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Section II — Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Strategic Outcome: The Government

Program Activities 2006–2007
Financial Resources*
($ millions)
Human Resources*
(Full-time Equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
Governance and Institutions of Governance 641.8 667.0 645.1 389.9 324.1 (65.8)
Co-operative Relationships 250.0 240.8 184.3 503.1 419.6 (83.5)
Northern Governance 11.3 13.2 8.1 59.3 31.4 (27.9)
*Includes direct and attributed resources

The strategic outcomes for The Government are strong governments, effective institutions, good governance and co-operative relationships for First Nations, Inuit and Northerners. These outcomes are based on a vision of First Nations, Inuit and Northerners assuming greater control over their own affairs on the premise that they are best able to meet their needs and aspirations and improve their quality of life.

Program activities under the Government strategic outcome seek to create public confidence and support for First Nations, Inuit and northern governments, to establish their legal capacity to act, and to contribute to addressing resource issues in support of good government through capacity building, the development of contemporary fiscal relationships and the settlement of claims and grievances.

To achieve this, INAC works with First Nations governments and Inuit communities so that they may assume greater responsibility for their own affairs, through the transfer of administrative authority for the delivery of most programs and services, and through the negotiation of self-government agreements that expand law-making and political powers and establish new fiscal and political relationships. In addition, intergovernmental and treaty relationships provide a basis for the resolution of long-standing claims and disputes and for improved co-operation among governments and communities in Canada.

The overall agenda for the North is to complete the devolution of all province-like responsibilities to northern governments at a pace set by Northerners, so that all Northerners increasingly manage their own political, resource, economic and social affairs.

Meaningful progress was made in 2006–2007 under Governance and Institutions of Government program activities. INAC undertook development and transitional activities to bring into operation the four institutions created by First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (FNFSMA) — the First Nations Tax Commission, the First Nations Finance Authority, the First Nations Financial Management Board and the First Nations Statistical Institute. These actions support both the creation of institutions that are responsive to community needs and the attainment of community goals (intermediate outcomes).

Though there is much more work to be done, the results described above also indicate progress toward sustainable institutions that support First Nations and Inuit governments (end outcome).

Under the Co-operative Relationship program activities, several land claim and self-government agreements were negotiated, settled or implemented in 2006–2007. Landmark progress under the B.C. Treaty Process included the initialling of three final agreements and commencement of their respective ratification processes. In addition, several reviews were completed to assess and improve the implementation of agreements. In the area of Specific Claims, work continued on addressing the backlog of outstanding cases as well as work on the Specific Claims Action Plan designed as a new approach to speed up and improve the settlement of specific claims (intermediate outcomes).

While progress has been made in the area of Co-operative Relationships, new approaches and tools will need to be developed in the areas of comprehensive claims and self-government to be more responsive to the needs of First Nations and Inuit and to the evolving legal and political landscape.

Under Northern Governance activities, INAC delivered results related to increased engagement, participation and collaboration of all key agencies in northern governance (immediate outcome), and despite a few outstanding issues regarding N.W.T. devolution, the department has completed 90 percent of its commitments to reaching an agreement in principle for future devolution. The department was very effective in achieving the engagement/collaboration outcome for circumpolar issues, and strengthened intergovernmental co-operation internationally on circumpolar issues (intermediate outcome). Through its work with the Arctic Council and in co-operation with Russia and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), major contributions were made to strengthen intergovernmental co-operation internationally on circumpolar issues (long-term outcomes).

An overview of these and other results for The Government program activities follows:

Results by Program Activity

Program Activity: Governance and Institutions of Government

Effective governance and institutions are the cornerstones of sustainable First Nations and Inuit governments and healthy First Nations and Inuit communities. It is recognized that different First Nations and Inuit communities are at different stages in terms of self-government. As such, the department’s activities respond to the diverse needs of First Nations and Inuit communities through strategies that support them in implementing strong, effective and sustainable governments.

The expected results of this program activity included: 1) enhancing the capacity of First Nations and Inuit communities to implement and manage effective governance; 2) ensuring that financial transfer arrangements are matched to First Nations and Inuit capacity; and 3) developing First Nations and Inuit institutions.

Regarding innovative and equitable fiscal relationships that respond to the needs of First Nations and Inuit governments and communities, the department continued to implement the recommendations and action plan flowing from the evaluation of the Alternative Funding Arrangement (ARA) and Flexible Transfer Payment. In addition, as part of the tripartite review of some Yukon land claims and self-government agreements, the parties continued to make practical progress towards completing a review of the Yukon First Nations Governments’ expenditure needs for general government functions, with the conclusion of the governance phase of the process.

In order to strengthen governance capacity, more than 200 First Nations and Inuit communities improved their governance practices, under INAC’s Professional and Institutional Development Program, by developing tools such as codes, policies and strategic plans, and by receiving training.

INAC funded training projects for another 100 First Nations that were experiencing difficulty in financial management. The programs included development and the implementation of Remedial Management Plans. Some First Nations also instituted accounting and internal control systems that had been recommended by their auditors.

The department continued to provide funding to First Nations and Inuit community members, which in turn provided input for the department’s development of consultation, policy and processes.

In 2006–2007, additional work was completed to give effect to the various boards and commissions created under the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (FNFSMA). The department continues to support development and transitional activities required to bring the First Nations Tax Commission, the First Nations Finance Authority, the First Nations Financial Management Board and the First Nations Statistical Institute into operation in 2007–2008.

As of March 31, 2007, the National Centre for First Nations Governance (NCFNG) was in full operation. It provides services that fall within four core business lines: Governance Advisory Services; Professional Development Services; Land, Law and Governance Research; and Public Education and Communications. The NCFNG has also opened its five regional offices across Canada. The offices serve as main points of contact for all NCFNG services and programs.

Under the Labrador Inuit Association (LIA) Final Agreement, signed in 2005, the Torngat Joint Fisheries and the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Boards were established and held their first meetings. These boards are integral to the co-management of resources in the settlement areas. The FNFSMA, the NCFNG and the LIA boards are solid examples of the development of First Nations and Inuit institutions.

In terms of lessons learned; the complexities of developing legislative and non-legislative-based institutions has had an impact on how long it has taken to make them operational.

Program Activity: Co-operative Relationships

Negotiations and agreements help to create favourable conditions for socio-economic and cultural growth in communities. Negotiations fulfill constitutional obligations, address historic lawful obligations, promote mutual respect and reconciliation, build partnerships, help define common agendas and reduce conflict.

In 2006, the Government of Canada, the province of British Columbia and the First Nations Education Steering Committee of British Columbia worked closely to negotiate and sign a tripartite First Nations Education Jurisdiction Framework Agreement setting out parties’ responsibilities in recognizing First Nations jurisdiction. This historic document has paved the way for several more tripartite frameworks between Canada, various provinces and First Nations groups, which have since been initiated.

The Government of Canada remains committed to productive negotiation processes. Existing processes have generated a significant number of agreements and settlements during the last 30 years and continue to produce innovation in both policy and process. In 2006–2007, federal, provincial and territorial governments and First Nations and Inuit groups continued to build the foundation for co-operative relationships. Expected results for this program activity include: increased clarity and certainty over lands and resources; the establishment of First Nations and Inuit governments accountable to their citizens; settlement of legal obligations; identification, clarification and resolution of policy issues; and negotiation and implementation of land claims and self-government agreements.

In 2006–2007, a total of 34 specific claims were concluded, including nine resolved through negotiated settlements with First Nations, 17 having no lawful obligation, while eight others were closed. The nine settlements resulted in financial compensation in the order of $15.8 million flowing from the Government of Canada to First Nations in various parts of the country. In addition, negotiations commenced on 12 specific claims, bringing the total number of specific claims in negotiations on March 31, 2007, to 123.

In the area of identification, clarification and resolution of policy issues, a number of reviews were undertaken by the department along with its partners, which resulted in a re-engineering of the internal specific claims review process. Although this presented challenges in maintaining the focus on existing negotiation/review processes, these reviews and the re-engineering are being used to support a major initiative which was announced in June 2007 by the Prime Minister (“Justice At Last”). This initiative will address the huge backlog of unresolved treaty claims (790) that has been the source of division and conflict in communities across the country.

