Fiscal Harmonization Round 1 Engagement Summary

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Executive Summary

Purpose

This document provides a summary of the first round Fiscal Harmonization engagement sessions that took place across Canada in March, May and June 2011.

The Executive Summary provides an overview of the feedback received throughout the Round 1 meetings and attempts to identify key themes that emerged. This is followed by more detailed summary of each meeting and finally a list of participants at each meeting is provided in the Annexes.

The discussions that took place in the seven locations during the first round of engagement meetings on issues and principles are summarized here. This report is not intended to be a word for word transcript of the meetings. The purpose of the report is to summarize the feedback received from a federal perspective, both to inform the ongoing policy development work and to provide all participants with an overview of the views expressed across the country.

Background

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) is developing a new, national approach to fiscal arrangements with self-governing Aboriginal groups to support delivery of governance, education, social services, land management and other services. The new approach is intended bring greater consistency, timeliness, transparency and fairness to the process of negotiating and implementing these fiscal arrangements.

As part of developing the new approach, AANDC committed to engaging with Aboriginal governments and groups negotiating self-government, as well as provincial and territorial governments.

The Fiscal Harmonization engagement process will involve two rounds of engagement – an initial round focussed on discussing issues and principles that should underlie the design of fiscal arrangements and a second round to discuss the detailed federal policy proposal.






Round 1 Engagement Process Summary

Round 1 has recently concluded after meetings in seven cities across Canada. Meetings began in Vancouver and Toronto in March followed by Quebec City, Halifax, Yellowknife, Saskatoon and Whitehorse in May and June.

There was broad participation across country with over 160 participants from outside the Department representing 17 signatories, over 50 negotiating groups, six provinces and two territories providing a range of perspectives.

Overall Round 1 of the engagement process provided for a productive exchange of views on issues with fiscal arrangements and principles that should guide a new approach. Participants expressed a variety of concerns and criticisms all underscoring the importance of fiscal matters to the success of self-government. There was some general support for many of the principles set out in the federal document, along with suggestions for additional principles that better reflect the interests of Aboriginal groups. There was some scepticism about the meaningfulness of the engagement process. However, given of the importance of fiscal issues to self-government most participants expressed a willingness to continue to participate in further discussions.

AANDC will now be assessing all of the input and ideas as part of the development of a more detailed federal proposal.






Engagement Feedback Summary

While a wide variety of issues and perspectives were raised at the meetings, some key themes did emerge:

  • Participants made clear the importance of fiscal matters.

  • There was strong criticism of federal funding and own source revenue (OSR) policies.

  • Overall, there was little dispute amongst the Aboriginal representatives concerning the challenges facing Aboriginal communities as laid out in the Issues & Principles discussion paper, but there was a desire to see more direct linkages between the issues outlined and Canada's principles.

  • Although there was general agreement with many of the principles there were differing views on how to define them (e.g. comparability to whom/what).

  • Additional principles were proposed to better reflect Aboriginal community interests (e.g., adequacy of funding).

  • There were concerns that some principles would conflict with others and worries some would dominate (e.g. affordability and legislative authority would dominate over the others).

  • There were concerns regarding a national approach and that one formula wouldn't adequately address the unique circumstances of different Aboriginal communities.

  • Signatory groups emphasized a principle of honouring existing agreements but were also interested in fixing problems with status quo.

  • Negotiating groups are very interested in hearing viewpoints of signatories.

  • Concerns were expressed regarding whether the views of Aboriginal groups would be truly reflected in the policy development. However, there was an interest expressed by most groups to engage in second round discussions and to provide feedback in the development of the policy.





AANDC Responses

As the purpose of the report is to capture the feedback received from the representatives of Aboriginal governments, negotiating groups, and provincial and territorial governments attending the meetings, details of AANDC's responses to concerns and questions raised during the meetings have not been repeated in each of the meeting reports.

However, some key points made by AANDC officials in responding to some of the common concerns and questions can be summarized as follows:

  • AANDC officials clearly stated that the new approach was meant to provide an improved framework to address funding issues; the initiative was not about increasing or decreasing the amount of funding.

  • AANDC officials affirmed a willingness to consider how to make the remainder of the engagement process as effective and meaningful as possible for all parties, in particular, how Round 2 meetings would be structured.

  • AANDC officials cautioned that continuing to address fiscal negotiations on a case-bycase basis is simply not feasible. Further to that, there are several commonalities between Aboriginal groups upon which a more standardized approach can be designed.

  • AANDC officials assured participants the department is the leader in developing this policy, and that most funding for self-governing groups is provided through AANDC, and not other departments or central agencies. Although central agencies exercise influence over fiscal policy, ultimately AANDC is the organization leading this initiative and the one with whom Aboriginal groups should be engaging.

  • AANDC officials spoke to accountability and public reporting. The new system would make federal fiscal policy public, in particular, revealing federal funding formulas in detail, leading to increased transparency; a departure from the current approach under which federal negotiation positions are treated as confidential negotiating mandates.

  •  AANDC officials emphasized that Round 1 was primarily about Canada listening; to use the issues and principles to seed conversations and listen to the feedback of Aboriginal communities. Round 2 would be more of a working discussion integrating feedback from the first round of sessions.

  •  AANDC officials reiterated Canada's intention to honour existing agreements while seeking to explore with signatories practical solutions to renewal issues. Canada will also explore with signatories opportunities to incorporate a new approach into existing arrangements.

