ARCHIVED - Sustaining Momentum: The Government of Canada's Third Report in Response to the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act (2010-2011)

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Introduction

On June 18, 2008, the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act received Royal Assent.  The Act stipulates that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is required to submit annual progress reports to Parliament during a five-year period beginning with the 2007–2008 fiscal year. This is the third report in response to the Government of Canada's obligations under the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act.

The Act states that education, skills development, employment, health care, housing and access to clean water are essential for improving the socio-economic conditions of Aboriginal people in Canada. These concerns are consistent with the Government of Canada's priorities with respect to Aboriginal issues. The priorities are part of an agenda focused on building a record of real results through concrete actions and working with willing partners.

In 2009, the Government tabled its first report – Sustaining Momentum – covering its efforts between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. The second report, tabled May 2010, built on the first by organizing the Government's actions according to the five priorities on Aboriginal affairs. This third report for 2010-2011 is structured in the same manner, detailing activities and investments made to support the five priority areas:

Education Reconciliation, Governance, and Self-Government Economic Development Empowering Citizens and Protecting the Vulnerable Resolution of Land Issues Resolution of Land Issues

Context

The federal government has a unique relationship with the Aboriginal people of Canada and remains committed to maintaining a relationship that empowers Aboriginal people and communities.

Over one million Canadians identify themselves as Aboriginal.
Aboriginal people face several challenges including lower health outcomes, decreased socio-economic outcomes (education levels, employment rates, income, proportion of single parent families), lower life expectancy and overall lower well-being than the broader Canadian population. The Government of Canada and its partners are working towards ensuring that Aboriginal people have a quality of life comparable to other Canadians. While progress is being made on many fronts, challenging socio-economic gaps persist.

The Government of Canada recognizes the need to clearly demonstrate concrete results. The Government has developed sophisticated tools for gathering and analysing data and other indicators to assist in designing effective policy. For example, the Community Well-Being Index, a model which mirrors the United Nations Human Development Index, helps to develop an understanding of conditions, trends and gaps. The Index measures four components: educational attainment, labour force activity, income levels and the quantity and quality of housing stock in communities.  The Community Well-being varies greatly across First Nations - more so than across other Canadian communities. On average, the well-being of First Nations is improving, but the "well-being gap" has not narrowed since 2001. In comparison to 1996, the gap between First Nation and Canadian communities is widening, not narrowing. Twenty five percent of First Nation communities have scores in 2006 that are worse than those in 1996 (compared to ten percent of Canadian communities).

The Government of Canada provides over $10 billion annually in programs and services directed to Aboriginal people through 34 federal departments and agencies. New funding supporting the five priorities this year includes approximately $186 million for education, $990 million for health services and supports, and approximately $1.8 billion for labour market initiatives.  Aboriginal people benefit from the complete array of programs and services offered by the Government of Canada, to all citizens.

The Government of Canada recognizes that results are achieved not only through funding and investments but also through innovative approaches and partnerships.  The Government seeks to establish partnerships with key stakeholders and interested partners, such as our provincial and territorial governments and Aboriginal organizations. Over the past year alone, efforts have been made to finalize a number of partnership and tripartite agreements with various provincial and territorial governments and First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations. The bulk of the federal government's programs are delivered through partnership or in conjunction with Aboriginal communities, and provincial and territorial governments.

Critical to understanding the Government's recent progress on Aboriginal issues is understanding the contribution of Canada's Economic Action Plan.  Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP) announced in January 2009, was designed to fight the effects of the global recession by providing timely, targeted and temporary stimulus to safeguard jobs and protect incomes, while making important investments to ensure Canada's long-term economic prosperity. Investments made through Canada's Economic Action Plan have provided significant support.

Over two years, $1.4 billion (approximately $603 million in 2009-2010 and approximately $788 million in 2010-2011) has been dedicated to help address the needs of Aboriginal people and communities in the areas of education, skills development, health care, housing, policing, access to clean water and employment. Aboriginal people and communities have also benefited from many other CEAP initiatives, which were not targeted specifically for Aboriginal communities. Together, these actions have increased employment and procurement opportunities, improved infrastructure, and a higher level of health and family services that will assist in achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal children, families and communities. As demonstrated in the following map, CEAP investments have benefitted Aboriginal communities from coast to coast to coast.