For the 2006–2007 reporting period, significant milestones were achieved at various land claims tables. Highlights include the signing of the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the introduction of legislation to enact the Agreement (Bill C-51); the signing of a framework agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia and the M’ikmaq of Nova Scotia; the completion of the negotiation of an interim land withdrawal process within the Akaitcho Territory; and the start of a comprehensive claim and self-government negotiation process with Ashuanipi of Quebec.

There are 115 First Nations involved in the B.C. treaty process as 58 individual First Nations, groups or tribal councils, negotiating at 48 tables (some First Nations or groups negotiate at a common table). First Nations in the treaty process represent about two-thirds of all Aboriginal people in British Columbia: 39 First Nations are involved in Stage 4 agreement-in-principle (AIP) negotiations and 8 First Nations are involved in Stage 5 negotiations to finalize a treaty. The Maa-nulth First Nations, Lheidli T’enneh Band, Sliammon Indian Band, Tsawwassen First Nation, Yekooche Nation, Yale First Nation and In-SHUCK-ch Nation have signed AIPs — the blueprint for a final treaty. Many First Nations made excellent progress in the B.C. treaty process in 2006–2007.

As with the claims processes, Canada remains committed to productive negotiations that will establish First Nations and Inuit governments accountable to their citizens. While no new stand-alone self-government agreements were reached in the past fiscal year, notable progress was made at several negotiation tables. A key milestone in the reporting period was the signing of the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) governance AIP; the UOI represent 42 First Nations in this negotiation process. In addition, there are 10 negotiations working on completion of AIPs and seven negotiations working on the completion of final agreements. The federal government continues to work with the 18 First Nations and Inuit groups that are self-governing in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

The department continued to work with its Aboriginal and provincial/territorial partners in implementing more than 20 land claims and/or self-government agreements currently in place. Highlights include the creation of the Labrador Inuit Implementation Committee, the completion of the Second Independent Five-Year Review of Implementation of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, and the Yukon First Nations Final and Self-Government Agreement Implementation Review. The Governance segment of the Yukon First Nation Governments gross expenditure base review was concluded, with findings presented to INAC senior management.

Another major highlight of 2006–2007 was the historic agreement reached with the Cree of Eeyou Istchee. This out-of-court settlement addresses the past 30 years of implementation as well as setting the parameters for the parties’ relationship with regards to implementation over the next 20 years. Subject to James Bay Cree ratification, the agreement also sets the stage to commence tripartite self-government negotiations with the Cree and the Government of Quebec.

Lessons have been learned. Evolving constitutional law, changing public and economic environments, and experience from existing processes have identified a range of policies and processes that will need to be updated to address Aboriginal and treaty rights. In responding to the 2006 Auditor General’s Report on Federal Participation in the British Columbia Treaty Process, INAC has accepted the recommendations and developed an action plan to guide activities in areas of policy development, consultation and accommodation, process management and reporting structures.

In the implementation of comprehensive land claims and self-government agreements, INAC recognizes that it must work more effectively with federal, provincial/territorial and Aboriginal partners to find practical solutions to the issues and challenges in an effort to avoid the initiation of legal action.

Program Activity: Northern Governance

The Northern Governance program activity is focused on establishing and maintaining good governance, effective institutions and co-operative relationships for First Nations, Inuit and Northerners. A self-sufficient and prosperous northern region, in which Northerners manage their own affairs, enjoy a quality of life comparable with other Canadians and make strong contributions to a dynamic, secure federation are fundamental to the Northern Governance mandate. The Northern Governance program activity supports strengthening northern governments through devolution of province-like responsibilities, effective intergovernmental mechanisms and management of strategic issues, as well as strengthened domestic intergovernmental co-operation on international circumpolar issues.

Northern Governance milestones were only partially met as work is still being done to negotiate an agreement in principle for N.W.T. devolution. After a pause of over one year in formal negotiations toward an AIP on devolution of land and resource management responsibilities to the Northwest Territories, discussions resumed in November 2006 between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). The objective of those discussions was to resolve those issues that were identified by the GNWT as outstanding in 2005. Despite the recent litigation filed by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, they continue to remain a key and active partner. In March 2007, a number of Aboriginal groups in N.W.T. supporting devolution rejoined the negotiations. While considerable progress was made, a number of outstanding issues require additional work.

Work continued throughout 2006–2007 on the development of a negotiation mandate to transfer INAC’s province-like responsibilities to the Government of Nunavut. Notable milestones include the appointment in November 2006 of Paul Mayer as Senior Ministerial Representative for Nunavut devolution; intensive consultations with the Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and other stakeholders from December 2006 to February 2007; and the submission of Mr. Mayer’s report to the Minister on March 30, 2007.

INAC activities in the circumpolar region contribute to the advancement of Arctic issues by ensuring that the international dimensions of Canada’s northern agenda are being addressed, both multilaterally and bilaterally. INAC’s international interventions focus on such critical issues as the environment, health, socio economic development and capacity building.

During the reporting period, INAC continued in its key role of co-ordinating Canada’s participation in the Arctic Council, which is the focal point of Canada’s efforts to address common concerns and challenges faced by Arctic governments and people. INAC support to the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials facilitated the advancement of Canadian priorities under the Russian Chairmanship of the Arctic Council: integrating the findings of the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) into the work of the Arctic Council; participating in the follow up to the AHDR and ACIA, and in the implementation of the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan. INAC support also contributed to Canadian leadership in emphasizing the human dimension of Arctic issues in the work of the Council.

INAC provided support for northern and Aboriginal peoples’ participation in the work of the Arctic Council, and its working groups, and in Arctic co-operation with Russia during the reporting period, thus supporting the goal of good northern governance, which requires the active participation of Northerners in the management of circumpolar issues.

INAC involvement in circumpolar issues extends to bilateral co-operation with Russia through an initiative to share best practices in sustainable northern economic development and governance with the Siberian Federal District, one of Russia’s largest and most diverse northern regions. Through this initiative and the department’s participation in the delivery of CIDA new technical assistance project in Russia, the Canada Russia Northern Development Partnership Program, INAC advanced its objective of positively influencing northern policy-making in the Russian Federation, an important northern partner for Canada in terms of energy, the environment, and Aboriginal peoples. Over the reporting period, the department shared elements of Canada’s experience in northern development through a number of activities, including sponsoring a conference on federalism and law in the North and a panel on circumpolar well-being at the Aboriginal Policy Research Conference, as well as by developing a strategy for advancing corporate social responsibility through public private partnerships in Russia.

The department also facilitated business linkage between the Canadian and Russian northern regions, which included supporting the Circumpolar Chamber of Commerce; contributing to a Northern Trade Development Strategy and Circumpolar Trade Inventory; and sponsoring the participation of Russian companies at the International Construction Exhibition.

INAC also supported the Canada Russia bilateral partnership through its active participation in the Arctic and North Working Group of the Canada Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission.

Strategic Outcome: The People

Program Activities 2006–2007
Financial Resources*
($ millions)
Human Resources*
(Full-time Equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
Managing Individual Affairs 15.8 17.1 17.1 80.3 99.3 19.0
Education 1,656.5 1,686.4 1,679.8 879.7 877.7 (2.0)
Social Development 1,354.7 1,432.2 1,425.7 626.1 609.6 (16.5)
Healthy Northern Communities 106.4 96.5 96.4 53.2 50.1 (3.1)
*Includes direct and attributed resources

The People strategic outcome is strengthened individual and family well-being for First Nations, Inuit and Northerners in support of an improved quality of life.

Activities within The People strategic outcome focus primarily on Aboriginal peoples on reserves. INAC strives to promote access to a range and level of services that are reasonably comparable with those accessible to Canadians living off reserves in similar circumstances. These efforts support legal, constitutional and statutory responsibilities under the Indian Act. At the same time, activities under this strategic outcome also support further First Nations and Inuit control, and eventual jurisdiction, over the policies, programs and services that most directly affect individual and family well-being.