  •  AANDC officials stressed that the principles of affordability and legislative authority would always be of importance in our system of government. Authority for approval of government expenditures rests with Parliament.





Fiscal Harmonization Engagement: Round 1 Vancouver Meeting Report March 16, 2011

Purpose

This provides a summary of the Round 1 Fiscal Harmonization engagement session that took place on March 16, 2011 at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Vancouver meeting was the first session of the first round of engagement meetings on issues and principles to take place.

Summary

The meeting was attended by upwards of 80 people, including representatives from four BC signatory groups, over 30 BC negotiating groups, the First Nations Summit, the BC Treaty Commission, the Province of British Columbia, AANDC, as well as the Minister's Special Representative Jim Lornie. Harold Tarbell acted as facilitator.

TAG-PDC Director General Perry Billingsley opened the meeting with introductory remarks about the federal government's support for self-governing Aboriginal groups as well as problems associated with the current approach to fiscal arrangements for these groups.

Project Coordinator Alan Greer then spoke about the structure of current fiscal arrangements between the federal government and self-governing Aboriginal groups before offering a sketch of the features that would characterize Canada's new approach to these arrangements.

This was followed by a description by Alan of the principles that inform Canada's vision and design of fiscal arrangements as set out in the "Issues and Principles" document that had been circulated in advance of the meeting.

Tsawwassen and Westbank First Nations prepared a statement of their perspectives on principles prior to the meeting. This was circulated at the meeting but not discussed in detail.

The Province of BC offered its own perspective as a wait-and-see attitude of "studied neutrality", neither rejecting nor endorsing Canada's new approach.

First Nations responses to the presentations largely spoke either to the engagement process itself or to the substantive matter of issues and principles.

Feedback on Issues

  • Signatory groups expressed dissatisfaction about the time and financial commitments required of them within the current fiscal renewal process.

  • The legitimacy of AANDC's ability to lead this initiative was challenged on several occasions, with participants suggesting that Central Agencies (particularly Finance) wield much greater influence than AANDC over fiscal policies.

  • Canada's own source revenue (OSR) policy was a contentious issue.

  • Amongst signatory groups, there was heavy emphasis on Canada's need to honour existing agreements, with which AANDC officials were in agreement.

  • Some worried that a national approach to fiscal matters would not adequately take into account British Columbia's unique treaty context.

  • Moreover, there were worries that a national approach would not adequately address the unique circumstances of individual self-governing Aboriginal groups.

Feedback on Principles

  • Some participants noted the vague nature of several of the principles put forth by Canada.

  • There was concern that Canada's principles do not adequately address the issues that were laid out in the "Issues and Principles" document.

  • A principle of funding adequacy was prominent and proposed a number of times.

  • Other principles proposed by First Nations representatives included:

    • a principle of socio-economic catch-up;
    • a principle of recognition of Aboriginal rights and title;
    • a principle of proceeding to arbitration in cases where negotiation reaches an impasse;
    • a principle of 'creativity' in approaching fiscal arrangements;
    • a principle that existing agreements be recognized;
    • a principle that programs and services be guaranteed to be in final agreements; and
    • a principle that special programs reserved for Indians be continued under treaty

Feedback On the Engagement Process

  • Several people emphasized the need for Canada to agree to negotiate any policy changes rather than merely offer opportunities for discussion, engagement, or consultation.

  • Some participants expressed concern that the meeting was arranged in a hasty way and that the engagement process seemed to lack a formal structure.

  • There was a desire expressed that the two-stage engagement process be open to modification in order to better meet the needs of the participants.

  • Various First Nations representatives wanted to have more influence over the Fiscal Harmonization framework and formula development.

  • Some viewed the Common Table as a more appropriate venue for engagement, especially as fiscal matters had already been discussed there at length.

  • There was concern about table negotiations being delayed or sidelined as a consequence of the new federal approach.





Fiscal Harmonization Engagement: Round 1 Toronto Meeting Report March 21-23, 2011

Purpose

This report provides a summary of the Round 1 Fiscal Harmonization engagement sessions that took place on March 21, 22, and 23 at Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario.

The Toronto meeting was the second session of the first round of engagement meetings on issues and principles.

Summary

The first round of engagement in Toronto was conducted in separate meetings with representatives of each of the five Ontario negotiating groups and officials from the Province of Ontario.

Project Coordinator Alan Greer spoke about the structure of current fiscal arrangements between the federal government and self-governing Aboriginal groups before offering a preliminary outline of the features that would characterize Canada's new approach to these arrangements (as set out on the Issues & Principles discussion paper circulated to participants in advance). This was followed by a description of the principles informing Canada's vision and design of fiscal arrangements.

Aboriginal groups were open to the principles presented and comments given either spoke to improving the engagement process itself or to honing the substantive matter of issues and principles.

Feedback on Issues

  • There was a general dissatisfaction among First Nations about the time and financial commitments required of them within the current negotiation process.

  • Canada's OSR policy was a contentious issue.

  • There were worries that a national approach would not adequately address the unique circumstances of Aboriginal groups in negotiations:

    • Specifically, Ontario groups negotiating sectoral education agreements found Canada's mandate doesn't allow for the full scope of the education sector. There was a concern this would be perpetuated.

