With Ontario and the Federal Government looking to renew relations with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples and overcome years of social, cultural and economic injustice, the question of how these changes will occur and what will drive them looms large in today’s discourse. Despite facing numerous challenges, Aboriginal Canadians have great potential for economic empowerment and advancement, a potential that the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and its President and CEO J.P Gladu are eager to fulfil.
We met with J.P. at Queen’s Park to discuss his fascinating career, the work of the CCAB, and the future of Aboriginal Canadians in our country’s economy. A member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek on Lake Nipigon, J.P. grew up in Thunder Bay where he followed his family’s background in forestry to start his own career the natural resources sector. Today, J.P. has become a leader in the intersection of government, industry, and Aboriginal relations through his work as President and CEO of the CCAB and service on the boards of a number of education, industry, and policy organizations. In November of last year, J.P. was appointed to the Board of Directors of Ontario Power Generation which we are proud to have as one of OLIP’s lead sponsors with our meeting being J.P.’s first introduction to our programme.
J.P. spoke with great enthusiasm and pride about the work of the CCAB. Since its inception in 1982, the CCAB has provided support to Aboriginal Canadian businesses through programs such as its Certified Aboriginal Business program to empower Aboriginal entrepreneurs and business. As well, the organization also operates programs that facilitate positive and sustainable relations for Aboriginals with the wider business sector such as its Progressive Aboriginal Relations program that encourages companies to participate in the growing Aboriginal business economy. Through its programs, the CCAB seeks to advance Aboriginal economic self-reliance and empowerment while ensuring the survival of Aboriginal cultural traditions. With Aboriginal Canadians contributing approximately thirty billion dollars to Canada’s GDP and that figure expecting to increase as our Aboriginal population grows, the work of the CCAB is critical to securing our shared economic and social future as Canadians.
We would like to thank J.P. for meeting with us and discussing both his amazing career and work of the CCAB!