In the North, INAC is responsible for the Food Mail Program, which helps ensure that people living in isolated communities in northern Canada have the physical and economic means to obtain sufficient safe and nutritious food at all times. In addition, the department contributes to the health and well-being of Northerners by providing grants for physician services. The department also contributes to scientific research and adaptive strategies for climate change in the Arctic, primarily through our leading role in International Polar Year (IPY).

Program activities supporting The People take place at several levels. The department undertakes program and service design, delivery and evaluation. It also ensures that adequate policy and management frameworks are developed and effectively implemented so that communities are willing and able to take on program and service responsibilities. To support First Nations and Inuit taking control of their own affairs, the department establishes partnerships to ensure successful transfer of responsibilities and focuses on capacity building to ensure that communities can successfully manage these responsibilities.

Measuring Outcomes

In terms of achieving outcomes over the 2006–2007 period, INAC achieved administrative and process improvements related to the Indian Register and membership that helped to increase First Nations’ capacity to control individual affairs such as membership/citizenship (immediate outcome). The department continued to provide effective federal stewardship over education programs and policies by investing in culturally relevant education for First Nations children in elementary and secondary schools, including those with special needs, and assisted eligible First Nations and Inuit individuals to gain access to post-secondary education and mentored work experience (immediate outcome). Key milestones were the implementation of INAC’s Education Action Plan, which clarifies the roles of all stakeholders, and the passage of the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act to increase First Nations responsibility for on-reserve (kindergarten to Grade 12) elementary and secondary education.

Several activities indicate progress toward more intermediate outcomes. In particular, INAC has successfully obtained funding for and implemented more prevention-driven family violence and child protection services. This kind of renewed social programming (intermediate outcome) helps to create safe and secure living environments for communities, families and individuals by eliminating or reducing incidents of family violence, and abuse and neglect of adults and children.

A review of the Food Mail Program, combined with cost savings and service improvements continue to improve supply and increase consumption of nutritious perishable food in isolated northern communities (immediate outcome).These activities contribute to improved food security, nutrition and health for Northerners (intermediate outcome).

Results by Program Activity

Program Activity: Managing Individual Affairs

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, in accordance with the Indian Act, has responsibilities with respect to maintaining the Indian Register, registration of Indians and issuance of Certificates of Indian Status, membership, management of trust funds, estates management and payment of treaty annuities and allowances.

The following results were achieved in 2006–2007:

  • 350 current departmentally-controlled band lists were complete and accurate;
  • 107,102 Certificates of Indian Status Cards were issued, fulfilling the documentary requirement needed for Registered Indians to access eligible entitlements;
  • 240 First Nations were exercising control of their own membership pursuant to section 10 of the Indian Act, demonstrating that First Nations-determined band membership is a viable option;
  • 486 Indian Registration Administrators carried out program responsibilities, demonstrating the success of the delegation of Indian Registrar authority to the First Nations;
  • 3,624 estates were opened and 1,792 were closed from April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007;
  • 1,072 estates were administered by INAC;
  • 2,045 estates were administered by First Nations;
  • 360 treaty events were held in order to meet treaty obligations; and
  • 500,000 annuitants received payments in order to meet the allowance obligations.

Indian Registration Administrators held a national forum on November 15–17, 2006 with First Nations representatives from across Canada to share best practices and experiences, and facilitate the development of a national network through which they can enhance capacity and support one another in the administration of the Indian Registration program. Supporting and organizing this forum contributed to INAC’s goal of ensuring that the responsibilities and functions of the Office of the Indian Registrar are delegated to the First Nations in a manner that builds capacity and facilitates future devolution.

Another forum of various First Nations groups was held on February 9, 2007, to share best practices and challenges in the development and maintenance of membership codes. The forum examined ways that the department could better facilitate and assist the transfer of the determination of band membership to the remaining 260 First Nations in accordance with section 10 of the Indian Act. The forum was an important step in discovering and overcoming obstacles to the transfer of control to First Nations.

Four audits of regional and First Nations offices were conducted for the estates program as a result of a number of new policies that had been implemented. These audits were conducted to strengthen the partnership between headquarters and regional operations, to reinforce the importance of adhering to the new policies, to provide mentoring and training opportunities and to confirm that the policies were realistic in relation to operations at the regional and community levels. These audits strengthened the department’s capacity to handle estates cases and will ultimately improve the level of client service at the Regional level to be more timely, sensitive and professional.

The computerized Estates Reporting System was completed and introduced nationally in phased intervals in order to facilitate effective transition and provide for staged train-the-trainer sessions for the regions. It is a proactive tool with which regions can effectively manage their estates caseloads and which the department can use to monitor compliance with established policies.

In relation to ongoing statutory obligations, 35 expenditure requests were received from First Nations and approved by the Minister in accordance with 64(1)(k) of the Indian Act, totalling over $60 million. These funds were used for community-based programs or to supplement INAC program funding in areas such as education.

Program Activity: Education

INAC establishes overall elementary and secondary school education policies, funding levels and delivery requirements for Status Indians living on reserves, while First Nations deliver education on reserves, arrange to buy education services from local provincial school boards, or use a combination of both. INAC also supports First Nations and lnuit post-secondary education by providing funding to First Nations communities and lnuit organizations and to post-secondary institutions.

The Manitoba Region, in collaboration with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the Manitoba First Nations Resource Centre (MFNERC), changed the high-cost special education funding model from assessment to an intervention-based model. The new funding model facilitates better planning and better results-based accountability. In addition, the Manitoba Region, in collaboration with headquarters, First Nations partners, and the provincial government, laid the groundwork for joint efforts at improving First Nations education outcomes through a project to commence in 2007–2008 fiscal year.

Highlights of program activity results are:

  • The department invested $1.2 billion to support First Nations in providing high-quality, culturally relevant education programs to the approximately 115,000 First Nations learners attending elementary and secondary schools.
  • The First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act was passed by Parliament in December 2006, which will allow interested First Nations in British Columbia to take full control over on-reserve education (kindergarten to Grade 12).
  • As part of its core elementary and secondary funding, INAC continued to support the needs of First Nations students with special education requirements. It also undertook a review of this critical initiative as part of the department’s commitment to continuous program improvement.
  • The department invested over $300 million to assist approximately 24,000 eligible First Nations and Inuit in their pursuit of post-secondary education opportunities. INAC also examined the recommendations of a 2007 Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development report on Aboriginal post-secondary education in Canada in order to incorporate key findings in program renewal efforts.
  • Through the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy, approximately 122,000 young Aboriginals received mentored work experience to develop and enhance employability skills, provide exposure to a variety of career options and promote the vital role of education in increased labour market participation.
  • Preservation and revitalization of First Nations and Inuit cultures and languages were also supported within the education system as well as by funding of approximately 110 Cultural Education Centres through INAC’s Cultural Education Centres Program (CECP).
  • Work advanced on the implementation of INAC’s Education Action Plan. Solid progress has been made, in collaboration with First Nations stakeholders to clearly articulate respective roles and responsibilities, policy objectives and expected outcomes leading to shared accountability. A finalized Education Policy Framework and draft Management Framework are under way.
  • Progress continues on a key component of the Education Management Framework — the performance measurement strategy — with the following data management work under way:
    • The development of performance indicators, reporting requirements, a data capture tool and a performance reporting system were undertaken to enhance accountability and transparency.
    • The collection of Nominal Roll data has been harmonized among regional offices and headquarters, an important step in improving data collection through standardization of definitions and reduction in the reporting burden.
    • The National Education Dashboard continues to be implemented nationally, providing INAC with electronic access to information on departmental education programs and offering decision support to important aspects of education renewal efforts.

Program Activity: Social Development

This activity supports the safety and well-being of First Nations individuals and families. It involves support for the delivery of social services on reserves. Social services include: income assistance, which helps to provide the basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter; child and family protection and prevention services; non-medical assistance for persons with functional limitations and chronic disabilities; and family violence prevention. Social services are to be provided at a level that is reasonably comparable with provincial and territorial programs and standards.

