Year in Review
Below are highlights from the 2022 Year in Review Pt. 2: Truth and Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Identifying and Addressing Systemic Barriers
In January, the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan was approved, with Reconciliation, Diversity, and Inclusion as a Council Priority area. Administration is working with local organizations in Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC), people with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities. The goal is to better understand their needs and address the inequities they experience, specifically related to hiring and retention; public engagement; and Council-appointed committees, boards, and commissions.
Later in the year, the People’s Bridge Advocacy presented their report identifying systemic barriers to City hiring and recruitment, Committees of Council, and public engagement. The report makes 24 recommendations to address those barriers specifically with the Black community.
The United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been approved by City Council and work is underway with partners to determine the right pathway for implementation. Much of the City’s work on Truth and Reconciliation is already aligned with UNDRIP, and the City will now use this as the primary framework for work partners moving forward.
Urban Reserve Creation and Opening
Late in the year, Pelican Lake First Nation became the 9th Urban Reserve in Saskatoon. Saskatoon continues to be a leader for Urban Reserve creation, following the first urban reserve with Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in 1988. The economic development project that Pelican Lake is taking on, with the acquisition of Adam’s Lumber, will provide continued growth and opportunity for the First Nation within Saskatoon.
Kahkewistahâw Landing also began phase one in the fall of 2022, featuring a gas station and convenience store in the Hampton Village area. Phase one also includes a car wash and commercial properties. In total there are plans for 15 buildings in the next 5 years at this business park.
The City supported the campaign initiated by the Saskatoon Tribal Council entitled #ActOnReconciliation. It keeps momentum going after the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by encouraging participation in actions towards Reconciliation. On the last Friday of each month in 2022, an action was promoted that residents could participate in.
Orange Banner Project
In partnership with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, the Survivor’s Circle, and Reconciliation Saskatoon, the Orange Banner Project was unveiled in the leadup to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This project created nearly 250 orange banners with messages of Reconciliation that were installed on light posts. The initiative was an opportunity to continue building awareness in a visible way and to create a sense of community among everyone working towards Truth and Reconciliation
Helping Ukrainians from Afar
Since the invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, the community stepped up in a big way hosting events, fundraisers, sending supplies, and even inviting displaced Ukrainians into their homes. The City of Saskatoon has had a sister city relationship with Chernivtsi since 1991 and helped participate in the Unite for Ukraine rally hosted in May that raised $250,000 to send needed humanitarian supplies to Chernivtsi. Later in the year, storage space was made at the old bus barns to store household goods and furniture for distribution to displaced Ukrainians coming to Saskatoon.
Have Tea with Me – Promoting a culture of inclusion
The City of Saskatoon partnered with the University of Saskatchewan to create a project that shares the stories of refugee communities in Saskatoon as a way for residents to become more familiar with their neighbours. This video shares the stories of two refugees from Afghanistan shortly after moving to Saskatoon, inviting the viewer to have tea to learn more about them as a way to offer the human story of why people are coming to Saskatoon.