At Bench, we believe the change we want to see can start with our own actions. As part of our ongoing work to identify and dismantle systems of racism and discrimination within our workplace and industry, Bench Accounting is excited to announce our partnership with the First Nations Technology Council, alongside Microsoft, SAP Canada, and Pagefreezer, on the Moving Beyond Inclusion: Partnerships and Reconciliation Project.
The First Nations Technology Council
The First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) is an Indigenous-led not-for-profit mandated by all 203 First Nations in British Columbia to ensure that Indigenous peoples have the tools, education, and support to thrive in the digital age.
From the fundamentals in digital literacy to web development, data analysis, and GIS mapping skills, the FNTC prepares Indigenous learners for careers in the digital economy in a way that respects and honors Indigenous history, cultures, and worldviews.
Moving Beyond Inclusion: Partnerships and Reconciliation
The Moving Beyond Inclusion project, launched in 2021 by the FNTC, is designed to advance reconciliation by decolonizing corporate systems and transforming the innovation, technology, and technology-enabled sectors, both provincially and across Canada.
“We’ve seen that a lot of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work does not have enough emphasis on cultural safety and systems change to make a tangible impact,” said Lauren Kelly, Director, Sector Transformation at the First Nations Technology Council. That’s how Moving Beyond Inclusion was born.
We saw a need to do more than focus on inclusion and design actions grounded in reconciliation with an Indigenous lens.
“The work we’re doing is advancing reconciliation by creating corporate cultures and environments that make space for Indigenous worldviews, culture, and thought-leadership. We are doing this work in service of Indigenous peoples to increase influence, leadership, and self-determination in the digital age so we can design what our digital future looks like for ourselves,” said Denise Williams, Technology Council CEO. "In the process, we’re tackling racism and exclusion in the tech sector head-on, both on a provincial and national scale.
The ripple effects of this will likely be seen and felt internationally. We’re disrupting the status quo.
Transformation at Bench
Bench is committed to the ongoing work of becoming an anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization. In the same breath, taking responsibility for the role we must play in the work of reconciliation and decolonization can feel daunting. We have so much gratitude and respect for the work and generosity of the First Nations Technology Council and the Moving Beyond Inclusion: Partnerships and Reconciliation Project. The Technology Council’s strategic and wise guidance is invaluable to us in these early days of what we know is a long journey ahead of us—one we are unwaveringly committed to.
The FNTC, along with partners Chastity Davis-Alphonse, Shelley Joseph, and Reciprocal Consulting, will support Bench in developing a strategic and coordinated, actions-based approach to identifying and addressing barriers that prevent Indigenous persons from accessing employment at Bench and having a positive experience in their role.
Bench and the Technology Council are aligned in their vision of increasing opportunities and leadership of Indigenous peoples in the technology and innovation sectors, developing a deeper understanding of race bias in these sectors, and creating tangible responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions while advancing meaningful reconciliation in a demonstrable way.
For more information on the Moving Beyond Inclusion project, please visit their website: technologycouncil.ca/MBI