During 2006–2007, the federal approach to social development on reserve started to move away from remedial and passive measures. A new Social Development Policy Framework has been developed with First Nations partners, provincial/territorial and other government representatives, to move towards more proactive programming to better promote the social well-being of children, youth, adults and elders.

The social programs under this activity focus on prevention and active measures to empower individuals and families to become self-sufficient and live in prosperous communities. At the same time they continue to provide a sustainable and responsive delivery of social support services. The approach emphasizes strengthening accountability for results and establishing horizontal linkages between related federal government departments, central agencies, provinces, territories, First Nations service agencies and other First Nations partners. Regions have begun to engage regional organizations as well as First Nations social program administrators to discuss implementation of active measures for social programming.

The following results were achieved in 2006–2007:

Legislation was introduced in December 2006 to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act by repealing section 67, which currently shields actions or decisions taken under or pursuant to the Indian Act from application of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

With respect to First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program, INAC is exploring the implementation of the Alberta Response Model on reserves. This model, which is focused on prevention, would reduce the need to remove children from the parental home and empower individuals with the tools to better care for their children or seek more effective care options.

In October 2006, the department participated in the first Forum of First Nations in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations of Qubec and Labrador and the Government of Qubec in the Community of Mashteuiatsh. This forum provided for an important exchange on socio-economic questions, gathering at the same table First Nations, Inuits, Civil Society and the Government of Qubec and Canada.

The Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP) obtained $6 million for 2006–2007 to support a number of time limited initiatives, such as one-time purchases (e.g., new bedding) to provide quality shelter services, and the rollout of prevention tool kits, and a youth gathering/meeting on family violence prevention. New FVPP policy authorities approved until March 31, 2012, include the construction of up to five new shelters as well as additional operational support for those shelters and the 35 existing shelters.

In collaboration with the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence, the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the provinces and territories and shelter directors, INAC developed a new funding formula for existing shelters. Federal partners include the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Justice Canada, Status of Women Canada (SWC), Public Safety Canada, Statistics Canada and Canadian Heritage, which together form a working group to address issues of family violence against women from the government’s perspective, share information and provide linkages between departments.

In March 2007, INAC obtained approval to move towards structural reform of social programs and implement preventative-based programming for both FVPP and FNCFS; also as part of the authorities renewal process, INAC was required to perform an evaluation of the First Nations Child and Family Services program. The evaluation, which was completed in March 2007, focused on ways to improve the program and outcomes for First Nations children and their families. As a result, the FNCFS updated its programming to include prevention programming in order to reduce the number of children coming into care (i.e., reduce over-representation of Aboriginal children in care), to allow children to stay safely at home, and to provide referral to other services to improve outcomes for kids. The program also identified performance measures and will work with provinces, territories and First Nation partners to monitor them.

INAC, in concert with First Nations, provincial/territorial and other federal department representatives, developed the Social Development Policy Framework, which includes program-specific action plans to be implemented in an incremental fashion.

Program Activity: Healthy Northern Communities

This program activity supports improvements in health and well-being of Northerners through grants for hospital and physician services for Indian and Inuit residents in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut; the transportation of nutritious perishable foods and other essential items to isolated northern communities (provincial and territorial) at reduced rates; the conduct of research into the sources and effects of contaminants on the Arctic food chain; initiatives to assist Northerners to deal with broad issues such as the impacts of climate change, increased knowledge related to contaminants and traditional/country foods among northern communities; and promotion of international controls on contaminant emissions.

The following results were achieved in 2006–2007:

By providing funding to Canada Post to subsidize the shipment of nutritious perishable food and other essential items by air to isolated communities under the Food Mail Program, INAC makes healthy food more affordable and encourages healthier eating practices. There was no increase in rates charged for food mail service despite a 7-percent increase in the volume of shipments, overall funding for 2006–2007 remained stable.

As announced in November 2006, Winnipeg was designated as an additional entry point for food mail service to the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, based on a 2005 review of the Churchill food entry point. This move will reduce prices and improve food quality in the region’s seven communities.

Food price surveys were conducted in 37 northern communities and southern supply centres in 2006–2007, and the results of 33 surveys conducted in 2006 were posted on the department’s Web site. The department also completed work on a Revised Northern Food Basket to be launched in 2007, which will provide a more realistic picture of the cost of a healthy diet in isolated northern communities, consistent with current nutrition recommendations and cultural preferences.

The department also initiated a review of the structure, focus, funding and other criteria for the Food Mail Program, based in part on the evidence obtained from food mail pilot projects under way in three communities. The purpose of the review is to ensure the most effective and efficient means of achieving reasonable prices for delivery of nutritious perishable food and other essential items to approximately 140 isolated northern communities.

The International Polar Year office completed scientific and social/cultural review of scientific research proposals that resulted in the selection of 44 projects to address IPY priorities for climate change impacts and adaptation and health and well-being of northern communities.

Strategic Outcome: The Land

Program Activities 2006–2007
Financial Resources*
($ millions)
Human Resources*
(Full-time Equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
Clarity of Title to Land and Resources 11.3 13.1 10.9 27.7 37.2 9.5
Responsible Federal Stewardship 57.3 120.4 120.4 130.8 279.6 148.8
First Nations Governance over Land, Resources and the Environment 46.0 24.1 15.4 68.4 23.2 (45.2)
Northern Land and Resources 174.0 188.5 182.7 412.8 410.0 (2.8)
*Includes direct and attributed resources

The Land strategic outcome is the sustainable use of lands and resources by First Nations, Inuit and Northerners. Historically, the federal government has had virtually complete authority over First Nations reserve lands, resources and environment, and the monies (Indian Moneys) derived from those sources. In recognition of this reality and of the aspirations of First Nations people and communities for greater control and decision-making, The Land strategic outcome is based on a vision of First Nations governance over their lands, resources and environment.

To achieve this vision, INAC works toward:

  • developing the underlying infrastructure and capacities for First Nations management of reserve lands, natural resources and the environment (immediate outcomes);
  • creating opportunities for more direct First Nations responsibility and control (intermediate outcomes);
  • economic development, improved socio-economic and environmental conditions, and sound First Nations governance over land, resources and the environment (end outcomes) that will allow the vision for The Land strategic outcome to be realized; and
  • in the North, it exercises provincial-like responsibilities over land and resources, except for Yukon where those responsibilities have been devolved.

Significant progress toward many of the immediate outcomes has now been achieved. Some of the more significant accomplishments include:

  • providing First Nations with greater access to lands and resources by strengthening the Additions to Reserve (ATR) process through better planning, a tracking system and the introduction of new First Nations tools;
  • progress toward meeting the ministerial commitment of adding 150,000 acres to reserves in Manitoba by August 22, 2007, to fulfill Treaty Land Entitlement obligations;
  • strengthening land and environmental management skills through the piloting of the Reserve Land and Environment Management Program (RLEMP), and the strengthening of the Professional and Institutional Development (P&ID) program;
  • promoting responsible federal stewardship of reserve lands by remediating contaminated sites on reserve;
  • strengthening the legislative and regulatory framework for commercial and industrial development on reserve through the enactment of the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA); and
  • creating/establishing a legislative and regulatory framework for First Nations to assume control and management of their oil and gas and/or Indian monies from those sources, by opting for the First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act (FNOGMMA).

Besides significant progress in achieving immediate outcomes, The Land strategic outcome began to see results in 2006–2007 toward some longer-term outcomes. Central to this progress was the significant modernization of the legislative and regulatory framework for First Nations land and resources, including the implementation of the FNCIDA and the FNOGMMA, and the amendment of the First Nations Land Management Act (FNLMA) so that it would apply equally within Quebec’s civil law jurisdiction as it does under the common law jurisdictions of other provinces. Working with the Indian Resource Council, INAC has begun to prepare amendments to the Indian Oil and Gas Act (IOGA) to reflect modern regulatory practices. These initiatives provide key opportunities for greater First Nations control and increased economic development. Support for additional FNCIDA projects, coupled with the implementation of FNOGMMA and the expansion of FNLMA to more First Nations, will generate not only improved conditions for those participating communities, but also the experiences, tools and technologies to enable other First Nations to more readily take advantage of similar opportunities in the future.

