RBC has launched a Truth and Reconciliation Office under its new Indigenous banking banner, RBC Origins. RBC is the first major bank in Canada to launch such an initiative.

For decades, RBC has worked with Indigenous employees, clients, organisations, businesses and communities to help build a more prosperous and collaborative future together. This includes being the first major financial institution to have a full-service branch in a First Nation community in Canada in 1991.

RBC is beginning the next leg of its journey with the creation of RBC Origins. This brings together the newly created Truth and Reconciliation Office with the Indigenous Banking strategy team. This shift to RBC Origins signals the bank’s intent to apply the principles, norms and standards of a reconciliation framework to its corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.

“On this journey, I have joined several RBC executives in engaging with Indigenous leaders from across the country through listening sessions to help us better understand the needs and aspirations of their communities, as well as issues like relationship building and consent,” said Dave McKay, president and CEO, RBC.

“We are launching a Truth and Reconciliation Office under the banner of RBC Origins to integrate reconciliation work across our bank in new ways, exploring opportunities to better incorporate Indigenous knowledge, practices and principles throughout our business.”

RBC Purpose Framework: Powering Ideas for People and Planet

RBC Origins will bring to life RBC’s Purpose Framework – Powering Ideas for People and Planet. This identifies human rights and reconciliation as key focus areas for the bank. It will do this by deepening understanding of reconciliation activities and environmental stewardship practices. And honour the rich and complex heritage, origin stories, practices and principles of Indigenous communities.

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Chinyere Eni has been appointed the head of RBC Origins. Ms. Eni is a member of Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan and a second-generation member of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. The team aims to increase access to capital and prosperity of Indigenous economies through the integrated delivery of financial services to governments, not-for-profits, businesses and retail clients. The team’s mandate also supports RBC’s goals of being an employer of choice and promoting the prosperity of Indigenous communities through philanthropic ventures and procurement practices.

“For decades, RBC has partnered with First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples and communities to create positive social change and drive economic growth. To continue doing that in an impactful and relevant way, it was important for us to evolve our own team mandate, identity and approach,” said Chinyere Eni, head, RBC Origins. “We’re excited about the launch of RBC Origins, including our new Truth and Reconciliation Office. It marks a shift to collaborating with Indigenous communities in ways that are more holistic, while being accountable and transparent about the outcomes of our actions and commitments.”

RBC to develop Reconciliation Action Plan

One of the Office’s priorities is to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan. This is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 92. The Call to Action includes an appeal for organisations to commit to meaningful consultations, building respectful relationships and obtaining free and prior informed consent before proceeding with economic development projects.

“Transformation and innovation don’t always have to mean ‘net new’. History is not measured in a straight upward line of progress. We can gain so much knowledge through our experiences, stories, histories and ancestors. To solve the big, complex problems our world is facing  like inclusion and climate change  we need to surface valuable knowledge, principles and creativity from every source available,” Eni added.

RBC supports the banking needs of Indigenous communities through its nine on-reserve branches. This includes a newly opened on-reserve branch located in Enoch Cree First Nation – and six agency locations. These are led by teams of specialised Indigenous banking advisers across the country.