This strategy is as the result of a Letter of Understanding between AANDC and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to achieve a majority Aboriginal representation, equitably distributed throughout all groups and levels, including Executive in the department.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) plays an important role in promoting increased Aboriginal representation in the Public Service of Canada. For the benefit of all AANDC employees, I would like to reaffirm and describe the department's commitment to this role.
In 1994, the Honorable Minister Ron Irwin announced AANDC's commitment to fill 50 percent of the department's vacancies with Aboriginal peoples. The department's commitment to this goal is directly related to the business of AANDC and the continued focus on achieving self-government for First Nations. INAC has committed to a workforce that is culturally sensitive and representative of its Aboriginal partners.
In 1995, AANDC developed the Employment Equity Recruitment Plan which outlined the department's plans to increase Aboriginal representation through a 50 percent Aboriginal hiring strategy.
This plan was further strengthened on November 22, 1996 when a Letter of Understanding was signed between the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and AANDC. In this letter of agreement the 50 percent hiring strategy was addressed as follows:
"In view of its unique mandate and its special relationship with First Nations, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has a long term objective of having a majority of DIAND employees with Aboriginal ancestry. The Department will make every reasonable effort to reach an objective of a 50 percent hiring share for Aboriginal peoples until the department meets its objective. The Department undertakes to make every effort to ensure that Aboriginals are equitably represented across all occupational groups and levels in the department, including management positions."
On February 21, 1997, AANDC submitted a request for extended staffing authorities under the Aboriginal Employment Program to further facilitate the ongoing commitment to the 50 percent hiring strategy.
In this submission, AANDC defined the 50 percent hiring share as appointments made both through external recruitment activities and the appointment of Aboriginal peoples from other federal government departments and agencies which includes competitive processes, transfers and deployments. These extended staffing authorities were approved on July 16, 1997.
AANDC will continue to work towards the increased representation of Aboriginal peoples in the department in the interest of the department's mandate. It will be through these efforts that the equitable participation of Aboriginal peoples will occur.