  • Ontario officials are less directly involved with negotiation tables but expressed concerns regarding the protection of provincial revenues from federal OSR treatment. They also suggested that the OSR offset should be based on some kind of socioeconomic indicators of a First Nation rather than solely its financial capacity.

Feedback on Principles

  • It was suggested that the principles better outline how the challenges of socioeconomic disparity inform the development of the policy.

  • With respect to the principle of consistency, a desire was expressed for treatment consistent with Canada's responsiveness to provincial school board rates in the funding of Indian Act education.

  • Coherency / clarity through providing adequate information (and access to information) regarding Canada's new fiscal policy and funding formulation was suggested as an additional principle.

  • It was suggested that a document be created, presumably in Round 2, setting out how a proposed formula meets the principles articulated in Round 1.

Feedback on the Engagement Process

  • There was a desire expressed to engage in a larger forum including, in particular, signatory groups.

  • It was suggested that the proposed ongoing intergovernmental forum be established sooner, for example during the engagement process, and organized in such a way as to give it legitimacy so that it could be involved in the development of the policy and funding formula.





Fiscal Harmonization Engagement: Round 1 Québec Meeting Report May 31 and June 1, 2011

Purpose

This report provides a summary of the Round 1 Fiscal Harmonization engagement sessions that took place on May 31 (English) and June 1 (French) at the Hôtel Château Laurier in Québec, Québec.

Québec was the third location visited during the first round of engagement meetings on issues and principles.

Summary

The first round of engagement in Québec was conducted in two separate meetings, one in English (May 31) and one in French (June 1), with 10 representatives from five negotiating groups and two officials from the Province of Québec in attendance along with eight AANDC officials.

AANDC officials (English – Project Coordinator Alan Greer; French – Director of Fiscal Policy, Éric Marion) began each meeting by discussing the structure of current fiscal arrangements between the federal government and self-governing Aboriginal groups and then presenting a preliminary outline of the features that would characterize Canada's new approach to these arrangements. This was followed by a description of the principles informing Canada's vision and design of fiscal arrangements as set out on the Issues & Principles discussion paper circulated to participants in advance.

Most of the Aboriginal groups' comments were specific to the substantive matter of issues and principles including suggestions for additional principles, the most common being adequacy or sufficiency of funding. There were also several comments about the engagement process itself.

Feedback on Issues

  • Some suggested that Canada does not acknowledge Aboriginal lands and existing treaties and this was identified as an overarching problem.

  • There were questions around the link between the proposed new approach and the federal Inherent Right Policy.

  • Participants indicated that underfunding of self-government was also an issue to be addressed.

  • There were worries that a national approach would not adequately address the unique circumstances of individual self-governing Aboriginal groups.

  • Aboriginal representatives also mentioned the challenges of the current approaches to funding where administrative delays often result in funding being received late in the year.

  • They also mentioned challenges with AANDC staff turnover, experienced people leaving, and conflicts between Headquarters and Regional office approaches.

  • Taxation issues and Canada's OSR policy were also raised as issues.

Feedback on Principles

  • It was suggested that the principles presented by AANDC served the interests of the federal government and not those of Aboriginal communities.

  • Concerns were expressed on the principles of comparability and fairness and consistency. Aboriginal groups worried it would mean they would only be compared to nearby, disadvantaged non-Aboriginal communities and be held to the same low standard.

  • Provincial representatives pointed out that there was a wide disparity among Quebec FNs, not just in terms of geographical location or remoteness but also in terms of differing forms of government, and expressed concern over whether the formula could capture this.

  • Aboriginal representatives also expressed that it would be important for the principles to be applied prudently. It was noted that some principles could contradict others and that this should not be used to justify a lower level of funding.

  • A principle of funding adequacy was proposed, including some form of socio-economic catch-up. There is a feeling that the existing standard of funding is too low and needs to be raised before being incorporated into a formula.

Feedback on the Engagement Process

  • Some questioned what was meant by engagement as compared to consultation. It was pointed out that Canada must understand that real consultation with Aboriginal groups must continue throughout the policy development process.

  • There was a desire expressed that the second stage engagement allow for discussion of the formula in a way which would reflect not just federal interests but the interests of Aboriginal participants.

  • There was also a desire among attendees for AANDC to share the reports it prepares from this series of engagement meetings with all parties involved.

  • There was a desire expressed to engage in a larger forum including, in particular, signatory groups.

  • There was a request that any documents for the second round be shared as far in advance as possible to give Aboriginal groups time to prepare and discuss with each other.





Fiscal Harmonization Engagement: Round 1 Halifax Meeting Report June 2, 2011

Purpose

This provides a summary of the Round 1 Fiscal Harmonization engagement session that took place on June 2, 2011 at the Delta Halifax Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Halifax was the fourth location visited during the first round of engagement meetings on issues and principles.

Summary

The meeting was attended by eight representatives from three groups including one signatory group (Nunatsiavut), along with six AANDC officials. There were no provincial representatives present.

Project Coordinator Alan Greer opened the meeting with introductory remarks about the federal government's support for self-governing Aboriginal groups as well as problems associated with the current approach to fiscal arrangements for these groups. He then spoke about the structure of current fiscal arrangements between the federal government and selfgoverning Aboriginal groups before offering a sketch of the features that would characterize Canada's new approach to these arrangements.

