerships Conference and Tradeshow highlights progress and lingering issues between Indigenous communities, business and government

There have been great improvements in relationships between Indigenous people, governments and companies, but there’s still more work to be done, say those who attended a first of its kind conference. For many, merely having a conference like this is a giant step in the right direction.

Hundreds packed the conference rooms at the Sudbury Holiday Inn for the inaugural Procurement, Employment and Partnership Conference and Tradeshow on Feb. 6 and 7, to listen to experts talk about their experiences, how things have changed, and what issues still need addressing.

The conference was organized by Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and presented by SNC-Lavalin.

The inspiration behind the conference, according to Tuesday’s emcee Stephen Lindley, vice president, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs for SNC-Lavalin, Inc., was talks surrounding plans for the Ring of Fire and how to broker better relations between communities in the area, help build a better supply chain when it becomes and active mine site, as well as what they have to do in the meantime.

“We are using the time we have right now to get organized,” he said. “It quickly turned into a conversation around three elements. Procurement, how people will purchase goods and services. Employment and training, how are we going to get people ready, so we have capacity and ensuring we have the skilled trades that we need to do the work that’s going to be done.

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