Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Opportunities Committee chair Joe moses speaks at Intercity Mall Tuesday morning.
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Using status cards is not always a positive experience for shoppers.
Delays in processing a purchase can be uncomfortable for the person using the card as other customers start to line up behind them.
"That sometimes can be time consuming and often can be frustrating so we just want people to understand why that process is important," Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Opportunities Committee chair Joe Moses said.
Some businesses just aren't aware of the cards, others have even been known to refuse people trying to use them. So the Chamber has launched a decal campaign in order to raise awareness and educate local businesses on a process that Moses said is the law.
"There are situations where experiences haven't been positive and I think it probably stems from the fact that not everybody is fully aware and understands the impacts and the rules and regulations around the rights of Aboriginal people as consumers," Moses said.
With up to $383 million contributed to the local economy by First Nations people every year, showing the Status Cards Welcome sign can help local businesses with an important part of Thunder Bay's customer base.
"Like any business you want to make sure that your customers are being looked after," Moses said.
NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said it's the businesses' loss if they don't have a system in place with properly trained staff to handle status card transactions.
"You hear sort of anecdotal stories like that that, people may not feel as welcome at certain places, which is I think really unfortunate. It's the merchant or business owner that loses out because stories like that get out and if a business has a reputation for that then people won't go there," he said.
The campaign originally started a couple of years ago. Fiddler said he mostly hears positive things about First Nations shopping in Thunder Bay but there's always room for improvement.
"It's gotta go beyond more than just having a sticker at the place of your business," he said. "It shouldn't be a hassle for First Nations customers going to a store."
Moses said the chamber plans to follow the campaign up with workshops and educational seminars.
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