Moving forward, there is also an awareness of the needs of those First Nations that are not in a position to take advantage of new initiatives. As such, close attention is paid to responsibilities under the Indian Act, and to those day-to-day, core business functions that more quietly promote sustainable use of First Nations land and resources. These initiatives — to speed up the Additions to Reserve process, to fully implement the Reserve Land and Environment Management Program, to design structural improvements to the land management system, to develop future options for Indian Oil and Gas Canada, and to modernize the Indian Land Registry System — remain part of ‘the Land’ agenda. A careful balance is needed between change and sustaining elements in order to prevent a greater gap from emerging between those First Nations able to take on leadership roles and those First Nations that require ongoing responsible federal stewardship for the foreseeable future.

To promote this balance and to ensure a realistic and viable Land strategic outcome agenda, INAC continues to build on the relationships and partnerships that have enabled past successes. First Nations-led initiatives, such as FNOGMMA, established new and productive working relationships with pilot First Nations. In a similar way, the experience of working with First Nations in the implementation of FNCIDA and FNLMA has allowed INAC to follow the lead of First Nations in shifting the balance of responsibility and control in a manner that promotes sound First Nations economic development and governance. Additionally, partnerships with First Nations organizations, such as the National Aboriginal Land Managers Association (NALMA), the Lands Advisory Board (LAB) and the Indian Resource Council (IRC), and with institutions such as the University of Saskatchewan, have tapped into experience and expertise critical to the success of Land strategic outcome initiatives such as FNLMA, RLEMP, FNOGMMA, and IOGA modernization. With ongoing opportunities both in the regions and at headquarters to discuss the Land agenda with First Nations and First Nations groups facing a variety of circumstances, INAC hopes to move swiftly and collaboratively to achieve the Land strategic outcomes.

In the North, there was significant focus in 2006–2007 on supporting the advancement the Mackenzie Gas Project and taking steps to improve the resource management regulatory system. International demands for new sources of oil and natural gas have resulted in a major commitment to exploration investment in the North, including a proposal to bring into production major gas fields in the Mackenzie Delta and to build a gas pipeline down the Mackenzie Valley. INAC’s role in co-ordinating interdepartmental and intergovernmental efforts in relation to the Mackenzie Valley Gas Project continues to be a departmental priority, with the goal of ensuring that the Government of Canada advances national interests while meeting its obligations and responsibilities regarding the pipeline project in a timely, efficient way.

Continued collaboration is needed to ensure effective management of the impacts that will result from increased resource development in the territories. The department continued to work with stakeholders on issues such as the clarification of roles and responsibilities, increasing the capacity of resource management boards, funding issues, improving appointment processes, and identifying and addressing gaps and inconsistencies in policy or legislation.

Results by Program Activity

Program Activity: Clarity of Title to Land and Resources

The department remains committed to providing First Nations with access to additional lands and resources, whether through Additions to Reserve (ATR), or through the transfer of lands to First Nations ownership through comprehensive land claims agreements. In 2006–2007, close attention was paid to the department’s performance in completing ATR. This attention derives from three sources: the recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General for improvements to the ATR process; the Minister’s commitments in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to increase the number of acres added to reserve; and the department’s priority focus on the more timely resolution of specific claims, which will create additional pressures on the ATR process. Between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2007, 34,879 hectares were added to reserves.

Program Activity: Responsible Federal Stewardship

The department continues to take seriously its responsibility to practise sound stewardship in relation to those lands, resources and environments that remain within its control. To this end, the department once again met its 10 percent target for the reduction of Class 1 and 2 contaminated sites liabilities. In addition, FNCIDA came into effect on April 1, 2006, providing First Nations with an opportunity to overcome Indian Act obstacles to large commercial and industrial projects on reserves. Regulations for two large commercial and industrial projects will be undertaken in the FNCIDA context: the Fort McKay First Nation oil sands project in Alberta and the Fort William Bowater fibre optimization plant in Ontario.

To promote the sustainable use of land, resources and the environment, the department also continued to focus on building capacity in First Nations communities. The professional training and certification program delivered under the RLEMP pilot is a key example. The first group of certified land managers graduated from the RLEMP training program in March 2007, and these managers are now equipped to perform key land and environmental management activities on behalf of the department.

Program Activity: First Nations Governance over Land, Resources and the Environment

In 2006–2007, there was significant progress toward First Nations governance over land, resources and the environment, with the coming into effect of the FNOGMMA to provide another option for sectoral governance, and the expansion of the FNLMA to include more First Nations. FNOGMMA came into effect on April 1, 2006, and the three pilot First Nations (Whitebear First Nation, Blood Tribe and Siksika First Nation) have since proceeded with their initiative to govern their oil and gas resources and/or monies, and have scheduled community votes for late 2007–2008. As well, six other First Nations became signatories to the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management and began assuming control of their land.

Program Activity: Northern Land and Resources

The Northern Land and Resources program activity supports the sustainable development of the North’s natural resources by emphasizing improved environmental stewardship, including the clean-up of contaminated sites, expanding the knowledge base for sound decision-making and improving the effectiveness of the northern regulatory environment. One of INAC’s key challenges in the North is to support economic development of the vast natural resources of the territories while protecting the sensitive northern environment. Environmental stewardship is all the more important in the context of projected levels of exploration and development activity, and the large number of contaminated sites in the North.

The following are the results for 2006–2007:

The Mackenzie Gas Project Impacts Fund head office location and general Crown corporation board structure were established. Other operational requirements are to be phased in to be consistent with the overall timing of the Mackenzie Gas Project and the decision to construct.

Eight new oil and gas exploration licences were issued in the Mackenzie Valley and Mackenzie Delta in line with Government of Canada policy to win investment and promote jobs in the northern oil and gas sector. Prior to issuance, consultations on environmental matters were held with northern Aboriginal organizations, communities and governments, resulting in support for the initiatives. This support endorsed the terms and conditions established to alert potential bidders of environmental and social sensitivities, in order to encourage development in an economically, socially and environmentally responsible manner.

The Budget 2005 provided $150 million in funding over four years for seven departments and agencies to increase federal capacity and science in support of the environmental assessment and regulatory processes for the Mackenzie Gas Project and induced oil and gas activities. In 2006–2007, INAC received $10.9 million to increase capacity for the environmental assessment process, regulatory obligations, environment and resource management issues, consultation, Federal Project Co-ordination Secretariat, Pipeline Readiness Office and legal requirements. The department also received $1.4 million to undertake science research projects, such as permafrost and terrain conditions across the treeline; pipeline stream crossings; aerial photography and mapping; non-renewable resource assessments for the Protected Areas Strategy; cumulative effects assessment studies and database development, a re-vegetation workshop and the Arctic Council’s assessment of oil and gas activities in the Arctic.

Assessment of suspected contaminated sites

In 2006–2007, the Northern Contaminated Sites Program assessed 34 suspected contaminated sites. Little or no contamination was found at 26 of the sites. However, eight sites did contain contamination, which increased the number of confirmed contaminated sites from 63 to 71. It is important to note that the new sites are relatively small in size and nature compared with previously identified contaminated sites.

Percentage reduction in Class 1 and 2 contaminated sites liabilities

The Northern Contaminated Sites Program’s liability increased 20 percent as of March 31, 2007, to $1.2 billion, from $997 million the previous fiscal year. The main reason for the rise is the Faro mine in Yukon. Several alternatives to remediate the Faro mine site are being considered and proper accounting practices indicate that the lowest cost alternative is to be reported as the liability. The previous year’s lowest cost alternative was eliminated from consideration because it was determined to be inappropriate by the site’s independent peer review panel. The next reasonable alternative represented a $235-million increase.

In 2006–2007, the department continued to implement phase one of the Northern Regulatory Improvement Strategy, in response to the 2005 report of the Auditor General, while also setting the stage for phase two. Phase one was comprised of operational changes around issues such as clarification of roles and responsibilities, training and capacity issues, identification of best practices, and clarification of key terms. The department is now developing and implementing phase two in co-operation with northern stakeholders, which will focus on longer-term fundamental improvements to the northern regulatory systems.

