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Our journey to truth and reconciliation

Land acknowledgement

BDO Canada began in Treaty One Territory, on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, and Dakota peoples, and is the national homeland of Red River Métis. We respectfully acknowledge that BDO offices across Turtle Island are located on the traditional, treaty, and unceded territories of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.

Our commitment to truth and reconciliation

At BDO, we honour the true spirit of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and recognize the deep-rooted traumas of the past. We are dedicated to learning the truth from Indigenous communities and partners and committed to moving forward in allyship with meaningful purpose and intent.

BDO is invested in a sustainable future where the land, culture, and traditions of Indigenous Peoples are celebrated, honoured, and respected. Our commitment is reflected in the valuable relationships that we have and continue to build with our Indigenous partners.

A collage of illustrations depicting Indigenous-inspired scenes like a drumming ceremony and a talking circle involving people in Indigenous and non-Indigenous clothing, signifying unity.

A message from our leadership team

Our firm is on a transformative journey of truth and reconciliation. By honouring the wisdom, resiliency, and courage of those who came before us, we embrace our responsibility to forge a future rooted in understanding and healing. Our commitment to reconciliation is a journey that requires humility, empathy, and sincerity. We’re taking actionable steps forward, guided by meaningful dialogue and input from our firm’s Indigenous Pillar Leads and external advisors.

—Bruno Suppa, CEO

—Mike Abbott, Managing Partner, Markets & Industry, and Indigenous Pillar Executive Leadership Team Sponsor

An illustration of three people in a rural setting, one wearing an Inuit-inspired shirt and another wearing a ribbon skirt.

Calls to action for truth and reconciliation

We align our truth and reconciliation journey with the calls to action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. These are a guiding light for how the corporate sector can contribute to honouring and commemorating Indigenous rights. 

Among the 94 calls to action, our greatest potential for impact is in the following two recommendations:

In this call to action, the corporate sector in Canada is urged to adopt and apply the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation in corporate policy and core operational activities.

This includes meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and informed consent. It would also encompass equitable access to jobs, training, and education for Indigenous communities, as well as education for corporate management and staff on the history of Indigenous Peoples.

This call to action urged the federal government to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday, and it was marked as an official federal statutory holiday on Sept. 30, 2021. This day publicly commemorates the history and legacy of residential schools and honours survivors, their families, and communities. However, not all provinces and territories have recognized it as a statutory day of observance.

An illustration of four people in a talking circle. One person is wearing a Métis sash, two are wearing modern clothing, and another is in a wheelchair.

How we’re acting on reconciliation

Our commitment to truth and reconciliation took a formal shape in 2019 when we started developing a strategic approach to these vital issues. After reflecting on our goals and journey, we established an internal steering committee to chart our path forward. The Indigenous Steering Committee is guided by meaningful dialogue with and contributions from our Indigenous employees.

The council has advanced our truth and reconciliation journey through the following initiatives: 

Commemoration is vital to the reconciliation process. To give our people the space to participate in educational and commemorative events, we are providing a firm-wide day to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30. This is a time for us to reflect on the long history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and commemorate the resilient spirit and strength of the Indigenous children, families, and communities affected by the legacy of residential schools.

We partnered with Indspire, a national Indigenous not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals through education. As a pivotal step in this collaboration, we proudly sponsored the 2024 Indspire Awards, a prestigious event celebrating and recognizing Indigenous accomplishments across Canada. We look forward to building future initiatives and collaborative efforts with Indspire as part of our ongoing relationship.

In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we engaged Design de Plume, an Indigenous and women-owned creative agency, to craft diverse and culturally responsive visuals that reflect our firm values and amplify the rich narratives and heritage of Indigenous communities. Their expertise will help guide the aesthetic of our campaigns centred around truth, reconciliation, and Indigenous causes, encouraging consideration toward every piece of content being created with respect, authenticity, and the voices of those with lived experience.

Our understanding of truth, reconciliation, and Indigenous perspectives is consistently evolving as we actively listen and learn. Throughout the year, our National DEI Advisory Council shares resources, organizes events, and provides engaging ways to support reconciliation efforts. Some of these initiatives include:

  • Our Podcast Sharing Circle discusses important topics such as residential schools, survivor stories, lived experiences, and intergenerational trauma.
  • Our Indigenous Book Club inspires our people to read books from talented Indigenous authors.
  • In commemoration of Orange Shirt Day (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), we partner with Indigenous artists and companies to design imagery that represents our journey of reconciliation. Our people are encouraged to wear orange shirts to bring awareness to the harmful legacies of residential schools in Canada.
  • We host firm-wide webcasts that feature Indigenous community members who share their stories, wisdom, and traditions. We are proud to have invited internal allies who work in Indigenous communities, talented Inuit throat singers, an Indigenous women’s drumming circle, and prominent Indigenous speakers.

An illustration of the same person dressed two different ways, signifying the Two-Eyed Seeing concept. In one, they are wearing Indigenous clothing and the other, a t-shirt and jeans.

Empowering Indigenous communities and organizations

We strive to deliver practical solutions and actionable strategies tailored to the needs of our Indigenous clients, supporting their self-governance, efficiency, and success.

We approach our work and interactions with the guiding principle of Two-Eyed Seeing , a concept introduced by Mi'kmaw Elder Albert Marshall which emphasizes the importance of seeing from two perspectives—the strengths of Indigenous and Western knowledge systems. Working collaboratively with Indigenous communities, we aim to help balance financial and operational needs with respect for their values, culture, and traditional way of life.

An illustration of a drumming and smudging ceremony, symbolizing the connection between people and the spiritual world.

Our journey continues

Our leaders are committed to continuous learning, building a foundational cultural awareness of the Indigenous Peoples, and reflecting on how our firm can be a better ally.

We are taking steps to engage a pan-Canadian Indigenous advisory circle to continue a meaningful consultation for formalizing our Reconciliation Action Plan. In this collective journey of growth and understanding, our commitment to learning, cultural awareness, and allyship will guide us toward a more inclusive and compassionate future.

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