Townfolio had the privilege of attending the 2019 Prairie Innovation Fair in our hometown of Saskatoon, SK. This year’s Fair was part of the Beyond 2020 initiative which aims to grow the “spirit of innovation and collaboration across the Public Service”. The main areas of focus for Beyond 2020 is to maintain Canada’s position as an internationally recognized leading public service by being more Agile, more Inclusive, and Better Equipped.
The presentations and discussions at the Fair focused on the importance of building connections. Working towards the inclusion of Indigenous people and newcomers to Canada was a key topic. As well, adopting new work habits that better reflect an era increasingly characterized by digital was a focus. Conversations included data applications, new workplace designs, flattering work cultures, and multiple generations working together.
This topic stood out for me:
Sean Willy, from Des Nedhe Development, gave a compelling presentation on the importance of including Indigenous people into the public sector workforce. As the largest employer in the country, the Government of Canada has a tremendous opportunity to uplift Indigenous peoples through workforce employment. This would increase the GDP of these communities, subsequently increasing the amount of capital returning to the economy. Inclusion would foster stronger connections and relations between government departments and Indigenous communities. Sean pointed out the multiplayer effects that inclusion could bring if the Government of Canada added more indigenous people into its workforce.
Killian Forbeteh, from Saskatoon Open Door Society, shared his story with the Fair. He’s had an experienced similar to many newcomers to Canada. He spoke of how he experienced culture shock when he first moved here, how difficult it was to find employment and how important it is to build and establish a network when arriving in a new place. Killian highlighted the fact that newcomers to Canada bring with them a different culture and background, and as settled Canadians, we have plenty to learn and gain from them.
A wide range of public service departments were in attendance, including; Canada, Correctional Services, CRA, Department of Justice, Environment Climate Change Canada, Parks Canada, Health Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Service Canada, National Research Council, Western Economic Diversification, Department of National Defense, Ag Canada and many more. It was wonderful to see all these Canadian public service departments understanding the need to adopt new mindsets and behaviors that will meet the changing expectations of Canadians.