This was followed by a description by Alan of the principles that inform Canada's vision and design of fiscal arrangements as set out in the "Issues and Principles" document that had been circulated in advance of the meeting.

Aboriginal groups' responses to the presentations largely spoke either to the engagement process itself or to the substantive matter of issues and principles. There was also substantial discussion between the signatory group and the negotiating groups, in particular, regarding the experience of Nunatsiavut government with existing fiscal arrangements.

Feedback on Issues

  • There were concerns expressed about this being a "blanket approach" across the country. There were questions around the link between the proposed new approach and the federal inherent right of self-government policy.

  • The opinion was expressed that since there is a right to self-government then Aboriginal governments should have the ability to negotiate any fiscal policy changes rather than just engage in discussions, engagement, or consultation.

  • Participants expressed the concern that the formula would be a glass ceiling that would not take into account historic disparities, and that the principles would be a code word for limitations.

  • Concerns were expressed regarding Canada's OSR policy and that it provided no incentive to Aboriginal governments to develop their economy.

  • Some expressed the opinion that the overarching problem was that the federal government seems to want to entrench Aboriginals as a permanent underclass.

  • Participants indicated that underfunding of self-government was also an issue to be addressed.

  • It was suggested that Canada has the data it needs now to adequately fund Aboriginal communities and it was questioned why that data isn't being used, why Canada is waiting for this formula to use it.

  • The signatory group commented that despite its many challenges they felt self-government was still worth it.

  • The issue of provinces not adequately delivering programs and services to Aboriginals for which Canada provides transfers of funding was raised.

Feedback on Principles

  • It was suggested that the principle of policy neutrality was described in a very paternalistic way that suggested AANDC would not allow Aboriginal governments to do what they wanted with their funding.

  • Concerns were expressed on the principle of comparability. Participants worried it would mean they would only be compared to other poor communities and be held to the same low standard. It was felt that they should be compared to all Canadians.

  • There was a question around the affordability principle – affordable to Aboriginal governments or Canada – and whether the flexibility principle would be able to adapt to changes such as rising costs for some programs (drug coverage was cited as an example).

  • There was concern that some of the principles may not work together, for example Predictability and Flexibility or Affordability as compared to all the others.

  • A principle of funding adequacy, that Canada should commit to adequately funding Aboriginal governments to meet their obligations, was suggested.

  • Other principles proposed by Aboriginal representatives included:

    • a principle of reconciliation;
    • a principle of equity and equality;
    • a principle of balance (e.g. power and capacity of Canada compared to Aboriginal governments); and
    • a principle that Canada has a legal obligation to fund Aboriginal groups.

Feedback on the Engagement Process

  • Some questioned what was meant by engagement as compared to consultation. It was pointed out that if this policy affects the right to self government Canada should be undertaking a consultation and accommodation process, not just engagement.

  • Several people emphasized the need for Canada to agree to negotiate any policy changes rather than merely offer opportunities for discussion, engagement, or consultation.

  • There was a suggestion that the second stage engagement allow for Aboriginal groups to meet together on the first day without Canada, and then on the second day they would bring their key concerns jointly to Canada for discussion.

  • There was also a desire among attendees for AANDC to share the reports it prepares from this series of engagement meetings with all parties involved.

  • There was agreement that engaging in a larger forum including signatory groups in particular would be beneficial.





Fiscal Harmonization Engagement: Round 1 Yellowknife Meeting Report June 7, 2011

Purpose

This provides a summary of the Round 1 Fiscal Harmonization engagement session that took place on June 7, 2011 at the Yellowknife Inn in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Yellowknife was the fifth location visited during the first round of engagement meetings on issues and principles.

Summary

The meeting was attended by 22 Aboriginal representatives, including two from the Inuvialuit Settlement Area, 10 from the Sahtu Settlement Area, one from the Gwich'in Settlement, four from Akaitcho, one from Dehcho, two from Acho Dene Koe and two from the Tlicho Government. There were nine AANDC officials present and three territorial government representatives.

Project Coordinator Alan Greer opened the meeting with introductory remarks about the federal government's support for self-governing Aboriginal groups as well as problems associated with the current approach to fiscal arrangements for these groups. He then spoke about the structure of current fiscal arrangements between the federal government and selfgoverning Aboriginal groups before offering a sketch of the features that would characterize Canada's new approach to these arrangements.

This was followed by a description by Alan of the principles that inform Canada's vision and design of fiscal arrangements as set out in the "Issues and Principles" document that had been circulated in advance of the meeting.

Aboriginal groups' responses to the presentations largely spoke either to the engagement process itself or to the substantive matter of issues and principles. There was also substantial discussion relating to funding for programs and services, such as education and housing, which are the responsibility of the GNWT.

Feedback on Issues

  • There was heavy emphasis on Canada's need to honour existing agreements, and questions around how AANDC would align these agreements with the new approach. It was pointed out that if there is a constitutionally protected land claim, that claim can't be modified without negotiation.

  • The opinion was expressed that since there is a right to self-government then Aboriginal governments should have the ability to negotiate any fiscal policy changes rather than just engage in discussions, engagement, or consultation.

  • There were worries that a national approach would not adequately address the unique circumstances of individual self-governing Aboriginal groups. A related concern was that it would be based on southern standards and not take into consideration the reality of the North.

