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Developing a meaningful Indigenous engagement strategy for our community partner

Whitchurch Stoufville Hero
Located about 50 kilometres north of Toronto, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville sits on the treaty territory of the Williams Treaties First Nations, one that is shared historically with the Anishinaabeg peoples, the Wendat and the Haudenosaunee. The town is a lively, fast-growing community that acknowledges the history of the land and the contributions of all Indigenous peoples, and the commitment to follow through with the promise of Truth and Reconciliation.

As part of this promise, the town sought a path towards transformative reconciliation with the Indigenous community, one that would rebuild trust and respectful relationships through an ongoing process of transparency, collaboration and true societal change.

To guide this effort, they retained our Project Leaders Infrastructure Advisory team to develop a reconciliation and engagement plan. We developed a framework with strategies to strengthen Indigenous engagement within the community, one that aligns the town’s future efforts and decisions with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

In developing the framework, Colliers used a strategic approach centred in human rights methods, starting with five building blocks: Inclusive Peace, Human Rights, Consultation, Collaboration and Broad Engagement. We identified 17 prioritized recommendations and a roadmap to achieving their objectives, and consulted on the most effective key messages and communication methods.

Our project also touched on the principles of dispute resolution to enhance local perspectives and surface the lived experiences and everyday aspirations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We knew that to move forward on this project, we had to hold ourselves accountable among stakeholders engaged in the reconciliation process and the communities
they serve.

We facilitated consultations with the Williams Treaties First Nations, led focus groups and public sessions, conducted a public survey, completed three Council interviews and held multiple meetings with the Town’s project committee.

Our final report landed in December 2022, complete with meaningful recommendations and backed by due diligence to ensure it would serve the town well in the future.


READ 2022 Canada Impact Report