CEAP Investments Across Canada

CEAP Investments Across Canada

In order to provide Canadians with an update on actions underway to stimulate the economy, the Government of Canada has been tracking the progress of CEAP's impacts for Aboriginal people and communities through regular reports. These comprehensive reports are available to all Canadians at Canada's Economic Action Plan - Budget 2009 Highlights.

This Report focuses on the actions and measures put in place by the Government of Canada between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011, including CEAP investments over this period. The investments and outcomes described in this report demonstrate the purposeful actions taken by the Government of Canada toward supporting the enhanced health, safety, prosperity and overall well being of Aboriginal people and communities.

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Action Taken Under the Five-Point Plan

Education

The federal government has undertaken a significant number of initiatives and investments in support of Aboriginal issues across the five priority areas.

The federal government recognizes that educational attainment is critical to improving social and economic outcomes for all learners.  The Government is committed to working with First Nations and provinces to ensure First Nations people receive the education required for success.

Programs for Better Education Outcomes

In the 2009-10 fiscal year of these programs, 75% of First Nation Communities across Canada were represented under the First Nation Student Success Program (with 18 projects) and 73% of Communities received funding under the Education Partnerships Program (with 19 projects).

In the 2010-11 fiscal year, 16 more proposals received funding under the First Nation Student Success Program and an additional 19 proposals received funding under the Education Partnerships Program.

Since their launch in December 2008, the First Nation Student Success Program (FNSSP) and the Education Partnerships Program (EPP) have had significant participation. The FNSSP is designed to help First Nation educators to plan and make improvements in the three priority areas of literacy, numeracy and student retention. In the 2009-10 fiscal year, 75% of First Nation band operated schools across Canada were represented under the First Nation Student Success Program (with 18 projects funded). The EPP is a program designed to support partnership development. Seventy three percent of communities benefited from funding under the EPP (with 19 projects funded).

In the 2010-11 fiscal year, 90% of First Nation band operated schools were represented under the FNSSP (for a total of 34 projects funded) and 88% of communities received funding under the EPP (for a total of 19 projects funded).

With respect to education programs the federal government has also, over the last year:

Partnerships for Better Education Outcomes

Since 2008, the Government has signed on to five tripartite education agreements (New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and Saskatoon Tribal Council).  These are in addition to existing education partnerships in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. The most recent tripartite agreements are as follows:   

The federal government has also, over the last year:

The Government of Canada will continue to work with First Nations in other jurisdictions on partnership opportunities to improve education outcomes for First Nation students. 

Schools and Infrastructure

The Government is making significant investments to ensure that children have better places to learn. Since 2006, the federal government has invested approximately $714 million on school infrastructure projects, which includes the completion of 94 school projects.

In addition to the 94 completed school projects, there are 93 school projects across the country receiving approximately $91 million this year through Indian and Northern Affairs, Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program (CFMP). The CFMP funded projects include the construction of three new schools, 8 major renovation/addition projects, 9 minor school renovations, the construction and renovation of teachers' residences in 13 communities and 11 mechanical and heating system upgrades.  

As of March 31, 2011, nine of twelve schools were substantially completed with funding through Canada's Economic Action Plan.   Three school projects, Wabaseemong (ON), Manawan (QC) and Ahousaht (BC), will require some remedial site work this fiscal year.  These activities will be addressed using funds from INAC's regular capital program.  The following projects have been substantially completed:

As part of the Building Canada Plan, $102 Million from the Gas Tax Fund (GTF) is supporting the construction of an additional six new and two major school renovations on reserve across Canada between 2009-2010 and 2011-2012.  All projects are progressing at various stages of project development.

An Inuit community has also benefited from a significant educational investment. The Government of Canada provided a $2.5 Million grant for Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) to purchase a new school facility at 450 Rideau Street in Ottawa. The new facility will allow NS to double its student population and increase its contribution to improved education outcomes, employability, capacity development, and a representative government in Nunavut.

Moving Forward

In December 2010, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations, announced the creation of a National Panel mandated to engage on the development of options, including legislation, to improve the governance framework, improve student outcomes and clarify accountability for First Nation elementary and secondary education.  The appointment of the National Panel members was confirmed in March 2011 and the Panel will be submitting a report, with recommendations on options, to the Minister and the National Chief by the end of 2011.