  • It was noted that it would be important to have specific, defined benchmarks in the approach so that people could easily understand what funding was being provided for and what standards were to be accomplished.

  • Participants indicated that underfunding of self-government was also an issue to be addressed. It was noted that while funding may not be a right, if Aboriginal groups could not exercise their right to self-government due to lack of funding then that right was being denied.

  • It was suggested that the approach was too narrow, that all fiscal issues (taxation, OSR) should be examined at once, including funding levels.

  • Participants indicated that there is structural inequity in self-government negotiations – that unlike provinces and territories, Aboriginal groups have no tax base or ability to issue debt equity and therefore there is an imbalance of power.

  • Participants expressed the concern that the new approach does not suggest a minimum standard starting point, or basic funding level, which would address existing disparities.

  • Participants pressed the federal government to redirect funding currently provided to the GNWT for many programs to the Aboriginal self-governing groups instead.

Feedback on Principles

  • It was noted that many of the principles made common sense but that there were some gaps. The principle of transparency in particular was supported.

  • Concerns were expressed on the principle of comparability. Participants worried it would mean they would only be compared to other poor communities and be held to the same low standard. It was felt that they should be compared to all Canadians.

  • There was concern regarding the principles of affordability and legislative authority and that they might be used to override the others.

  • Many suggested that the principle of funding adequacy be added.

  • It was suggested that the principles need to support the success of treaties in the long run.

  • Other principles proposed by representatives of Aboriginal groups included:

    • a principle of socio-economic catch-up; and
    • a principle providing for some sort of arbitration body or process.

Feedback on the Engagement Process

  • The issue of what was meant by engagement as compared to consultation was raised numerous times. It was pointed out that Canada has clear obligations when it comes to the Crown's duty in terms of consultation and accommodation. Participants wanted to know what exactly the obligations were for engagement, what Canada was committing to in the engagement process.

  • Several people emphasized the need for Canada to agree to negotiate any policy changes rather than merely offer opportunities for discussion, engagement, or consultation.

  • Participants expressed concern over whether their input would be taken seriously or whether this was just really an information session. It was emphasized that for the engagement to be seen as a success it would need to be demonstrated that AANDC listened and that the views of the Aboriginal groups were taken into account.

  • There was a suggestion that following the second stage of the engagement that there be one additional stage where AANDC comes back with the policy and shows what has been done to address the concerns Aboriginal groups before we go to Cabinet for policy approval.

  • There was a desire among attendees for AANDC to share the reports it prepares from this series of engagement meetings with all parties involved.





Fiscal Harmonization Engagement: Round 1 Saskatoon Meeting Report June 09, 2011

Purpose

This provides a summary of the Round 1 Fiscal Harmonization engagement session that took place on June 09, 2011 at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park outside Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The Saskatoon meeting summarized here was the penultimate session of first round engagement meetings on issues and principles.

Summary

The meeting was attended by 22 people, including 11 representatives from one Alberta and two Saskatchewan First Nations, five representatives from the three prairie provincial governments, and six AANDC staff.

Project Coordinator Alan Greer began the meeting with a presentation about the structure of current fiscal arrangements between the federal government and self-governing Aboriginal groups.

Before completing his presentation of AANDC's views on the issues and principles guiding policy development of the Fiscal Harmonization initiative, Alan addressed a number of comments and questions from First Nations and provincial representatives alike.

A productive discussion continued after the presentation for the remainder of the morning and after lunch into the afternoon.

Whitecap Dakota First Nation prepared a document outlining its perspectives on a number of self-governance issues related to the meeting. This was circulated at the end of the meeting, and so was not discussed in detail. Whitecap gave its permission to circulate the document to all groups involved in the engagement process.

Provincial representatives offered several comments.

Feedback on Issues

  • As none of the First Nation groups who participated at the meeting have ratified selfgovernment final agreements, they were not necessarily aware of the problems faced by all parties when negotiating renewals of fiscal agreements. Several questioners sought a better understanding of these problems.

  • There was a suggestions that fiscal arrangements must address the challenges faced by successful (i.e., revenue-rich) First Nations, in addition to the challenges of less successful First Nations.

  • A number of comments centred on the notion that "jurisdictional ambiguity leads to jurisdictional disputes" between different levels of government, especially between provincial governments and the federal government. First Nations representatives noted that this resulted in the need for them to be creative working alone or with the provincial government to obtain services for their members.

  • There were also a number of comments expressing concern about the complex jurisdictional arrangements between different departments within the federal government.

  • The issue of service population was prominent owing to First Nation concerns about providing programs to residents other than own-band, on-reserve citizens listed in the Indian Registry. This is viewed as a problem because there is a risk that service populations may require considerably more programs and services than a given First Nation is funded to provide based on Indian Registry population figures.

  • Tied to this was the mention that data collection and availability will be a major problem for Canada as well as First Nations in moving toward a formula-based approach to funding.

  • First Nations participants viewed Canada's OSR policy as punitive and a disincentive to First Nation community development in the self-government context; a call was made for studies to be conducted about the impacts of OSR policy on the ground in First Nation communities.

  • There were comments to the effect that a Fiscal Harmonization formula cannot be a national cookie-cutter solution, that such a national formula would not adequately address the unique circumstances of individual self-governing Aboriginal groups across the country.

