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Chuck Rumsey, President and CEO, Ecotrust Canada

A mid-year update from our President and CEO (2023)

Chuck Rumsey, President and CEO, Ecotrust Canada

As is our custom, the end of June is when we publish our annual report for the previous year. It’s often an interesting point of reflection on the challenges and opportunities we’ve faced and the tangible change that resulted from our efforts. As you will read in those pages, 2022 gave us plenty to reflect on, including,

  • Our difficult decision to close down our urban farming project in Prince Rupert, in part to allow us to focus more directly on partnering with the Metlakatla First Nation in launching an innovative Regenerative Ocean Farm;
  • Our efforts to elevate job training and skills development in our strategies, such as the technical training and certification for local community members as energy advisors and heat pump technicians;
  • Launching new tools to support community decision-making, such as the Indigenous Housing and Homelands Toolkit, which First Nations are using to design housing economies that are culturally appropriate, sustainable, and meaningful to people in place;
  • Authoring the First Nations Carbon discussion paper with the BC Assembly of First Nations. The report, published online, provides First Nations with insights on their rights with respect to carbon, and how carbon finance can work for them, all while their lands contribute to mitigating global climate change; and
  • Our “all hands on deck” response to the record-breaking salmon return on the Skeena River, where our North Coast fisheries team worked around the clock in three different sockeye fisheries, supporting nearly 50 fishing vessels from July to August. A massive effort that we dearly hope is once again necessary this year.

There are other aspects of the past year to celebrate, such as strong revenues and a healthy, balanced, financial position. And perhaps most satisfying — a growing team of talented and dedicated people eager to work on building an economy that provides for life.

The past is a useful reference point, but now it’s time to turn toward the present and the years ahead. It is, after all, a pivotal time for Ecotrust Canada.

We are finalizing our next 5-year strategic plan. As part of that effort, we released our Reconciliation Framework, which articulates the structural, policy, and everyday changes we will make at our organization to advance Indigenous Reconciliation and self-determination. We are also embarking on a new journey to develop a comprehensive Learning Agenda — an approach to monitoring evaluation that will support our decision-making. Equally critical is the way in which a Learning Agenda will help us, and you, understand how the diversity of our programs come together to prove it’s possible for economies to meet the needs of people in a just, equitable, and sustainable way.

This year also marks an important re-investment in working with, and being present for, our community partners. For example, this summer, we look forward to being back on the ground with Wahkohtowin Development and the communities they represent in the Northeast Superior Region of Ontario. Meanwhile, our support for the Five Nations Fishery on Vancouver Island has never been stronger. Likewise, we remain committed to the incredible work of the Metlakatla First Nation as they develop a critical hub for regenerative ocean farming on BC’s North Coast. There are also emerging partnerships to be celebrated, not the least of which is a new commitment between ourselves and the Nuxalk Nation to explore how several of our program priorities can, in concert, support their journey toward self-determination.

These advances and commitments are all part of a coordinated response to prepare Ecotrust Canada for a future where our values, approach, strategies, and people will be needed more than ever. To meet that future head on in the months ahead, we look forward to sharing our new strategic plan with you as we build collective energy and optimism around proving the possible.

Chuck Rumsey, President and CEO

[Published June 29, 2023]