This important step builds on the Government of Canada's commitment made in Budget 2010, to work with First Nations along with other partners to strengthen and improve First Nations education.

Reconciliation, Governance and Self-Government

The Government of Canada remains committed to empowering Aboriginal people and communities and building a new relationship based on reconciliation and healing for past injustices, and to strengthening Aboriginal governance and self-government. The 2008 Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools remains a touchstone towards building this new relationship.

The Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) held it's first of seven National Events in Winnipeg from June 16-19, 2010. This event brought together former students and their families, government, leaders of national and regional Aboriginal organizations, church groups and members of the general public. At this event, former Minister Strahl, announced the Government of Canada's intention to repeal provisions of the Indian Act that provide the authority to establish Indian Residential Schools and remove children from their homes and communities.

Continuing on this path towards healing, reconciliation and resolution, Budget 2010 announced $65.9M over two years for Health Canada's Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. These resources have been earmarked to respond to the increased demand for services resulting from the implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program provides mental health and emotional supports for eligible former students and their families as they participate in all phases of the Settlement Agreement – Common Experience Payments, Independent Assessment Process, Truth and Reconciliation Commission events and commemoration activities.

Budget 2010 also allocated $133.2M over two years for the continued implementation of the Settlement Agreement, including administration of Common Experience Payments and the Independent Assessment Process, as well as the disclosure of relevant documents to the TRC. To date more than $1.58 billion has been distributed in Common Experience Payments to almost 77,000 former residential school students. Over 9,000 former students have received $1 billion under the Independent Assessment Process. As well, some 125,000 documents have been disclosed to the TRC.

In 2010-2011, INAC allocated $4 million through its Advocacy and Public Information Program to 20 Aboriginal organizations to disseminate information regarding the Settlement Agreement to former students and their families, as well as to the broader public. An additional $4 million was announced in February for 2011-2012, bringing the total commitment to $22  million since 2007.

The Government of Canada made historic strides in furthering a relationship based on healing, recognition and reconciliation 2010-2011 fiscal year:

Further examples of momentum building towards a new relationship include:

Regarding governance and self-government, the federal government continues to support land claims and implement self-government agreements.  These agreements allow communities to better manage their relationships with other levels of government, assume greater control over, and responsibility for the well-being of their communities, and seize economic opportunities and maximize economic development initiatives.

Specific progress in concluding treaties in British Columbia more specifically:

Aboriginal people make up nearly half the population in the three territories and play a particularly important role in Canada's North. Since 2007, the federal government has been working to advance its Northern Strategy objectives (Exercising our Arctic Sovereignty, Promoting Social and Economic Development, Protecting our Environmental Heritage and Improving and Devolving Northern Governance) through a variety of initiatives. Progress has been made on a number of these objectives, for example: a devolution of lands and resource management Agreement in Principle was signed with the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Northwest Territory Métis Nation.  The remaining five regional Aboriginal groups are not willing to sign the AiP at this time, primarily due to concerns related to land claims, self-government negotiations and financial issues. The AiP includes specific protections for existing and future Aboriginal treaty rights and settlements, and a comprehensive consultation plan to engage Aboriginal groups will be undertaken.

 Through Budget 2010, the Government of Canada committed $45 million over two years to fund Nutrition North Canada. Including existing funding, this brings the annual budget to $60M. This investment provides stable funding to support access to a wide range of healthy food options for Northerners, including country foods. Updates on federal actions in the North can be found at Canada's Northern Strategy .

Economic Development

The Government of Canada continues to work with Aboriginal Canadians and willing partners to ensure that Aboriginal people enjoy the same opportunities for employment, income and wealth creation as other Canadians.
 
With a young, fast-growing and increasingly better-educated population, a significant land and resource base, and a growing business sector, Aboriginal Canadians are well-positioned to help build a vibrant Canadian economy.
 
The opportunities for Aboriginal economic development have never been greater. Private sector investment is increasing in every region of the country and there is a demonstrable interest on the part of the non-Aboriginal private sector to work with Aboriginal businesses and communities.

There are emerging trends and significant evidence that suggest that Aboriginal Canadians are moving toward becoming full participants in the Canadian economy, as entrepreneurs, employers and employees.