  • First Nations participants requested that AANDC involve Canada's other departmental representatives much earlier in initial self-government discussions, e.g., Health Canada and Finance to construct a better context of the Fiscal Harmonization issues when implementing and renewing self-government agreements.

  • As two of the First Nation negotiating groups have recently received financial offers from Canada, the First Nations shared their uneasiness in accepting a financial offer while Fiscal Harmonization details are yet unknown.

Feedback on Principles

  • There was a concern from a provincial representative that the principles presented by AANDC served the interests of the federal government, and not those of either First Nations or provincial governments.

  • A First Nation representative called for a principle that a dispute resolution mechanism be incorporated into the new federal approach.

  • There was also a call for a principle that allows for success (for self-governing Aboriginal groups).

Feedback on the Engagement Process

  • There was also a desire among attendees for AANDC to share the reports it prepares from this series of engagement meetings with all parties involved.

  • Some participants floated the possibility a convening a First Nations caucus prior to second round engagement meetings with the federal government.

  • A call was made to have other federal departments in addition to AANDC present for the second round engagement meetings.





Fiscal Harmonization Engagement: Round 1 Whitehorse Meeting Report June 16, 2011

Purpose

This provides a summary of the Round 1 Fiscal Harmonization engagement session that took place on June 16, 2011 at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The Whitehorse meeting summarized here was the last session of first round engagement meetings on issues and principles to take place. The context of the Whitehorse meeting was unique in that Yukon First Nations are largely already signatories to treaty agreements.

Summary

The meeting was attended by 35 people, including 21 representatives from 11 Yukon First Nations which have self government agreements, three representatives from the Yukon government, two representatives from the Council of Yukon First Nations, and nine AANDC staff.

Project Coordinator Alan Greer began the meeting with a presentation about the structure of current fiscal arrangements between the federal government and self-governing Aboriginal groups.

First Nations responses to the presentation largely spoke to the issues and principles, with other comments addressing the engagement process.

Feedback on Issues

  • Yukon First Nations form the majority of aboriginal self-governments in Canada. Owing to their long experience as signatories to self-government agreements, they're able to offer unique perspectives on the development of Canada's new approach to funding fiscal arrangements.

  • Questions were raised about how it could be possible to reconcile a national funding approach with existing commitments to negotiate with First Nations.

  • Some attendees voiced concerns about the amount of meaningful participation First Nations will be able to have in the development of policy related to the Fiscal Harmonization initiative.

  • There was concern about a one-size-fits-all solution to Canada's problems associated with the funding of self-governing Aboriginal groups.

  • One representative stated that any protracted negotiations that there may be in renewing fiscal arrangements are a consequence of Canada's unwillingness to address funding inadequacies of self-governing Aboriginal groups.

  • It was suggested that that the wide variety of individual circumstances among First Nation communities precludes the possibility of a formula-based solution to funding.

  • There was a comment to the effect that Fiscal Harmonization's treatment of small First Nations will be the litmus test for its usefulness as a policy initiative.

Feedback on Principles

  • In regard to the principle of transparency put forth by AANDC, a First Nation representative commented that in the Yukon funding agreements are already at a satisfactorily transparent level. It was further noted that the Auditor General has singled out Yukon First Nations as being amongst the most transparent governments in Canada.

  • A participant spoke to the federal principle of comparability noting that comparability for Yukon First Nations is concerned solely about comparability between and amongst Yukon First Nations, and is not concerned about comparability with First Nations in other jurisdictions across the country.

  • On a number of occasions, AANDC officials were asked to elaborate on what is meant by the principle of shared responsibility. This principle has a particular significance in the Yukon self-government context owing to the specific nature of self-government agreements in the territory. It was pointed out that Section 18 found in Yukon self-government FFAs indicates that territorial responsibilities are to be delineated prior to funding formulas being rolled out.

  • Clarification of Canada's position on the Yukon Government's role vis-à-vis Section 18 of Yukon First Nation Self-Government agreements was a recurring theme related to the principle of shared responsibility.

  • Some viewed the starting point for any new fiscal approach as being the need to honour existing agreements between Canada and First Nations.

  • There was a call for the national approach to funding to be built on an acknowledgement of regional variations in First Nation circumstances across the country.

Feedback on the Engagement Process

  • Representatives of Yukon First Nations would prefer to work closely together on this project in a Yukon-specific context, as opposed to in a larger pan-Canadian conference arrangement for the second round of engagement.

  • One participant commented that they believed that Canada's policy positions have already been formed without First Nation input, and that the engagement process was not sincere.

  • First Nations representatives proposed that Fiscal Harmonization engagement over the next few months be an iterative, back-and-forth process in which First Nations would have a substantial role in helping to shape the initiative's wider policy. There was pressure to begin the iterative process now rather than later.

  • AANDC was encouraged to create the conditions for success in its design of the next round of engagement.

  • One comment suggested that it might have been more worthwhile for AANDC and Yukon First Nations to arrange the engagement meeting together rather than relying on the event planning and coordination of the third-party Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council.





