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CAF-FCA welcomes first Indigenous female chair to board of directors

September 22, 2022  By Don Horne



The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Kragnes, RSE, as the Chair of its Board of Directors.  Rebecca is the Indigenous Business Relations Manager at Bird Construction.

Outgoing Chair, Lionel Railton, IUOE who served for two terms, recently noted that “Consultation with Canada’s First Nation communities has long been a critical aspect of CAF-FCA’s work, and the inclusion of Indigenous voices bring valuable insight. Having an indigenous woman sit at the head of the table will support CAF-FCA’s commitment to diversity to inclusion.”

Kragnes is a Cree-Métis woman with a passion for improving the Indigenous profile in Canada. A member of the Mètis Nation of Alberta, she was born and raised in Treaty 8 Territory in the Fort McMurray, Alta. region.

Reflecting on her historic appointment, she said, “There is a lot of conversation around the skilled trades shortage in Canada. There is also a huge opportunity to fill this gap within the Indigenous population and other marginalized and equity-deserving groups. We need to connect, train, and provide support systems to potential apprentices, educators, and employers to create space for a new diverse skilled workforce.”

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An experienced manager, skilled in relationship building, stakeholder engagement, government grant administration, entrepreneurial idea to implementation initiative planning and execution, chairing/participating in cross-functional committees, and project management. Strong leadership and business development background, with a focus on Indigenous community engagement and relationship management. An advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, specifically Indigenous and female participation in the construction industry — experienced at speaking and moderating discussions related to Indigenous inclusion and EDI.

A Red Seal Journeyperson Electrician, with more than 25 years experience in the construction industry. Her work experience includes field work, government administration and in her current role she provides executive level support as well as companywide education, engagement, and advocacy to support Indigenous equity within construction industry.

Kragnes is also a Board Director for Women Building Futures, a non-profit organization based in Edmonton, Alberta that offers programs and support services to help unemployed and underemployed women explore and connect to careers that pay above a living wage. She is diligent about improving the representation of women in skilled trades across Canada.

Channeling her firsthand knowledge of the barriers women, Indigenous people, and other equity-deserving groups face in the industry, she works with communities and organizations to promote opportunities to those groups to pursue careers in the skilled trades.

The 2022 CAF-FCA Board Elections were recently conducted and affirmed at the Annual General Meeting of Members on September 21. The following Directors were elected:

  • Jurisdiction (2 positions) – Raymond Massey, Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training; Shaun Augustin, Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission;
  • Labour – Lorna Harnum, International Union of Operating Engineers;
  • Equity – Jove Nazatul, BC Centre for Women in the Trades;
  • Employer – Shaudia Ricketts, KIEWIT Canada  Inc.; and
  • Education – Jim Szautner, SAIT.

CAF-FCA is guided by a dedicated group of seventeen volunteer Directors drawn from all corners of Canada’s apprenticeship community. Their expertise provides strategic direction, allowing staff to provide stakeholders with the resources they need to inform policies and programs that contribute to Canada’s world-class apprenticeship system. For more information, visit caf-fca.org.


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