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–A summary of recent announcements, opportunities and initiatives pertaining to AANDC–
In this issue, find updates on Claims, Water, the North, Education and Schools, Crown-First Nation Relationships, Infrastructure, Environment and Natural Resources, Youth and Reconciliation.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, like every other department, is contributing to the effort to eliminate the deficit. As part of measures announced in Budget 2012, departmental spending will be reduced by $252.6 million over the next three years, with $165.6 million in ongoing annual savings starting in 2014-2015. On April 30, 2012, we advised those employees whose jobs may be affected as a result.
In order to achieve these savings, we will be focusing on ways to decrease the costs of our internal operations as much as possible, including the elimination of approximately 480 positions across the department by April 1, 2014. We will work hard to minimize any impact on services to communities and will use this opportunity to provide faster, more streamlined processes wherever possible.
As part of this effort, the department will work with Aboriginal stakeholders to simplify the funding agreement process and reduce reporting requirements. To do this, we are targeting our internal operations, streamlining program management and business processes to deliver efficient, effective and accountable programs. We will continue to work with First Nations to reduce red tape and eliminate duplication of efforts to improve service delivery to communities.
On March 24th, K'ómoks First Nation, Canada and BC signed an Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) under the BC Treaty Process. The AIP lays a framework for final negotiations toward a legally binding treaty. The AIP includes provisions for approximately 2,043 hectares of land and a capital transfer of $17.5 million once a final agreement is reached. Read the News Release.
On March 20th, Canada and Ontario announced that four First Nation communities will participate in the Canada-Ontario First Nation Pilot Initiative to Improve Drinking Water Quality. Canada and Ontario are working with First Nation partners to explore and assess drinking water servicing solutions. The Government of Canada is providing up to $5 million in funding to cover the full costs of capital infrastructure and, in addition, at least three years of operations and maintenance funding for the projects. Read the News Release.
On February 29th, Minister Duncan announced the introduction of the Bill S-8, the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, aimed at helping to protect drinking water on First Nation lands. While provinces and territories each have their own safe drinking water standards, there are currently no legally enforceable standards and protocols governing water quality on First Nation lands. Bill S-8 would allow the federal government, in collaboration with First Nations, to develop federal regulations for access to safe drinking water and to ensure the effective treatment of wastewater and the protection of sources of drinking water on First Nation lands. Read the News Release.
The Government of Canada hosted the International Polar Year Conference (IPY), "From Knowledge to Action", in Montreal from April 22-27. The Conference provided an opportunity for polar nations to share and discuss IPY findings and their implications, so we can benefit fully from the legacy of IPY through the application of sound science and evidence-based decision-making. Canada's investments in IPY support Canada's Northern Strategy and demonstrate our strong commitment to better understanding Canada's North and the opportunities it presents.
On March 30th, Minister Duncan, with Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee, and Greg Louie, President of the First Nations Schools Association, celebrated near unanimous support for a Tripartite Education Framework Agreement in BC. The Framework Agreement is supported by a new funding formula that will result in First Nation schools being funded in the same way as similarly sized and situated public schools in the provincial system. The new investment will put in place programming and structures to ensure students can transfer between First Nation and provincial systems without penalty. Read the News Release.
On April 5th, Minister Duncan notified the Attawapiskat First Nation of the Department's intent to move the First Nation out of third-party funding agreement management and back to co-management. The Third Party Manager was put in place to support measures to address urgent health and safety needs and to ensure that affected families have access to safe and warm shelter. Read the Statement.
On March 16th, Canada, British Columbia, KM LNG Operating General Partnership and the Haisla Nation announced a milestone in the development of the Kitimat LNG™ facility with the signing of the Interim Regulatory Agreement. The facility is being constructed on Haisla Nation reserve land at Bish Cove, approximately 650 kilometres north of Vancouver. The facility will have the capacity to produce approximately five million metric tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year. Read the News Release.
The First Nations Land Management (FNML) Regime gives First Nations control over their reserve lands and resources by allowing them to opt out of the 34 sections of the Indian Act related to land management. On April 13th, Minister Duncan attended a special signing ceremony marking the addition of 18 First Nations from across Canada to the FNLM Regime. Read the News Release. AANDC has published a new guide to help First Nations become more familiar with the Regime and its economic development benefits. View the Guide.
On April 17th, Minister Leona Aglukkaq, on behalf of Minister Duncan, announced a new investment fund to support Inuit participation in major natural resource projects in Nunavut. Canada is contributing $3 million in partnership with the Nunavut Resources Corporation (NRC), which has access to an additional $2.6 million, to create an investment fund to support major resource development projects in the Kitikmeot region and to increase employment opportunities for the Inuit population in the territory. Read the News Release.
On February 27th, Minister Duncan announced an important milestone under the Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment. Seventeen new research projects have been initiated that will address community priorities and assist regulators in making decisions for offshore oil and gas activities. Canada is providing $21.8 million over four years to support this initiative. Read the News Release.
On March 30th, Minister Duncan and Minister James Moore announced the transfer of three components of the Aboriginal People's Program from Canadian Heritage to AANDC. The Aboriginal Friendship Centre Program , Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth and Young Canada Works for Aboriginal Urban Youth have now been transferred to AANDC at existing funding levels. Read the News Release.
AANDC is reminding former students of Indian Residential Schools that the Independent Assessment Process deadline to submit applications is September 19, 2012. Applications will not be accepted after this deadline. Information on the process can be found in the Independent Assessment Process guide and Independent Assessment Process application form , which are available online or by calling 1-866-879-4913.
On June 21th Canadians will celebrate National Aboriginal Day. Let us help you celebrate with posters, tattoos and other products, which are available to order free of charge. The deadline to order products is June 8. Also, please check back to our website regularly this spring to 'Share Your Celebration' and to link to and engage in our social media platforms.
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