Appendix A: Vancouver Meeting Participants

Name
Group/Organization

Louise Thompson
Akwesasne

Gil Tenance
Akwesasne

Fred Robbins
Esketemc First Nation

Elizabeth Hunt
Esketemc First Nation

Irvine Johnson
Esketemc First Nation

Elmer Derrick
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Bev Clifton-Percival
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Gordon Sebastian
Gitxsan Treaty Society

Sylvia Woods
Haisla Nation

Dan Legg
Homalco First Nation

Alison Trenholm
Homalco First Nation

Robert Morales
Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group

Rosanne Daniels
Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group

Lydia Hwitsum
Cowichan Tribes

Jack Smith
Cowichan Tribes

Maureen Tommy
Cowichan Tribes

Allan Gabriel
In-SHUCK-ch Nation

Janice Parsey
In-SHUCK-ch Nation

Crystal Azak
Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation

Mel Bevan
Kitselas First Nation

Alex Bolton
Kitsumkalum First Nation

Lynn Armstrong
Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Council

Kathryn Teneese
Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Council

Rod Naknakim
Laich-Kwil-Tach Treaty Society

Priscilla Henderson
Laich-Kwil-Tach Treaty Society

Jocelynn Mitchell
Metlakatla First Nation

Barbara Petzelt
Metlakatla First Nation

Harold Leighton
Metlakatla First Nation

Garry Ullstrom
Namgis First Nation

Angela D'Elia
Nisga'a Lisims Government

Edmond Wright
Nisga'a Lisims Government

Frederick Tolmie
Nisga'a Lisims Government

Jason Chan
Nisga'a Lisims Government

Jim Doswell
Northern Shuswap Tribal Council

Lisa Luscomb
Quatsino First Nation

Garry Feschuk
Sechelt Indian Band

Barbara Joe
Sechelt Indian Band

Roy Francis
Sliammon Indian Band

Bill Stipdonk
Sliammon Indian Band

Joe Hall
Sto:lo Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association

Robert Janes
Te'mexw Treaty Association

Yvon Gesinghaus
Te'mexw Treaty Association

Gregg Sigmar
Te'mexw Treaty Association

Henry Chipps
Beecher Bay First Nation

Russell Harry
Malahat First Nation

Frank Frank
Tla-o-qui-aht Treaty Office

Ken Smith
Tlowitsis Nation

Kim Baird Tsawwassen
First Nation

Valerie Cross-Blackett
Tsawwassen First Nation

Colin Ward
Tsawwassen First Nation

Tom McCarthy
Tsawwassen First Nation

Barbara Cobble
Westbank First Nation

Raf DeGuevara
Westbank First Nation

Partner Schielke
Yekooche Nation

Cathy Thomas
Yekooche Nation

Rob Draeseke
Province of BC

Mike Scharf
Province of BC

Andrea Keil
Province of BC

Michael Matsubuchi
Province of BC

Celeste Haldane
BCTC

Dan Smith
First Nation Summit

Howard Grant
First Nation Summit

Nancy Morgan
First Nation Summit

Melissa Canil
First Nation Summit

Ray Harris
First Nation Summit

Ted Adnitt
AANDC

Matthew Baird
AANDC

Perry Billingsley
AANDC

Michael Friedlaender
AANDC

Alan Greer
AANDC

Mike Haberl
AANDC

Janet Harper
AANDC

Kenneth Ketchum
AANDC

Heather Lawrence
AANDC

Esther Lee
AANDC

Jeffery Lee
AANDC

Pennie Libby
AANDC

Éric Marion
AANDC

Brian McKenney
AANDC

Lynne Partel
AANDC

Simon Paul
AANDC

Joel Schick
AANDC

Dennis Siska
AANDC

Jim Lornie
Minister's Special Representative





Appendix B: Toronto Meeting Participants

Name
Group/Organization

Robert J. Potts
Algonquins of Ontario

Lincoln Dunn
Fort Frances Chiefs Secretariat

Jim Leonard II
Fort Frances Chiefs Secretariat

Tammy Ryll
Fort Frances Chiefs Secretariat

Louise Thompson Mohawk
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Richard Fournier
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Wendy Adams
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Doug Semple Nishnawbe
Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Bernadette Marasco
Union of Ontario Indians

Tracey O'Donnell
Union of Ontario Indians

Martin Bayer
Union of Ontario Indians

Monica Lister
Union of Ontario Indians

Andrew Arnott
Union of Ontario Indians

David Didluck
Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs – Province of Ontario

Alison Pilla
Strategic Policy and Planning – Province of Ontario

Shirley Carder
Ministry of Education – Province of Ontario

Jay Kaufman
Ministry of Education – Province of Ontario

Greg White
AANDC

Marsha Moshinsky
AANDC

Ron Hanley
AANDC

Jide Afolabi
AANDC

Alan Greer
AANDC

James Yantha
AANDC

Tomo Adachi
AANDC

Esther Lee
AANDC






Appendix C: Québec Meeting Participants

Name
Group/Organization

Troy Jerome
Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat

Terrilynne Morrisson
Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat

Anne Archambault
Première Nation Malécite de Viger

Carol Dallaire
Première Nation Malécite de Viger

François Robert
Première Nation Malécite de Viger

Claude Jeannotte
MicMacs of Gespeg

Louise Nepton
Innu of Québec

Simon Awashish
le Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw

Thérèse Niquay
le Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw

Eva Ottawa
le Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw

Étienne Paré
Government of Québec

Marc Grandisson
Government of Québec

Patrick Barthold
AANDC

Matthew Baird
AANDC

Alan Greer
AANDC

Patrick Ballay
AANDC

Blake McLaughlin
AANDC

Michael Walsh
AANDC

Pennie Libby
AANDC

Éric Marion
AANDC






Appendix D: Halifax Meeting Participants

Name
Group/Organization

Isabella Pain
Nunatsiavut Government

Rexanne Crawford
Nunatsiavut Government

Cora Lee Drysdale
New Brunswick Assembly of Chiefs

Stewart Gilby
New Brunswick Assembly of Chiefs

Bruce Wildsmith
Kwilmu'kw Maw-Klusuaqn Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative

