SLCC named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2024

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) in Whistler is proud to be named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2024! In its 17th year, Canada’s Best Diversity Employers recognizes employers across Canada with exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs where employees can thrive.

The award celebrates the SLCC’s unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity, embracing Indigenous traditions, and empowering its community, through cultivating an Indigenous-led, culturally aware and empowering environment for Ambassadors, working together as a family, and feeling at home at the centre.

At the core of SLCC’s success story is its dedication to prioritizing meaningful employment for its First Nations communities. With over 90 percent of its workforce from the Nations and other Indigenous communities and its board comprising of Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation leadership, the centre sets a remarkable precedent in championing Indigenous representation.

But SLCC’s commitment to diversity extends far beyond its hiring practices. In a move towards decolonization, the center collaborated with local Indigenous business – amawílc to revitalize its recruitment, onboarding, and retention processes. This partnership reflects Líl̓wat7úl ways of knowing and being and also promotes inclusivity through more accessible language and interview methods. By removing education requirements from most job descriptions and conducting interviews via phone or video conferencing, SLCC eliminates barriers posed by internet service and transportation, thus opening doors to a broader pool of candidates. The centre supports accessible employment by providing transportation to all its Ambassadors – travelling up to 4 hours a day from their home communities to work at the centre in Whistler, BC, where the two Nations meet on the shared territory.

One of the centre’s most impactful initiatives is the Indigenous Youth Ambassador (IYA) Program, a transformative platform that provides skills training and employment opportunities to Indigenous youth. With over 600 graduates to date, the program empowers young individuals to pursue meaningful employment while preserving their cultural heritage.

SLCC’s dedication to diversity is amplified through its innovative strategies and policies. The centre strives to create a culturally cognizant workplace where non-Indigenous peers and customers can learn Indigenous ways of knowing and being. By fostering relationships rather than transactional interactions, SLCC redefines the traditional service industry model, opening pathways for meaningful connections and mutual understanding.

The centre’s commitment to inclusivity is evident in its recruitment initiatives, training programs, and awareness initiatives. From investing in succession planning to increase Indigenous representation in senior management to offering cultural workshops and Indigenous language courses, the SLCC strives for inclusivity, equity and understanding.

One of the most impactful initiatives is the cultural ambassador program, where passionate individuals share personal stories and cultural experiences with visitors, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of their First Nations heritage. The SLCC extends its reach beyond its walls, offering immersive courses in Indigenous cultural awareness to local businesses, thus fostering reconciliation and understanding within the broader community.

The SLCC is committed to authentic representation in Indigenous art in the community and also in it’s art and merchandise in its gallery and gift shop, thereby providing a platform for Squamish, Lil’wat and Indigenous artists to thrive while educating visitors about the significance of Indigenous culture.

Join the SLCC in celebrating its well-deserved recognition as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers – a shining example of diversity, inclusion, and empowerment. Through unwavering dedication to authentic Indigenous representation, innovative strategies, and transformative initiatives, the SLCC enriches the lives of its Ambassadors and communities, inspires visitors and showcases a more inclusive and equitable future.

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