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 January 7, 2000 Volume 7, Number 8


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University enters into partnership to increase its aboriginal workforce

The U of S took a firm step towards increasing its aboriginal workforce Dec. 20, when Pres. Peter MacKinnon and Saskatchewan Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jack Hillson signed an agreement to develop a partnership for aboriginal employment at the University.

MacKinnon told a news conference in the Biology Building atrium that though the U of S has had an employment equity plan since 1992, there has been no significant increase in aboriginal people working at the University.

The percentage remains at just one per cent of the U of S workforce, when it should be at 12 per cent if it reflected Saskatchewan’s aboriginal population, MacKinnon said.

"We have to be much more vigorous, and I think we have not done a good job of that," the U of S president said.

At the news conference, Hillson said this is the 20th such partnership being launched between the government, aboriginal groups, and organizations like Crown corporations, health districts, and private-sector employers.

Hillson said the partnership approach – including analysis of the workplace, cultural awareness training, and other measures – has proven successful.

"This program is working," Hillson said, adding an aboriginal newspaper says it "is setting new sector benchmarks in Canada".

MacKinnon said the U of S "will identify opportunities on campus" for aboriginal people in all job categories – and "we expect to see marked progress".

Under the partnership, the University and the government will work with aboriginal groups, the community, and unions to develop programs promoting constructive race relations, aboriginal employment, and an action plan setting out short- and long-term strategies.

"This province simply doesn’t have a future if we don’t do something about [aboriginal employment]," Hillson told the news conference.

U of S Pres. Peter MacKinnon tells a Dec. 20 news conference he is committed to increasing the number of aboriginal employees on campus.

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