Eric Zscheile
Kwilmu'kw Maw-Klusuaqn Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative

Janice Maloney
Kwilmu'kw Maw-Klusuaqn Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative

Viola Robinson
Kwilmu'kw Maw-Klusuaqn Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative

Wilf Attwood
AANDC

Pauline Klemencic
AANDC

Blake McLaughlin
AANDC

Michael Walsh
AANDC

Alan Greer
AANDC

Pennie Libby
AANDC






Appendix E: Yellowknife Meeting Participants

Name
Group/Organization

Danny Gaudet
Deline Land Corporation

Raymond Tutcho
Deline Land Corporation

Stephanie Fox
Deline Land Corporation

Cheryl Best
Tulita Yamuria Sec.

Douglas Yayec
Tulita Yamuria Sec.

Richard C. Lafferty
Dehcho First Nations

Joseph Kochon
Colville Lake

Bertha Rabesca-Zoe
Tlicho Government

Kevin Armstrong
Tlicho Government

Bob Simpson
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Jean A. Guertin
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Robert Reiter
Acho Dene Koe First Nation

Gilbert N. Capot-Blanc
Acho Dene Koe First Nation

Margaret McDonald
Norman Wells Land Corporation

Cece McCauley
Norman Wells Land Corporation

(Paul) Ren Xiang Tan
Norman Wells Land Corporation

Chief Frieda Martselos
Akaitcho/Salt River First Nation

Larry Hutchinson
K'asho Got'ine SG - Fort Good Hope

Lew Voytilla
Gwich'in Tribal Council

Archie Catholique
Lutsel K'e First Nation

George Marlowe
Lutsel K'e First Nation

Chief Antoine Michel
Lutsel K'e First Nation

John T'Seleie
DAAIR – GNWT

Terry Hall
DAAIR – GNWT

Sue Bowie
DAAIR – GNWT

Tina Gear
AANDC

Kimberly Thompson
AANDC

Patrick Barthold
AANDC

Gary Potts
AANDC

Caroline Dennill
AANDC

Kevin Clement
AANDC

Michael Walsh
AANDC

Alan Greer
AANDC

Pennie Libby
AANDC






Appendix F: Saskatoon Meeting Participants

Name
Group/Organization

Kirby Many Fingers
Blood Tribe

Lorna Day Chief
Blood Tribe

Marie Low Horn
Blood Tribe

Irma Murdock
Meadow Lake First Nations

Darcy Bear
Whitecap First Nation

Willis Royale
Whitecap First Nation

Gary Eagle
Whitecap First Nation

Kate Duncan
Whitecap First Nation

Frank Cameron
Whitecap First Nation

Ernest Fiddler
Waterhen Lake First Nation

Chris Welligan
Province of Alberta

Kevin Banman
Province of Saskatchewan

Sonia Eggerman
Province of Saskatchewan

Brian Gudmundson
Province of Manitoba

David Hicks
Province of Manitoba

Alan Greer
AANDC

Simon Paul
AANDC

Stephen Peltz
AANDC

Suzanne Dorma
AANDC

Leslie Trobak
AANDC

Robbin Lloyd
AANDC





Appendix G: Whitehorse Meeting Participants Group

Name
Group/Organization

Matthew Mehaffey
Carcross/Tagish First Nation

Danny Cresswell
Carcross/Tagish First Nation

Pam Sembsmoen
Carcross/Tagish First Nation

Fran Asp
Champagne and Aishihik

Angie Wabisca
Champagne and Aishihik

Jim Harper
Champagne and Aishihik / Little Salmon Carmacks / Selkirk / Teslin Tlingit

Sandra Jack
Council of Yukon First Nations

Ruth Massie
Council of Yukon First Nations

Donalda Easterson
Kluane

Bill Stipdonk
Kwanlin Dun

Mike Smith
Kwanlin Dun

Gordon Campbell
Kwanlin Dun

Lily Sembsmoen
Kwanlin Dun

Viola Mullett
Little Salmon Carmacks

Beverley Blanchard
Nacho Nyak Dun

Sharon Peter
Nacho Nyak Dun

Sharon Nelson
Selkirk

Shawn O'Dell
Ta'an Kwach'an

Kim Smarch
Teslin Tlingit

Stephen Phillips
Teslin Tlingit

Monina Wittfoth
Tr'ondek Hwech'in

Tim Gerberding
Tr'ondek Hwech'in / Nacho Nyak Dun

Hugh Monaghan
Vuntut Gwitchin

Michael Hale
Yukon Government

Kathleen Zimmer
Yukon Government

Cheryl McLean
Yukon Government

Linda Anton
AANDC

David Janoff
AANDC

Jean-Paul Molgat
AANDC

Dionne Savill
AANDC

Allan Burnside
AANDC

Jake Kennedy
AANDC

Robin Bradasch
AANDC

Alan Greer
AANDC

Simon Paul
AANDC