Strategic Outcome: The Economy

Program Activities 2006–2007
Financial Resources*
($ millions)
Human Resources*
(Full-time Equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
Economic and Employment Opportunities for Aboriginal People 1.1 2.5 2.5 7.5 9.0 1.5
Access to Capital and Economic Development 683.6 721.0 418.7 343.4 230.6 (112.8)
Community Infrastructure 1,370.8 1,290.5 1,261.3 616.2 597.3 (18.9)
Northern Economy 32.1 40.5 23.1 24.0 15.8 (8.2)
*Includes direct and attributed resources

The Economy strategic outcome focuses on increased participation of Aboriginal people and Northerners in the economy. This vision rests on the premise that revenue generated through economic growth increases self-reliance, and improves the lives of community members according to their circumstances and priorities.

To achieve this vision, INAC works toward a progression of immediate, intermediate and end outcomes. Program activities focus on building economic and community foundations and a supportive investment/business climate to enable First Nations, Inuit and northern individuals, communities and businesses to seize economic opportunities.

Federal government support in the North is needed to build economic foundations for Northerners to truly participate in and benefit from economic opportunities. Territorial governments are responsible for province-type roles in economic development, but have limited sources of revenue and little budgetary flexibility. INAC, with its mandate for regional development in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon, is positioned to work with northern governments, industry and other key players to increase opportunities and to improve the climate for sustainable economic growth.

In 2006–2007, economic development activities led to the increased employment of community members (immediate outcome) through six new employment initiative partnerships and the issuance of $463 million in contracts to Aboriginal businesses. Through investments in Aboriginal entrepreneurs; loans and business services to Aboriginal and northern small- and medium-sized businesses; and participation in economic development forums, the department promoted investment to create jobs (immediate outcome). All of these activities increase employment (intermediate outcome).

A new Market Housing Fund and additional funding to build and renovate houses helped to meet the pressing need for adequate housing units (immediate outcome) and will help maximize the life cycle of physical assets (intermediate outcomes). Other community infrastructure activities are mitigating health and safety risks (intermediate outcome), including several measures implemented under the Plan of Action for Drinking Water in First Nations Communities and fire protection initiatives.

While there were results and successes in 2006–2007, it is important to note that increasing economic participation is a long-term process. Aboriginal participation in this process is limited because of significant education and workforce experience gaps. With employment growth over the past 10 years, these gaps should narrow in the future and participation in the economy is expected to improve.

Results by Program Activity

Program Activity: Economic and Employment Opportunities for Aboriginal People

The department participates in the Saskatchewan Economic Development Union, a federal/provincial partnership that brings together participating government decision-makers to ensure the co-ordinated and effective delivery of federal and provincial investments in economic development. In 2006–2007, the partners focused on a number of investment and labour market initiatives, including northern road construction, diamond and mineral exploration, oil and gas, housing construction and trades.

The Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative (AWPI) and the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business have allowed the department to centre its efforts on the demand side. Successes created even more economic opportunities for Aboriginal businesses and individuals even as they answered the needs of organizations in the public and the private sectors.

Under AWPI, six new partnerships were developed involving one national organization and five regional organizations that offer employment initiatives through business development or direct hiring of Aboriginal people. There are 11 existing partnerships (four new partnerships this year) that are in various stages of development.

In the Community Support Services Program in the B.C. Region, there were four sector strategy development projects supported in the tourism, forestry, shellfish aquaculture and fisheries sectors in the amount of $125,000; nine research and advocacy projects related to the 2010 Olympic Games: economic opportunities, northern economic opportunities, and provincial and regional employment development opportunities funded in the amount of $195,500.

  • In 2006, Aboriginal businesses were awarded 5,087 federal government contracts worth over $463 million.
  • For contracts over $25,000, the number won by Aboriginal businesses in the open market, competing on a level with all businesses engaged in procurement, increased from 78 percent to 81 percent.
  • The degree of Aboriginal participation in total government procurement has decreased. However, the total value of contracts procured shows an increase of $122 million over the previous reporting year. The proportion of contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses without reliance on set-asides increased, indicating a growing capacity for Aboriginal businesses to compete on the open market.

Program Activity: Access to Capital and Economic Development

This program activity focuses on increased employment, greater utilization and increased value of land and resources under the control of the community, increased access to opportunities from land and resources beyond the control of the community, more investment from the outside and enhanced capacity within the community government to address future economic opportunities.

The Community Economic Development component of the department’s Economic Development Program has continued efforts to build capacity within the communities. Available data suggest that progress in this area is positive; however, there is still a lot of work to be done before results have a significant impact. The department’s economic development programs funded 328 projects, totalling $22.3 million. An additional $8.2 million in funding came from the provinces and $24.9 million from other sources, such as banks and other financial institutions, and the private sector. During this period, approximately 1,900 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs were created.

In 2006–2007, $20.5 million in contributions were made directly to Aboriginal entrepreneurs through Aboriginal Business Canada (ABC), which helped 254 clients to establish or acquire a business and 264 clients to expand one. These contributions resulted in a total investment, from all sources, of $72.5 million in Aboriginal business growth and in the Canadian economy overall. In 2005, ABC collected business performance information related to more than 250 establishment and acquisition projects. The data showed that 92.9 percent of these new businesses were still in operation after one year. Although it can be expected that this proportion may decrease in subsequent years, preliminary results show that the vast majority of ABC clients successfully launched their businesses and survived through their critical first year of operation.

In the B.C. Region, 155 First Nations Economic Development Operational Plans were approved and funded, totalling $6,613,179. In the Community Economic Opportunities Program, 56 projects were funded for a total amount of $6,919,474. These 56 projects generated 825 direct and indirect jobs. Besides INAC funding, an additional $17,554,038 came from other sources for a total of $27,300,372 in economic activity. The overall costs benefit ratio achieved equalled 5.29:1, for every dollar invested by INAC into project funding, $5,29 was the return on investment.

Major Events
The Campbell River Indian Band Cruise Ship Terminal project was completed in 2006 and the first ship arrived in the spring of 2007.

A very successful, inaugural B.C. First Nations Community Economic Development Forum was held in Richmond, B.C., on January 16–18, 2007. The forum, attended by elected representatives from 135 First Nations and 13 Tribal Councils, focused primarily on governance and the role of leadership in economic development.

ABC also provides support to a network of Aboriginal financial institutions (AFIs), which provide loans and business services to Aboriginal small and medium enterprises. ABC’s work has resulted in the development of an Aboriginal-owned and controlled institutional financing infrastructure for developmental lending and related advisory services. The AFI network has become an important pillar of the Aboriginal economic infrastructure. It has successfully introduced market values in Aboriginal efforts to gain access to capital, opening the way for increased access to private sector financing for AFIs as well as for Aboriginal businesses. In 2006–2007, ABC invested $7.6 million in the network. The net loan portfolios of the AFI network have grown 18.6 percent ($176 million) over the five-year period to 2006. The effective interest-rate yield on the AFI gross loan portfolio has remained fairly consistent throughout the years (at 8 to 8.5 percent) despite mainstream prime rate decreases. Since 1985–1986, the AFI network has disbursed $1.2 billion in loans based on total government loan capital support of $199.4 million.

ABC continues to provide support to 15 external delivery organizations, which are Aboriginal financial and business development institutions, to assist in capacity development. Support for these organizations continues to result in increased business development and entrepreneurship capacity on the part of these organizations, and extends the program reach into more remote areas of Canada, resulting in improved program availability.

Program Activity: Community Infrastructure

This program activity focuses on the acquisition, construction, operation and maintenance of: community facilities, such as administrative offices, roads, bridges and water and sewer systems; educational facilities such as schools, as well as the provision of teacherages, or housing for teachers; and on-reserve housing. It also funds the remediation of contaminated sites on reserves.

Budget 2007 allocated $300 million for the establishment of the First Nations Market Housing Fund. The fund will provide First Nations families and individuals with the means to purchase, build and renovate on-reserve housing.

