At dentsu, we want to be champions for a corporate Canada that recognizes and values First Nations, Inuit and Métis histories, cultures and knowledges.
This vision for Reconciliation is grounded in our commitment to meaningful progress and our mission to be a force of good – with and for communities, our people and our clients.
Our vision for Reconciliation centers on:
- Using the power and reach of our industry to help share stories of the true history of Canada, within our borders and beyond.
- Creating a workplace that invites and supports Indigenous talent, and opens doors for Indigenous people to pursue a career in our industry; and,
- Supporting our clients in developing inclusive brands that incorporate respectful, authentic, and meaningful Indigenous representation.
Part of this journey has been focusing on the learning and unlearning of Indigenous history through the launch of a cultural awareness training program that has delivered 4 workshops in 2023, covering important topics anchored in the teaching of the Indigenous medicine wheel and seasons as a guide to our learning. Our learnings have included sacred healing rituals, land acknowledgements and understanding how to build meaningful relationship with the Indigenous community. We’ve also deepened our awareness through an inclusion campaign that promoted awareness, learning, and engagement during National Indigenous History Month.
We've made progress by building accountability to illustrate meaningful intent and we’ve formed partnerships and worked with Indigenous consultants, Creative Fire, to make sure indigenous voices were part of our reconciliation plan and journey.
We’ve created a purposeful, ambitious, and sustainable Reconciliation Action Plan, that we’ve proudly developed with an expert, indigenous-owned, firm. To lead our collective Reconciliation journey, we’ve formed a working group to steer this work and to keep our company and internal stakeholders accountable. We’ve also updated our supplier diversity policies to prioritize spend with Indigenous suppliers.
We are starting to build relationships with Indigenous organizations by working with Indigenous student associations in Universities and aiming to participate in our first Indigenous career fair this year.
Since we undertook this journey, we have learned a lot – including deep lessons on humility. We set out to achieve 16 big ambitious goals for this year alone with an aggressive timeline, and we have achieved 10 of them so far. We have learned that progress is made at the speed of trust, and our partners have taught us that building trusting relationships takes time.
We have also faced challenges in our journey; some have been internal – not having enough capacity and resources to dedicate towards achieving all our commitments. Still, we are looking forward to identifying more Indigenous Nations or Groups to develop future partnerships with as well as collectively recording 50 days of volunteering with Indigenous organizations by dentsu members per year.
With all of the work we’ve achieved, we still have lots more to do: we expect to establish a membership with the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) by the end of the year, we will be developing and promoting an Indigenous cultural fluency guide within dentsu, and we aim to have Indigenous talent enroll in our Media Excellence Program (an early careers program owned by the Media Service Line) when it launches in the near future.
As we continue to work towards completing the goals set out in our Reconciliation Action Plan, we acknowledge these actions do not erase the past but we hope to inspire others within our industry to commit to a similar journey towards Indigenous Reconciliation.