On September 30, all Canadians will have the opportunity to recognize and reflect on our shared history by marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The unthinkable discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Tk’emlúps Residential School this past June, and the subsequent discoveries at other schools across Canada, have undoubtedly touched all Canadians. The past few months have been deeply emotional and difficult for those impacted, including members of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, residential school survivors and their families.

For me and the entire Trans Mountain community – our 10,000-member workforce and contractors across British Columbia and Alberta – these events have challenged us all to look for ways to better understand our shared history and show our recognition for Indigenous communities across the country dealing with multi-generational traumas.

We were honoured recently to have Chief Robert Joseph, founder of Reconciliation Canada, speak with our team. He shared his personal journey, including his residential school experience, and he shared his vision to promote reconciliation by engaging Canadians in dialogue. His story resonated deeply with me, as I’m sure it did with everyone who heard him. His message of personal reconciliation was one that revitalizes the relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians in order to build vibrant, resilient and sustainable communities.

For years, I have been deeply involved with the Indigenous communities that Trans Mountain touches through our operations and our Expansion Project. I know each and every Chief and am honoured to be able to call many of them my friends. Through these relationships, the level of Indigenous involvement in our Project is unprecedented. Through job creation, procurement opportunities, partnerships and involvement at every step of the environmental process, I am confident we are creating legacies for Western Canadian Indigenous communities that hasn’t been done before.

Until recently, I never considered that what we were doing was reconciliation. Is it unconventional? Yes. We walked into every conversation with a blank piece of paper. We took the time to listen, learn and be open to a level of Indigenous involvement that most organizations hadn’t considered.

But more recently, and after hearing Chief Joseph talk about reconciliation, we realized it is exactly what we are doing. He talked about reconciliation being a shared responsibility – by governments, businesses, communities and individuals.

Each and every one of us can be a part of it. By learning about Canada’s residential school history, by encouraging dialogue, through participating in an event or simply having a conversation with your family, you are contributing to reconciliation.

Trans Mountain’s relationships with Indigenous communities are based on trust and respect. Our efforts to support the healing and recovery process with the communities along our pipeline and marine corridors will continue.

On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I encourage and challenge all Canadians to take the time to ask – how will you make reconciliation a part of your day-to-day life?

Learn more here.