Furthermore, in 2006–2007, over $130 million of additional funding was allocated to assist First Nations in constructing and renovating housing units, as well as servicing housing lots. This investment was over and above INAC’s base allocation for First Nations housing programs. Delivered jointly with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, this incremental funding made a tangible contribution toward improving the First Nations housing stock. Together, First Nations and the Government of Canada were able to optimize these resources to exceed previously established targets for home renovations and to construct a significant number of new homes to reduce the housing shortage currently facing communities.

Despite progress achieved during the last year, the challenges to provide safe and adequate housing remain. In particular, serious indoor air quality issues continue to impact some First Nations communities and the need for new units continues as the overall population on reserves increases.

INAC also made considerable progress in improving drinking water quality for First Nations. A critical component of these efforts was the implementation of the Plan of Action for Drinking Water in First Nations Communities, which, in addition to reducing the number of high-risk water treatment systems on reserves, also resulted in the issuance of a Protocol for Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities, the provision of a 24-hour support hotline to more than 875 water and wastewater operators, and the expansion of on-going training initiatives, such as the Circuit Rider Training Program.

INAC also collaborated with its First Nations partners on various fire protection initiatives. In addition to funding fire protection and fire safety awareness services for First Nations communities, INAC continues to work with the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada (AFAC), the Office of the Fire Marshal (Ontario), the Labour Branch within Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), and with regional Aboriginal organizations, to strengthen the delivery of fire protection and awareness programs. In February 2007, Aboriginal and INAC stakeholders held an inaugural national fire protection meeting in Tsuu T’ina, Alberta. Implementation of action items from this and subsequent meetings will enhance the ability of all stakeholders to address First Nations fire safety challenges.

Program Activity: Northern Economy

The Northern Economy program activity supports sustainable economic growth of the territorial economies through investments in innovation and knowledge and regional development programming, advocacy and economic diversification activities, which lead to Northerners participating and benefiting from resource development.

Under Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED), a total of $19.6 million was invested in 2006–2007 for 103 projects across the North, in priority areas including geoscience, tourism, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

SINED is a set of three funding programs, which include the Targeted Investment Program (TIP), the Innovation and Knowledge Fund (I&K) and, in the N.W.T. only, the Partnership Advisory Forums (PAF). Under TIP, multi-year investment plans tailored to the opportunities and priorities in each territory were approved and collaborative oversight processes involving northern and federal partners were put in place in all three territories. Seventy projects received a total of $18.7 million in funds. I&K supported 28 projects with total funding at $877,000, while PAF funded five projects totalling $81,000, in the Northwest Territories.

In 2006–2007, INAC’s support of engineering and environmental studies for the transmission of Taltson hydro-power to the Slave Geological Province holds promise of cutting energy costs to stimulate development in the N.W.T.’s chief mining region, as well as in Aboriginal communities along the route. At the same time, the project could replace enough diesel consumption to reduce N.W.T. greenhouse gas emissions by 240,000 tonnes per year. Other supported projects include the addition in Nunavut of two new community access Internet sites a year, which will increase Internet usage for residents of remote communities and a pilot project to launch Nunavut’s first locally developed bilingual (Inuktitut, English) distance learning course. In Yukon, raising the capitalization of Dana Naye Ventures, a successful developmental lender, is helping to generate more small business activity across the territory. The department also partnered in a pan-territorial marketing campaign to increase interest in the Whitehorse Canada Winter Games, which will heighten Canada-wide awareness of the three territories as places to visit and invest.

In addition to management of SINED funding, the department also continued to administer Infrastructure Canada programs, and contributes to their reporting on performance under the various infrastructure programs being carried out in the North.

Strategic Outcome: The Office of the Federal Interlocutor

Program Activity 2006–2007
Financial Resources*
($ millions)
Human Resources*
(Full-time Equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
Co-operative Relationships 40.8 41.1 39.6 22.0 47.9 25.9
*Includes direct and attributed resources

The strategic outcome for the Office of the Federal Interlocutor is promoting collaborative engagement of government and stakeholders, resulting in demonstrable improvement in socio-economic conditions of Mtis, non-Status Indians and urban Aboriginal people, and the management of Mtis Aboriginal rights issues.

Measuring Outcomes

Over the past year, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor (OFI) worked with its partners on a number of priorities: health, education and training; women, children and families; justice and public safety; economic development; housing and access to services; electoral and financial accountability; and the governance capabilities of Aboriginal organizations.

To achieve its goals, the OFI worked toward a progression on immediate, intermediate and end outcomes.

Investments from the OFI to partner organizations have contributed to the creation of an aerospace, manufacturing and construction training centre, the B.C. Ministry for Mtis Children and Family Services, and community-chosen programs like counselling services and literacy training. These partnerships have successfully rendered practical service delivery solutions and arrangements to high-priority community issues (immediate outcome).

The OFI actively fostered organizational governance that is responsive to community needs in its accountability to constituents and various levels of government (immediate outcome). Examples include the development of 10 tripartite agreements that enable Mtis and off-reserve Aboriginal organizations to engage with provincial and federal governments, and the development of annual work plans for Mtis, non-Status Indian and urban Aboriginal organizations to support joint priorities.

Working together on a range of priority issues has improved relationships and co-operation between the provinces and other partners and Mtis, non-Status Indian and urban Aboriginal people. One priority issue is accredited membership systems in each region (immediate outcome), to which the OFI invested significant resources this past year, including support for Mtis organizations engaged in this work.

Results by Program Activity

Program Activity: Co-operative Relationships

In 2006–2007, the OFI contributed $850,000 to two national Mtis and non-Status Indian (MNSI) organizations that enable them to participate in discussions with the government on their priority issues. It also invested $1.7 million to support 10 tripartite negotiating processes in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island with the provincial or regional MNSI organizations. These processes are cost-shared with the relevant provincial governments. The tripartite negotiation processes enable these MNSI organizations to engage with the federal and provincial governments through the negotiation of practical measures in order to: build effective partnerships; strengthen organizational governance capacity; support their service delivery institutions and seek better access to federal and provincial programs and services.

In addition, through the Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS), the OFI invested in addressing socio-economic conditions that many Aboriginal people face in Canadian cities. Building on efforts to work with other federal departments, this initiative created partnering opportunities among all stakeholders. To illustrate, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor partnered with Canadian Heritage to to provide assistance to a multi-service youth at-risk resource centre in Winnipeg to provide services to over 11,000 Aboriginal youth in Winnipeg. Another example, is a collaborative initiative between the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, the Department of Human Resources and Social Development to help alleviate child poverty in Thunder Bay by providing after-school programs for Aboriginal children. These are only two examples of the hundreds of projects through the Urban Aboriginal Strategy that were put in place to support urban Aboriginal people as a result of collaboration with a variety of stakeholders.

OFI transferred $13.1 million in program funds to Western Economic Diversification and Service Canada. Urban Aboriginal communities, in co-operation with federal departments, provincial and municipal governments and the private sector, use these funds to develop and implement projects according to local priorities.

Evaluation and subsequent reviews confirmed that the UAS is effective in three particular areas: partnerships, co-ordination and leveraging. As a result of funding provided by the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, additional funding was provided by other sources (including other federal departments, other governments, local Aboriginal organizations, the private sector) to support activities that benefit Aboriginal people living in cities. In fact, between April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2007, the Government invested $33,318,584 through the Urban Aboriginal Strategy and leveraged an additional $11,298,551 from other federal departments and an additional $29,058,968 from partners outside the federal arena. Regarding co-ordination, innovative horizontal mechanisms to reduce the reporting burden on Aboriginal proponents were cited as a promising practice. The following are key observations:

  • Each UAS pilot city has required differentiated, targeted and flexible approaches based on the city’s circumstances and its Aboriginal population.
  • Horizontal co-ordination is important but difficult to achieve. Evidence suggests that greater collaboration among federal departments leads to better results.
  • The success of projects receiving and attracting financial support from other partners has been enhanced through intergovernmental and private-sector collaborative funding structures.

