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TELUS becomes first technology company in Canada to publicly commit to an Indigenous reconciliation action plan

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Indigenous reconciliation and connectivity report outlines TELUS’ Indigenous-led frameworks of reconciliation, accountable action items, and highlights community leaders experience with connectivity

VANCOUVER, British Columbia and Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam)and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories, Nov. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, TELUS released its 2021 Reconciliation and Indigenous Connectivity Report, an evolution from the annual connectivity report that shares inspiring stories of the transformative benefits that connectivity brings to newly connected Indigenous communities. This year’s report also includes TELUS’ first-ever Indigenous reconciliation action plan. Guided by Indigenous voices and Indigenous-led frameworks of reconciliation, TELUS has proudly formalized our commitment to reconciliation, becoming the first technology company in Canada to develop and launch a public Indigenous reconciliation action plan.

In 2021, TELUS connected 48 Indigenous lands to our advanced broadband networks and 382 Indigenous lands to the transformative power of 5G. In support of our continued efforts to connect Indigenous communities to the life-changing power of high speed internet and mobility solutions, TELUS developed its Indigenous reconciliation strategy and Indigenous reconciliation action plan through an inclusive, culturally relevant process. The plan was guided by Indigenous voices and frameworks of reconciliation, and leverages our core competencies with an emphasis on meeting the needs of the diverse Indigenous communities in the areas we serve. TELUS hosted two rounds of engagement over 18 sessions with Indigenous leaders, Elders, subject matter experts, and Indigenous team members from across our serving areas, and we are committed to having this manner of engagement as a cornerstone of TELUS’ actions moving forward.

“At TELUS, we have a longstanding dedication to working collaboratively with Indigenous Peoples through meaningful engagement to provide world-leading connectivity, tools and resources that enable unique community, social, economic, and governance goals as showcased throughout the report,” said Tony Geheran, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for TELUS. “We take our responsibility very seriously, and we are becoming more intentional in our commitments to reconciliation through both strong relationships and supporting the recommendations of Indigenous-led frameworks for reconciliation including Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 10 Principles of Reconciliation and the 94 Calls to Action, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 231 Calls to Justice, focusing on creating a better company and contributing to positive generational changes in communities.”

TELUS’ Indigenous reconciliation action plan identifies four pillars where we believe we can drive meaningful change and includes measurable targets and timelines for each. Our short-term action plan targets include:

  • Connectivity: Connecting an additional 20 communities to broadband by 2023

  • Enabling social outcomes: Launching the $1 million TELUS Indigenous Communities Fund, which provides grants of up to $50,000 to Indigenous-led organizations focused on mental health and well-being, language and cultural revitalization, access to education, and/or community building

  • Cultural responsiveness & relationships: Working with Indigenous educators to develop and deliver e-learning material and ensuring learning opportunities and resources are available and accessible to TELUS team members

  • Economic reconciliation: Achieving Bronze Progressive Aboriginal Relations status by demonstrating sustained leadership in our commitment to working with Indigenous businesses and prosperity in Indigenous communities by 2024

In 2022, an Indigenous advisory council consisting of Indigenous leaders, subject matter experts, and Elders within our serving areas will be established to provide ongoing advice and guidance on the implementation of TELUS’ reconciliation actions. To ensure Indigenous ways of knowing are implemented throughout the organization, the advisory council will monitor the progress of TELUS’ Indigenous strategies and provide guidance for effective implementation of TELUS’ commitments and targets outlined in the annual Indigenous reconciliation and connectivity report and internal Indigenous reconciliation action plans. Every year, the Indigenous reconciliation action plan will be evaluated and refreshed in collaboration with the Indigenous advisory council.

“Indigenous peoples have struggled for 150+ years due to the imposition of the written system on our traditional oral system. Through understanding Indigenous Ways, I believe reconciliation can be achieved,” said Elder Reg Crowshoe, former Piikani First Nation Chief, Treaty 7. “I’m happy TELUS is looking in the direction of reconciliation while learning from Indigenous knowledge. Their understanding of our ways will make it so that their goals and our goals as Indigenous peoples are the same”

“Discrimination against Indigenous peoples has happened for 150+ years. We are willing to share our knowledge to support reconciliation,” said Rose Crowshoe, Elder, Piikani First Nation, Treaty 7. “TELUS is listening to the things we are sharing and I am glad that they are trying their best to do the right thing – especially through ongoing dialogue with Elders and knowledge keepers to learn the truth of our people.”

