Reconciliation at Heart of Actionable Plan to be Developed by Laborero Consulting

Winnipeg, MB (February 11, 2021) — Following wise counsel from Knowledge Keepers, Indigenous community leaders, staff and church leaders, Siloam Mission today announced plans to develop and launch a comprehensive Indigenous Relations Strategy, led by respected external consultant, Crystal Laborero of Laborero Consulting.

“In light of recent criticism, we asked ourselves as a Board, how can we actively do better in serving our patrons, half of whom are Indigenous,” said newly elected Board Chair, Garth Manness, CEO of Credit Union Central of Manitoba.  “Today, as we commit to walking a collaborative path toward Reconciliation and healing, we acknowledge our mistakes and thank so many for helping us learn and grow as individuals and as an organization.”

Manness also extended sincere appreciation to long-time, outgoing Board Chair, Riley Coulter of Calgary.  “Our Board felt the time was right to transition the Chair to a Winnipegger with deep roots in the community,” said Coulter. “I have immense respect for Garth Manness and believe he will capably build on our Christian foundation while developing strong relationships with the Indigenous community.”

Working alongside the board and management, Laborero Consulting will engage the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in discussions that will focus on, but not be limited to:

  • Developing a formal Statement of Reconciliation, based on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
  • Acting to fulfill Siloam’s commitments in the City’s Indigenous Accord, including creating an Indigenous Advisory Council
  • Establishing a Knowledge Keeper’s Circle
  • Exploring board governance and diversification
  • Introducing Indigenous training and development
  • Establishing an accountability process to monitor and ensure progress
  • Developing actionable steps in response to the cultural competency study
  • Undertaking a reconciliation process with staff/others who expressed concerns

As Siloam transitions to a new phase in its outreach and growth, Manness announced the departure of CEO Jim Bell.  “We are grateful to Jim for his many contributions over the past four years,” said Manness, “including his efforts in helping successfully conclude our ‘Make Room’ capital campaign that led to the opening of the Buhler Centre. We thank Jim for guiding the initiatives that will better serve people who are homeless and vulnerable in Winnipeg.”

Until Siloam Mission appoints an interim CEO, the Board of Directors will provide oversight of management operations.

“The success of Siloam, over the long-term, will be based on our ability to love, honour and listen to patrons, staff, key stakeholders and the broad community in a spirit of Reconciliation.  Of equal importance, we must take action and that is what we are committed to doing as part of this serious effort,” Manness concluded.


About Siloam Mission

Siloam Mission is a Christian humanitarian organization for vulnerable Manitobans who have experienced homelessness and struggle with mental health issues, physical and cognitive disabilities, addictions or trauma, and youth who have aged out of care and are at risk of homelessness.

Founded in 1987, the mission provides emergency shelter, meals, clothing and medical care, supportive housing and a variety of services to help people progress, in order for them to reach their highest potential. Our comprehensive services help people find hope, recover and transition to build a more hopeful future.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Luke Thiessen
Communications Manager