Governments and private industry are increasingly recognizing the tremendous economic potential of Aboriginal communities, particularly in the area of resource development. To realize this potential, the federal government is working closely with provinces and territories to develop memorandums of understanding to assist in fulfilling the legal duty to consult and accommodate with a focus on opportunities for inter-jurisdictional cooperation and collaboration.  The federal government is also continuing to integrate Aboriginal consultation with federal activities such as environmental assessment processes and working with Aboriginal communities to develop consultation protocols that enhance coordination and efficiency.

In June 2009, former Minister Strahl announced the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development that focused the federal government's actions – from programs to legislation to partnerships – to increase the participation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the Canadian economy and improve economic outcomes for Aboriginal people in all parts of Canada.

The Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development was launched with an investment of $200 million over four years to increase First Nations access to lands, resources and capital as well as to improve federal procurement opportunities for Aboriginal businesses.  The Framework also includes the establishment of a fund to develop strategies that will focus the resources, efforts and expertise of federal departments and agencies to support enhanced participation of Aboriginal people in key sectors of the economy: forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agriculture.

And, fundamental to the Framework is the recognition of the importance of investing in the development of human capital. Increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian labour market, and the economy more generally, is an important and effective way to address the socio-economic conditions facing many Aboriginal people, especially Aboriginal young people. 

Significant investments led by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in 2010-2011 include:

In 2010-2011, the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) continued to address the socio-economic conditions many Aboriginal people face by introducing two new initiatives to address the skills and training needs:

In addition, HRSDC continued implementation of Canada's Economic Action Plan initiatives:

Other CEAP investments contributing to economic development that will benefit Aboriginal Canadians and communities include:

As of April 1 2011, the Broadband Program had signed contribution agreements for 86 projects, representing federal investment of $111.7M, and bringing broadband access to an estimated 209,000 rural and remote households. Of the 86 projects, 11 will serve First Nations communities. Broadband coverage will be deployed in British Columbia (3 projects), Manitoba (1 project), Ontario (4 projects), and Quebec (3 projects), and is estimated to bring high speed Internet access to 12,423 Aboriginal households. Projects are in various stages of construction and are scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2011.

Although the economic situation in 2010-2011 required focus and attention, the Government took many other concrete steps to support Aboriginal economic development, including:

Throughout 2010-2011, the Government of Canada, via the Urban Aboriginal Strategy, continued to make federal programs more accessible and seamless while at the same time improving alignment with provincial policies and programs on urban Aboriginal issues.

The year 2010 was The Year of the Métis. To recognize this, the Government of Canada unveiled a commemorative medallion and contributed to the Veterans Garden located at the Batoche Historic site in honour of Métis Veterans. In addition to other achievements, the Government of Canada contributed $5 million to the Clarence Campeau Development Fund to establish the Métis Energy and Resource Program and another $3.7 million over three years to the Westcap Management Limited to support Métis and First Nations participation in major energy projects.

The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, met January 19, 2011 with Métis Nation leaders, the Aboriginal Affairs Ministers from the five western-most provinces and industry representatives to launch the second Métis Economic Development Symposium (MEDS), which took place January 20 and 21 in Vancouver. MEDS presented an opportunity for participants to make note of the significant progress made over the year and to discuss, among other topics, successful approaches to economic development and practical ways to strengthen entrepreneurship among Métis women.

The meetings of Ministers and Métis leaders stem in part from the Métis Nation /eng/1100100012271 Protocol, signed in 2008 between INAC and the Métis National Council (MNC), committing the two parties to work on a range of issues, and the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, which represents a fundamental change in how the Government of Canada supports Aboriginal economic development.

In addition, in late March, the federal government announced its support for two major projects for the Métis which will help improve Skills and Training opportunities for Métis in British Columbia and help boost the heritage/tourism industry at Métis Crossing in Alberta.

Empowering Citizens & Protecting the Vulnerable

The federal government is committed to assisting those in greatest need, particularly through initiatives such as child and family services, improved housing, access to safe drinking water and health programs. Through CEAP, concrete investments have been made in these areas and the federal government has demonstrated its commitment to working with partners to provide safer communities and conditions that help members lead healthy and fulfilling lives including:  

CEAP announced $515 million over two years to support First Nations community infrastructure projects in three priority areas: schools; water and wastewater projects; and critical community services infrastructure, such as health and police services facilities. These investments are sparking job creation on-reserve as well as the surrounding areas.

