Mandate, Roles and Responsibilities
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) supports Aboriginal people (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Northerners in their efforts to:
- improve social well-being and economic prosperity;
- develop healthier, more self-sufficient communities; and
- participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development—to the benefit of all Canadians.
Indian and Inuit Affairs
The Department is responsible for two mandates, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, which together support Canada's Aboriginal and northern peoples in the pursuit of healthy and self-sufficient communities and broader economic and social development objectives.
The Aboriginal Affairs mandate is derived from a number of sources that include, among others, the Canadian Constitution, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act, the Indian Act and its amendments over the years, statutes dealing with resource management, specific statutes enabling modern treaties, such as the Nisga'a Final Agreement Act, the Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement Act, the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act and the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act, and more recently enacted statutes like the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and the First Nations Jurisdiction Over Education in British Columbia Act, designed to provide First Nations with jurisdictional powers beyond the Indian Act. A significant amount of the Department's mandate is also derived from policy decisions and program practices that have been developed over the years; it is framed by judicial decisions with direct policy implications for the Department; and it is structured by funding arrangements or formal agreements with First Nations and/or provincial or territorial governments.
AANDC negotiates and implements comprehensive and specific claims and self-government agreements on behalf of the Government of Canada; oversees implementation of claim settlements; supports services on reserve such as education, economic development, housing, community infrastructure and social support to Status Indians on reserves; administers the land management component of the Indian Act; and executes other regulatory duties under the Indian Act.
The Minister also acts as the government's primary interlocutor for Métis, Non-Status Indians and urban Aboriginal people. The responsibilities included within this role are to maintain and strengthen the Government of Canada's relations with organizations that represent Métis, Non-Status Indians and urban Aboriginal people; participate in negotiation processes with representative organizations and the provinces; and coordinate the government's Urban Aboriginal Strategy—an approach based on problem solving partnerships with provincial governments, urban Aboriginal organizations, municipalities and other federal departments.
The Department also serves as a focal point for Inuit issues to support the inclusion of Inuit-specific concerns in federal program and policy development and is the principal liaison with national and regional Inuit organizations and governments.
The Northern Development mandate also derives from the Canadian Constitution and from statutes enacted in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act; from statutes enacting modern treaties North of 60°, such as the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, or self-government agreements, such as the Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act; and from statutes dealing with environmental or resource management, and is framed by statutes that enact the devolution of services and responsibilities from AANDC to territorial governments, such as the Canada–Yukon Oil and Gas Accord Implementation Act.
AANDC is the lead federal department for two-fifths of Canada's land mass, with a direct role in the political and economic development of the territories, and significant responsibilities for resource, land and environmental management. In the North, the territorial governments generally provide the majority of programs and services to all Northerners, including Aboriginal people.
You can find additional details on AANDC's strategic outcomes, program alignment architecture, and expenditures, please see AANDC's website at Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report.
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