January 7, 2022 / All Stories, Company News, Featured, Indigenous, Mercer Celgar, Mercer Forestry Services, Mercer Peace River, Sustainability Continuing on Our Journey to Reconciliation in Mercer Reconciliation is a journey and, at Mercer, it is a journey that we hold ourselves accountable to. 2021 truly brought reconciliation to the forefront of the conversation in Canada. Though we have practices within Mercer for meaningful consultation and developing progressive relationships, we must build on our commitment and advance this vital process to improve opportunities to support truth, healing, inclusion, equity, and education. “Mercer’s commitment to positive relationships and meaningful inclusion is a commitment to transformational change. Our leaders are empowered to challenge our thinking, take bold action, and adapt our approach – taking our core value of DE&I and transforming it into real, positive, and lasting results.” -David Gandossi, President and CEO, Mercer International Inc. Mercer is grateful to have experienced and knowledgeable partners to help illuminate the path. As we move into the new year, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight an existing and growing partnership of ours, as well as provide updates on the two new partnerships previously introduced – all of which are dedicated to supporting this journey and creating a brighter future for generations to come. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Truth is at the heart of reconciliation; it is hard work that takes incredible dedication. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is an organization that has dedicated itself to the truth. Shedding light on the truth, to them, means working closely with survivors; collecting and preserving records of residential school experiences, and providing a place of learning and dialogue. This work honours the lives lost, the survivors, their families, and the communities – all while educating the public about this tragic legacy and how to be an active participant in reconciliation. The NCTR programs focused on community healing, classroom learning, youth leadership, and nationwide public education are truly inspirational. Our partnership with the Centre is rooted in respect and a desire to become deeply engaged in this vital process by taking the lead from the experiences of those most impacted. Mercer is deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with the NCTR. We look forward to supporting their important programs and learning from them as we work wholeheartedly to advance reconciliation. On behalf of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the Survivors, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Mercer International and its employees for your commitment and partnership with the NCTR. The NCTR has been gifted the spirit name bezhig miigwan which, in Anishnaabemowin, means “one feather.” Just as each feather of the eagle must be treated with care and respect, we know that every Survivor deserves to be heard. Every child deserves to grow up in a Canada in their culture and ceremony with respect and pride. And every one of us has a part to play. Your generosity is a beautiful expression of your commitment to reconciliation, and we welcome you on our journey. -Stephanie Scott, Executive Director of the NCTR Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) 2021 was Mercer’s third year in partnership with OYEP, hosted at the Mihkowapikwaniy Cultural Camp at Lubicon Lake, Alberta, in Treaty 8 territory. OYEP is a nationwide initiative that creates equity and opportunity for Indigenous youth – building pathways to education, training, and work opportunities. Participants (known in the camp as ‘rangers’) are immersed in a culturally supportive, natural resource-focused camp environment with opportunities to learn important skills which include safety training, interview skills, financial literacy, and maintaining work-life balance. OYEP’s 2021 Closing Ceremony This past season, 18 participants from 11 communities joined and graduated from the program. The youth worked for a collective 5,184 hours towards earning their First Aid certificates, chainsaw certificates, and a total of 284 high school credits. This year also marked an important milestone, with its first-ever Crew Leaders in Training at the local camp. These four individuals have completed two seasons of training and have now graduated into leadership roles with the OYEP team. Mercer is so proud to have the opportunities to engage with the OYEP rangers; in 2021, two of Mercer Peace River’s team members were more than happy to guide the group on a field tour. Engaging these Indigenous youth in land-based learning in this type of environment allows them to work towards their careers in forest stewardship by building on their knowledge and dedication to the sustainability of the landbase. The positive impact of this partnership is growing each year, and we look forward to working with and learning from these young leaders in the future. Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures Program Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a core value at Mercer. Our new partnership with Indspire – a national, Indigenous registered charity – is key to accelerating our efforts to create a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future. Removing the deeply rooted and complex barriers faced by Indigenous peoples to completing post-secondary education is a major step to achieving equity. Mercer is proud to have a partnership that invests in the education of Indigenous people, enabling their success through financial awards, resources, and role models. Through our partnership with Indspire, we will invest in bursaries for four students per year – awarded to Indigenous students in British Columbia and Alberta with demonstrated financial need to attend post-secondary institutions, including those with a focus on skilled trades and power engineering. Our investment will be matched by the federal government, extending the support that these students will receive. This impactful program also facilitates access to mentors and other resources to champion student success during their post-secondary years. “The work that Indspire does to support Indigenous students in their educational journey is an excellent match with our values and our goals. Supporting the success of Indigenous peoples will result in the inclusion of more Indigenous talent at Mercer and in the forest products sector.” -Jenna Strachan, Indigenous Relations Superintendent, Mercer Peace River Success for Indigenous students means success for their families, their communities, and for all Canadians. We look forward to inviting the first round of applicants in January 2022, supporting the success of students, and building toward brighter futures for us all.