Finally, the Federal Interlocutor continued to engage with provincial governments and Mtis organizations in order to develop co-operative approaches to the management of Mtis Aboriginal rights recognized in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Powley decision. The OFI led and co-ordinated the efforts of core departments (INAC, the Department of Justice Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Services, Parks Canada Agency, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) in working with Mtis organizations on various initiatives to respond to the decision. In 2006–2007, OFI invested $12 million in this “whole of government” approach which emphasized: collaboration and co-operation with provincial governments on harvesting management; historical and statistical research and legal analysis and opinions to further clarify the possible scope of Mtis Aboriginal rights; support to federal departments in making informed resource and consultation decisions; and, managing, in a coordinated fashion, on-the-ground assertions of Mtis Aboriginal rights through the training of resource enforcement officers.

In addition, in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision, OFI also continued its support of Mtis organizations in working towards the solidification and advancement of membership systems and the identification of Mtis harvesters.

In co-operation with provincial governments, discussions were held with Aboriginal organizations on ways to promote practical co-operation and increase opportunities for economic development.

Canadian Polar Commission

Program Activity 2006–2007
Financial Resources
($ millions)
Human Resources
(Full-time Equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
Research Facilitation and Communication 1.0 1.0 1.0 5 5 0

In 2006–2007, board members and staff of the Canadian Polar Commission met and talked with many organizations, scientists and northern residents, to learn about the latest issues and concerns affecting the research community and to communicate their views to policy makers. The Commission has also discussed polar science issues with politicians, government representatives, ambassadors, and national and international science advisors to ensure that Canadian scientists are part of the international research effort, and that Canadians are aware of international polar issues and benefit from polar research.

The Commission has participated in committees and established links with research institutes, helping to get their project information to the public. Among these projects is the proposed Yukon Cold Climate Innovation Research Centre, a concept for a centre of excellence for research on construction and infrastructure in Yukon dedicated to the development, commercialization and export of sustainable cold-climate technologies and related solutions for subarctic regions around the world. The Commission sees focused centres of this kind as a highly effective way to develop new Arctic research infrastructure for the 21st century. The Commission has continued working on federal committees toward increasing the profile of polar research and to better co-ordinate existing research initiatives.

The Commission again worked with the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies to sponsor a northern research scholarship. This year’s recipient was Sonia Wesche, a PhD student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Her thesis deals with the capacity of Dene-Mtis communities to adapt to environmental and socio-cultural change.

The online Polar Science Forum, which helps researchers stay abreast of new developments, exchange ideas, and to engage in online discussions and collaborations, expanded in 2006–2007. The Forum attracted more than 100 new subscribers, bringing membership to over 1,450.

Meridian, the Polar Commission’s Arctic science publication, and the Newsletter of the Canadian Antarctic Research Network, circulate current information on polar research to readers in Canada and abroad. In 2006–2007, the Commission published two editions of each. Both publications appear in print and on the Commission’s Web site.

As Canada’s representative to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the International Arctic Science Committee, the Polar Commission works to ensure that Canadians are aware of and participate in international research initiatives and projects. Work continued in 2006–2007 on two major international Arctic research planning initiatives: the Second International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP II) went into implementation mode; and International Polar Year 2007–2008 (IPY) was launched in Paris on March 1, 2007, with 228 international projects endorsed. The Commission represented Canada at the Open Conference and 29th meeting of Scientific Committee on Arctic (SCAR) in Hobart, Australia, in July 2006.

The Commission also worked on its two main priorities, as established by the board: supporting, promoting and advising on IPY activities and objectives; and studying, co-ordinating and advocating for a polar science policy for Canada.

In the summer of 2006, the Commission released the outreach and communications plan developed at the IPY Outreach and Communications workshop, held jointly by the Commission, the IPY National Committee and Secretariat, and the federal IPY program office in March 2006. In spring 2006, following an internal evaluation process, the Polar Commission was asked to reinvigorate and streamline the IPY Steering Committee and launch a call for nominations for a new Committee. The new Canadian National Committee for IPY was established in November.

Equipping Canada with a polar science policy to provide focus and direction, account for current and probable future information needs, identify research priorities, and provide for adequate funding and infrastructure is both a long-term and a very expensive undertaking. The Commission’s limited budget required the project to be broken down into phases over several years. As a first step, the Commission is undertaking a project to evaluate the current state of Arctic logistics and infrastructure. This is critical to planning for future research needs in the Canadian Arctic. The Commission held a workshop of operators and managers of the major northern field stations, is developing a detailed and updated online data resource to outline what each present field station offers, and is bringing together a group of researchers committed to writing the report. Further workshops are planned.

Each year the ability of the Commission to fulfill its mandate erodes further as costs rise. Furthermore, demands on the Commission — from within Canada and internationally — are increasing annually. While the Commission’s mandate is broad, its ability to act is limited by its annual budget, which is smaller than at inception in 1991.

Indian Specific Claims Commission

Program Activity 2006–2007
Financial Resources
($ millions)
Human Resources
(Full-time Equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
Indian Specific Claims Commission 5.6 6.8 6.5 49 45 (4)

Since its inception in 1991, the Indian Specific Claims Commission (ISCC) has gained credibility as an independent, neutral body that conducts public inquiries into specific claims disputes between First Nations and the Government of Canada. As well as conducting formal inquiries, the Commission, at the request of either party (the government and the First Nation) and with the consent of both, provides or arranges for such mediation and facilitation services that it believes may assist them to reach an agreement with respect to any matter relating to an Indian specific claim.

The ISCC also provides information to the public concerning its activities and results, issues special reports, and from time to time is called upon to conduct speaking engagements.

The Commission typically completes its work on a claim, including issuing its final report, two to five years after receipt of the initial request for an inquiry. The complexity of a claim influences the duration of an inquiry. In 2006–2007, the ISCC conducted 38 ongoing inquiries, seven of which were completed (with reports on five of them to be issued in 2007–2008), and released reports on three inquiries completed in previous reporting periods. The Commission also worked on 26 mediation efforts.

Results of this program activity

  • In 2006–2007, the ISCC worked on 38 ongoing inquiries and 26 mediation efforts.
  • From April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007, the Commission completed seven inquiries: the Blood Tribe/Kainaiwa, Big Claim; the Cowessess First Nation, 1907 surrender, Phase II; the James Smith Cree Nation, treaty land entitlement; the Kluane First Nation, Kluane Game Sanctuary and Kluane National Park Reserve creation; the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, streets and lanes; the Paul Indian Band, Kapasiwin townsite; and the Sakimay First Nation, Treaty land entitlement. It released reports on two of these completed inquiries; the remaining five will be issued in the next fiscal year.
  • The Commission released reports on three inquiries completed in previous reporting periods: the Blueberry River First Nation and Doig River First Nation: Highway right of way Indian Reserve (IR) 172 claim; the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, Wenah specific claim; and the Williams Lake Indian Band, Village site claim. These and all of the Commission’s reports can be found on the ISCC Web site.
  • ISCC continued to implement measures to ensure excellence of operations and expand its body of knowledge about specific claims.

Areas for improvement and lessons learned

Since its inception in 1991, the ISCC has gained credibility as an independent, neutral body that conducts public inquiries into specific claims disputes between First Nations and the Government of Canada. To be effective, the ISCC, in all of its dealings, must be perceived as independent, neutral and objective by both First Nations and the government.

A unique and important aspect of the inquiry process is a visit by Commissioners and key staff to the First Nation community to hear directly from Elders and community members with regard to the claim. The process emphasizes principles of fairness, equity and justice, which promote reconciliation and healing between First Nations and non-First Nations Canadians. Face-to-face meetings and careful consideration of oral evidence is valuable to the claims resolution process.

The Commission provides broad mediation and facilitation services at the request of both the First Nation and the Government of Canada. Together with the mediator, the parties decide how the mediation process will be conducted. This method ensures the process fits the unique circumstances of each particular negotiation. These mediation services may be provided at any stage of the claims process. In a number of cases, the Commission has provided mediation/facilitation services to the specific claims process prior to the acceptance or rejection of the claim. The experience of the Commission has been that the use of mediation/facilitation services in those instances has proven to be a useful tool to support the resolution of specific claims.