In 2019, members from Pearson Canada Higher Education and School division content development teams met to discuss how to authentically and appropriately include Indigenous voices and perspectives into Pearson’s resources. This meeting resulted in a decision to form an internal Truth and Reconciliation Circle to respond to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
In the fall of 2020, Pearson Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Circle established four goals (listed below) and after much research, invited eight Indigenous leaders (First Nation, Inuit, and Métis), to become part of an Indigenous Advisory Circle to help Pearson Canada develop an Action Plan for Reconciliation.
The members of the Truth and Reconciliation Circle have been meeting throughout 2021 to establish ways of working that will support Pearson’s response to the Calls of Action by integrating Indigenous truths, perspectives and traditional knowledge into the organization with an emphasis on the following:
- Leadership: Provide all Pearson employees with access to Indigenous education & learning to ensure Indigenous traditional knowledge and perspectives are embedded into the organization, its policies, practices, procedures, and published content.
- Employment via Human Resources: Review staffing practices, policies and procedures and address new developments & enhancements that provide Indigenous access & equity.
- Community Relations and Engagement: Cultivate & strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals to develop employee engagement opportunities, activities & events.
- Community Investment: Build connections and strengthen external and internal partnerships and relationships with Indigenous peoples, and communities.
Four Goals of the Action plan and its implementation, as guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Circle of advisors:
- Build knowledge and appreciation of Indigenous histories, cultures, and perspectives
- Build a diverse and inclusive professional culture with open and transparent communication
- Be transparent and accountable for Pearson’s participation in Truth and Reconciliation
- Continue a journey towards reconciliation, with a focus on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #92:
- We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
ii. Ensure that Aboriginal Peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
iii. 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.
The proposed action plan will be fine-tuned over 2021 and presented to Pearson Canada’s Senior Administration by end of 2021 for phase 1 of implementation in 2022.