With respect to infrastructure investments, CEAP targeted the following areas:

In terms of critical community services infrastructure, CEAP also invested:  

In addition to CEAP measures, the Government of Canada announced on October 29, 2010, $10 million over two years to improve community safety and ensure that the justice system and law enforcement will better respond to cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

Canada has also targeted improvements in Aboriginal communities through a number of other initiatives, including drinking water:

The Government has continued to make progress on other health issues:

The Government of Canada announced $285 million over two years in Budget 2010 to support the renewal of key Aboriginal health programs that were due to sunset on March 31, 2010.  Subsequent Government decisions have provided an additional three years of funding, bringing the total funding for these programs to $730 million over five years (2010-2011 to 2014-2015), which includes: 

These programs are delivered in partnership with Aboriginal communities and leadership to promote healthy living, mental wellness, early childhood development, increased participation of Aboriginal people in health careers, and closer integration of federal and provincial health services accessed by First Nations and Inuit.

The Government continues to support other essential social and community-related initiatives through the development of important legislation: 

Resolution of Land Issues

Governments and private industry are increasingly recognizing the tremendous economic potential of Aboriginal communities, particularly in the area of resource development. To realize this potential, the federal government is working closely with provinces and territories to develop effective approaches and processes to fulfill the legal duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate when the Crown contemplates conduct that might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. In addition, the Government of Canada continues to work to settle outstanding grievances, such as specific claims.

A specific claim is a claim made by a First Nation against the federal government relating to the administration of land and other First Nation assets and to the fulfillment of Indian treaties. Since 1973, the federal government has pursued the settlement of these grievances through negotiations. 

Other examples of momentum on land claims issues include:

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Conclusion

The Government of Canada is committed to reporting back to Canadians on its actions. In addition to the annual reporting requirements of the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act and other reporting mechanisms, the Government will make available to all Canadians a report on progress and impacts of the Aboriginal-specific programming through Canada's Economic Action Plan.  These reports are available at: Canada's Economic Action Plan - Budget 2009 Highlights.

As illustrated in this Report and others, the Government of Canada continues to make great strides in developing and implementing a practical and results-driven vision for Aboriginal policy. Recognizing that there is no easy solution or quick fix, the Government remains focussed in its approach.  Many of the challenges facing Aboriginal people are long-standing, multi-faceted and complex; any proposed solution must correspond well to these challenges. 

In 2007, a clear framework for action on Aboriginal issues was established:

The Government will continue to work with willing partners to achieve real results in these areas. Many of the initiatives highlighted throughout this Report were successful due to the whole-of-government approach in addressing issues that affect Aboriginal people. Continued progress and success depends on the willingness of all interested partners to work together to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal children, families and communities. No single federal department, nor any one government or organization, on its own holds exclusive policy responsibility for resolving issues that affect Aboriginal people. 

The actions taken by Government since 2007 provide the platform to help build a better Canada for Aboriginal people and communities right now and for the future. Critical groundwork is underway; conditions are in place for successes to occur. In moving forward, the Government of Canada is committed to "sustaining momentum" by partnering with others to achieve meaningful results for these communities and the country as a whole. 

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Annex A: Kelowna Accord Implementation Act

On June 18, 2008, the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act received Royal Assent.

An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord Whereas Parliament recognizes that narrowing and ultimately eliminating the troubling gaps between Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians that exist in the areas of education, skills development, health care, housing, access to clean water and employment, as provided for in the Kelowna Accord, are essential to improving the socio-economic conditions of aboriginal people in Canada;

And whereas the Government of Canada entered into the Kelowna Accord with the Government of Canada's provinces and territories and with Canada's aboriginal leadership, and it is incumbent upon the Government of Canada to honour its word and its commitments;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows;

1. This Act may be cited as the Kelowna Accord Implementation Act.

2. The Government of Canada shall immediately take all measures necessary to implement the terms of the accord, known as the "Kelowna Accord", that was concluded on November 25, 2005 at Kelowna, British Columbia, by the Prime Minister of Canada, the first ministers of each of the provinces and territories of Canada and the leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Congress of Aboriginal People.

i. At the end of the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2007, and at the end of each of the next four fiscal years, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development shall prepare a report reviewing the progress made by the Government of Canada in fulfilling its obligations under the Kelowna Accord during that fiscal year, and shall cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament within sixty days after the end of the fiscal year or, if that House is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that the House is sitting.

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