To further our commitments, TELUS has embarked on the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’ Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification program, the premier corporate social responsibility program with an emphasis on Indigenous relations.

“TELUS’ commitment to an Indigenous reconciliation action plan exemplifies the four pillars of CCAB’s Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program: Leadership Actions, Employment, Business Development, and Community Relationships,” said Tabatha Bull, President and CEO of Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. “Embarking on the PAR program requires an entire organization to continually focus on Indigenous inclusion in all facets of day-to-day business. The establishment of an Indigenous advisory council signifies a willingness to recognize, to listen, and to learn how to affect constructive and meaningful change within TELUS that can have a positive impact for Indigenous business and communities. We look forward to the continued journey with TELUS as we grow the Indigenous economy based on mutual respect and shared prosperity.”

In addition to the Indigenous reconciliation action plan, the report shares stories of connectivity from Indigenous communities and the projects and benefits that have been made possible by reliable connectivity. Stories vary from utilizing modern technology to maintaining culture through language classes, to supporting wetland rehabilitation to local, community based job creation and training opportunities. The report also highlights TELUS’ collaborations with communities and Indigenous organizations with an emphasis on supporting, developing, and expanding programs that look beyond connectivity to enable social outcomes for communities for longer-term prosperity and success.

By the numbers:

  • 240 Indigenous communities serviced by TELUS

  • 80,000+ people living in Indigenous communities with access to our TELUS PureFibre network

  • 91 Indigenous communities and 151 Indigenous Lands connected to TELUS PureFibre/Coax

  • 382 Indigenous lands connected to 5G in 2021

  • 48 Indigenous lands expanded or connected to in 2021 to support social, economic, and education outcomes

Quotes from community leaders featured in the report:

“Tl’etinqox is what is considered a remote community by mainstream Canadian society. In partnership with TELUS and with funding from the All Nations Trust Company's Pathways to Technology project, our community was upgraded to fibre optics in 2020. Since contact with European settlers, there have been detrimental effects to our community through government legislation and policies which essentially has segregated us from the rest of the world. We have as a nation, been working hard to have our inherent Tŝilhqot’in rights and title recognized in this country for decades,” shares Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair, Tŝilhqot’in Nation and Chief, Tl’etinqox Government. “We have had monumental successes in our fight for the right to be who we are on our traditional lands and I anticipate many more milestones to achieve for full recognition. Proper connectivity is important for our current and future generations to continue the work of our Ancestors to be a strong, sovereign nation of Tŝilhqot’in Peoples.”
Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair, Tŝilhqot’in Nation, Chief, Tl’etinqox Government

"Maintaining pride in the Tŝilhqot’in identity and ensuring community members across all generations have access to ongoing, quality educational choices is of utmost importance," says Chief Francis Laceese, Tl’esqox Government "Additionally, engaging our members who are living in locations across Canada has become possible through connectivity. Intergenerational knowledge from our community can now be shared easily, regardless of location through our ongoing partnership with TELUS."
Chief Francis Laceese, Tl’esqox

"Our women have courage and they are starting to learn professions that were traditionally reserved for men,” says former Chief Mary Mark, Pakua Shipu. “Connectivity has made it possible for them to raise their ambitions, providing a way to stay connected with the rest of the world, while keeping both feet firmly planted on the sandy, isolated shores of our very own and unique Pakua Shipu."
Former Chief Mary Mark, Pakua Shipu

To learn more about our commitment to reconciliation and to read the 2021 Reconciliation and Indigenous Connectivity Report visit telus.com/reconciliation.

About TELUS

TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with $16 billion in annual revenue and 16 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. We leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. In 2020, TELUS was recognized as having the fastest wireless network in the world, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better. TELUS Health is Canada’s leader in digital health technology, improving access to health and wellness services and revolutionizing the flow of health information across the continuum of care. TELUS Agriculture provides innovative digital solutions throughout the agriculture value chain, supporting better food outcomes from improved agri-business data insights and processes. TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT) is a leading digital customer experience innovator that delivers next-generation AI and content management solutions for global brands across the technology and games, ecommerce and FinTech, communications and media, healthcare, travel and hospitality sectors. TELUS and TELUS International operate in 25+ countries around the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly.

Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to contribute more than $820 million and 1.6 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com, follow us @TELUSNews on Twitter and @Darren_Entwistle on Instagram.

For more information, please contact:
Sacha Gudmundsson
TELUS Public Relations
sacha.gudmundsson@telus.com


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