October 17, 2023 — FortisBC Energy Inc. and FortisBC Inc. (collectively “FortisBC”) has been awarded silver-level designation in Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) from the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB). The PAR certification program is an internationally recognized, Indigenous-led program that confirms corporate performance in Indigenous relations at the bronze, silver or gold level. Earning a PAR designation marks a significant achievement in FortisBC’s long-standing commitment to fostering strong, respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous communities.

“The Silver level standing is a testament to the commitment of integrating a good foundation with results over a period of time, and we commend FortisBC for this accomplishment,” said Luanne Whitecrow, director, PAR Program, CCAB. “Their dedication to positive Indigenous relations was evident throughout the process and in particular, embedding Indigenous relations as a key pillar of their overall corporate strategy.”

Becoming PAR certified is a multi-year process of implementing action plans and targets in the four areas of business development, leadership actions, employment and community relationships. As a premier corporate social responsibility program, an independent, Indigenous third-party verifies company reports on measurable outcomes and initiatives in all four areas. These verified reports are then reviewed by an independent jury of Indigenous business leaders who assign the final certification level. This rigorous process assures Indigenous communities that a company is a good business partner, a great place to work and committed to prosperity for Indigenous communities.

FortisBC has a long history of engaging with First Nations. In 2001, FortisBC worked with many Indigenous leaders to develop its statement of Indigenous principles. Following that groundbreaking work, FortisBC sought to formalize its engagement and initiatives through the CCAB program. FortisBC began the PAR certification program in 2019 and engaged with the 58 Indigenous communities it serves to set meaningful performance benchmarks in each of the four key areas. For example, more than 90 per cent of employees completed Indigenous Awareness Training in 2022, exceeding the company’s goal of 85 per cent.

Williams Lake First Nation was one of the many communities FortisBC engaged with during the process.

“We would like to congratulate them for this achievement and commend FortisBC for their work in this area,” said Chief Willie Sellars, Williams Lake First Nation. “FortisBC takes the time to know and understand our community, our people and our vision for the future. It’s by developing a true relationship that we’ve built the trust needed to undertake important economic initiatives together.”

Participating in the PAR process also involved strong leadership and participation from FortisBC’s executive team. In fact, meeting measurable targets in Indigenous relations is now also tied to corporate performance metrics and by extension, executive compensation.

“We’re grateful to the many Indigenous friends, colleagues, community members and business leaders that guided us on this journey. Their input was invaluable in strengthening our business practices and ensuring they align with the interests of the Indigenous communities we serve as well as the best practices recommended by Indigenous business leaders,” said Roger Dall’Antonia, president and CEO, FortisBC. “The process provided valuable learnings and opportunities for improvement. We see this as an ongoing journey and look forward to making ongoing progress in this area.”

FortisBC is one of 24 prominent corporations that the CCAB designated as PAR certified this year and joins more than 200 PAR-certified organizations from across of Canada. For more information about FortisBC’s commitment to Indigenous relations, visit fortisbc.com/indigenous and for more about the PAR certification program, visit ccab.com.