TELUS Team Members, Nathan McKirdy and Jon Warren, help residents sign-up for services at the McLeod Lake PureFibre launch event.

Connecting Canadians

Indigenous businesses at the forefront of advancing Fourth Industrial Revolution

Nov 16, 2023

(Above) TELUS Team Members, Nathan McKirdy and Jon Warren, help residents sign-up for services at the McLeod Lake PureFibre launch event.

It starts with reliable connectivity

The more we learn about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the more urgent ensuring Indigenous Peoples have fair access to economic opportunities becomes. The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the advancements in connectivity, analytics, automation and technology that are shaping the economy and peoples’ role in it.

At TELUS, we recognize that Indigenous Peoples have been historically excluded from participating in the economy due to the legacy of colonialism with many of those barriers existing today. Intentionally including Indigenous Peoples in strategic initiatives, such as delivering advanced broadband connectivity and reevaluating our employment and procurement practices, is part of TELUS’ responsibility in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action #92.

Even in 2023, connectivity remains a barrier to Indigenous Peoples’ participation in the economy. While we are proud to say that 197 Indigenous communities and more than 600 Indigenous lands (reserves and treaty settlement lands) are connected to TELUS’ world-leading advanced broadband networks, we know there is more work to be done to ensure that all Indigenous Peoples have equitable access to education, career opportunities, social and health services. Everyone needs modern connectivity -- both access and relevant skills -- to thrive in today's world. 

Additionally, without reliable access to connectivity, Indigenous Peoples will not be fairly represented in this new era of ever-advancing technology, which means they will have limited influence in the creation of the critical governance models and protections.

TELUS’ economic reconciliation strategy starts with connectivity for Indigenous Peoples as a priority, but it does not end there.

Meaningful partnerships based on reciprocity

A key principle of our Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan is to partner with Indigenous-led organizations as we develop and implement our strategy, which is why we have chosen to be a multi-year partner of the Indigenomics Institute.

Founded by Carole Anne Hilton of Hesquiaht Nation, the Indigenomics Institute invites governments, corporations and individuals to reimagine the global economy with Indigenous worldviews and perspectives at the forefront. The Indigenomics Institute hosts four annual conferences, providing opportunities for attendees to learn how their reconciliation efforts can elevate the role of Indigenous Peoples in their businesses through meaningful dialogue and connection. At TELUS, we are working to put these learnings into action, supporting Indigenous-led businesses through events like our upcoming Indigenous Partner Day and our Shop With Owners platform.

In May, TELUS had the privilege to host a reception for the Indigenomics by Design conference, which was an exciting opportunity to network with attendees and enjoy a special experience learning from Indigenous sommelier, Diana Claxton of Quw’utsun (Cowichan Tribes) and Tsawout (East Saanich). We are grateful for Claxton sharing her passion and expertise from an Indigenous lens at the reception and we look forward to working with her again in the future.

Diana Claxton, of Quw'utsun and Tsawout, at the TELUS Garden reception for Indigenomics by Design in May of 2023.

Diana Claxton, of Quw'utsun and Tsawout, at the TELUS Garden reception for Indigenomics by Design in May of 2023.

On November 22 at Indigenomics on Bay Street, Jesslyn Dymond, Director of Data Ethics at TELUS, will participate in a panel discussion exploring the topic of “Responsible AI”  with a focus on amplifying Indigenous perspectives in development of AI technology. This discussion is important for TELUS and those in attendance to hear directly from Indigenous thought leaders on the topic as we continue to navigate this emerging technology with economic reconciliation in mind. 

To learn more about the incredible the Indigenomics Institute is doing, check out their LinkedIn and website. You can also sign-up to receive TELUS’ 2023 Indigenous Reconciliation & Connectivity Report which features Hilton as she tells us more about the resiliency and power of Indigenous Peoples.