Aboriginal-Business Connection Series 2

Aboriginal-Business Connection Series 2

The Calgary Chamber launched the first Aboriginal-Business Connection series in the fall of 2010 to share insights on how these two groups could build successful working relationships, particularly as it relates to developing Alberta’s abundant natural resources. During eight  events held throughout 2010 and 2011, a number of leading Aboriginal experts, government representatives and business leaders came together to talk about how these business relationships could be built.

The Aboriginal-Business Connection series was an instant hit. To date, it remains the most popular event program ever put on by the Chamber, with each event in the series selling out in a matter of weeks, and attendance throughout the series surpassing 1,200 people.

Based on this success, the Chamber introduced the second installment to the Aboriginal-Business Connection series in November 2012 to provide more in-depth and robust discussion on the subject of business partnerships with Aboriginal communities. The series will continue throughout 2013 with a minimum of five keynote speaking events and workshops which delve into this topic in greater depth.

Learn more by reading our submission to the Government of Alberta on First Nations consultation.

Policy Publications

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Aboriginal-Business Connection Series 2: Building and sustaining successful partnerships - Report

Past Events

Structuring equity partnerships between business and Aboriginal communities

Monday October 7, 2013
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Macleod Hall A
120 9th Avenue SE

This event is a panel.

With major energy infrastructure projects waiting to be approved, equity partnerships can help by allowing Aboriginal communities to share in both the wealth and the risk associated with the projects. 

These partnerships also encourage long-term development by looking at the relationship between service companies and Aboriginal communities. A unique aspect brought to the table in this discussion is that of investing in people equity and building capacity in Aboriginal communities.


  • Bill McElhanney, Ackroyd Law


  • Bernd Martens, Director of Environment and Governmental Relations, Grande Cache Coal Corp.
  • Rob Hunt, expert and architect of Business-First Nations Partnerships
  • Randy Ottenbreit, retired, formerly with Imperial Oil
  • Jack Toth, founder and CEO, Impact Society

Join us for a panel discussion featuring diverse perspectives that will explore how to structure agreements and build relationships with Aboriginal communities, by learning about the leading practices in similar jurisdictions.

Industry collaboration dynamics: challenges and successes

Wednesday September 18, 2013
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Macleod Hall A
120 9th Avenue SE

This event is a panel.

Projects in the natural resource sector are often so large they require a number of companies to collaborate to ensure success, and the structure of these massive collaborations can be particularly important in the unique context of working with aboriginal communities.


  • Nadine Busmann, Manager, Stakeholder Engagement and Aboriginal Relations, Nexen Inc.


  • Chief Derek Orr, McLeod Lake Indian Band
  • Dan Jepsen, CEO, C3 Alliance Corp
  • Sandi Morriseau, Team Lead Consultation and Indigenous Relations, Shell

Join us for a panel discussion exploring the actions that are critical to success, as well as the tangible dos and don’ts for how these industry collaborations should be structured, and how companies can work together to deliver the right type of benefits to the Aboriginal community they’re working with.

Aboriginal Relations Minister Robin Campbell: An update on First Nations consultation policy in Alberta

Thursday, June 20, 2013
11:30 am – 1:15 pm
Hotel Arts
119 12th Avenue SW

Alberta is now in the process of revising its First Nations Consultation Policy, which sets the requirements for industry when working with an Aboriginal community to develop a natural resource project.

Over the last year, Alberta’s Minister of Aboriginal Relations Robin Campbell has been actively engaged with Aboriginal communities across the province visiting more than 30 First Nations and all eight Métis settlements. His focus has been on building relationships and working with First Nations and Metis communities to improve economic opportunities and seek feedback on the province’s revised consultation policy.

Join us as Campbell provides a progress report on the province’s First Nations consultation policy, as well as what he is hearing from Aboriginal communities throughout the province.

Aboriginal Business and Community Economic Development

This event is a keynote + workshop.

Monday November 26, 2012
11:30 am – 1:15 pm
Hotel Arts
119, 12th Avenue SW

Join us as Calvin Helin, the bestselling and multi-award winning author of Dances with Dependency and the Economic Dependency Trap, shares his insights for enabling economic self-sufficiency in First Nations communities.

Following Helin’s presentation there will be a limited attendance workshop for 60 people, which compares different models of economic development, including band development corporations and privately run Aboriginal enterprises.

Alberta’s Aboriginal consultation policy: Launching a clear road forward

This event is a workshop.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Hotel Arts
119 12th Avenue SW

Alberta is now in the process of revising its First Nations Consultation Policy, which establishes the consultation requirements for industry when working with an Aboriginal community to develop a natural resource project.

Join us for a panel discussion that delves into several issues involving Alberta’s current consultation process, which will help to provide input into the current review being undertaken by the provincial government.

The panel will be moderated by Brian McGuigan, a lawyer with the Eagle Law Group and one of the architects of the first consultation policies for Alberta. McGuigan will be joined by a panel of experts from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan who will compare and contrast the consultation approaches utilized in each of their provinces.

Urban Aboriginal Workforce Participation: Engagement strategies for Calgary businesses

Monday May 6, 2013
11:30am – 1:15pm
Hotel Arts
119 12th Avenue SW

This event is a keynote + panel.

Join us as National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Betty Ann Lavallée discusses strategies businesses can use to engage the urban Aboriginal workforce.

Following Lavallée’s keynote presentation, there will be a panel from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm that explores the content of her talk in greater depth with representatives from social services, education and business. The panelists for this discussion include:

  • Leanne Bellegarde, Manager of Aboriginal Relations, PotashCorp
  • Keith Brown, Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, Cape Breton University
  • Tim Fox, Manager of Aboriginal Relations, Boys and Girls Club of Calgary

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