Progress Report: One Year After Joint Gathering 2012

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At the Joint Gathering 2012, held on February 7-10, 2012, in Vancouver, First Nations and federal government officials came together to discuss areas of interests and identify opportunities to move forward.

A number of action items and recommendations arose out of these dialogue sessions on ways that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) in BC could focus their activities, both in the short and long term. This advice shaped and influenced how we organized our work and activities over the past year.

The Joint Gathering 2012 represented a renewed commitment to engagement for AANDC BC Region, the First Nations Leadership Council, and BC First Nations. The outcomes from that event, and progress made in the year following have strengthened our partnership. We recognize that engagement is an ongoing process, and we plan to continue to seek input from First Nations in BC on our future plans and activities.

The following summarizes areas of focus based on what was heard at the Joint Gathering 2012 and highlights progress made in these areas:

  1. Improve employment opportunities through continued support for Active Measures, promoting mentoring and best practices, and encouraging opportunities for partnership.
    • AANDC partnered with BC Ministry of Advanced Education to fund 15 Active Measures projects that support training skills upgrades for individuals on income assistance.
    • AANDC supported 17 additional Active Measures projects, which includes six “Centres of Excellence” in BC that will provide “community to community” mentoring and share best practices for social development services.
  2. Continue to implement the BC Housing MOU with a focus on continued support for skills training.
    • AANDC in partnership with CMHC, the Province of BC and First Nations funded four community demonstration projects that enabled both the renovation and building of houses, while providing skills training and employment opportunities.
  3. Support community-based and community-led environment management with a focus on waste management and environment management training.
    • AANDC provided funding for representatives of 85 First Nations to attend the Environmental Learning Regime workshop on site assessments.
    • Through its Waste Management Awareness Initiative, AANDC supported 32 First Nations to establish community-based recycling projects.
  4. Support the development of community fire protection strategies by providing access to training and capacity development opportunities.
    • AANDC delivered seven regional training sessions for First Nations in BC on how to develop a fire protection component in a service agreement with a neighbouring municipality.
    • In partnership with the Province of BC and Food Banks BC, AANDC supported a provincial campaign to promote the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms in BC homes.
    • AANDC matched a donation by Kidde Canada of 2,500 smoke alarms for First Nations homes, for a total of 5,000 smoke alarms to be distributed to First Nations in BC.
  5. Increase First Nations’ opportunities to access land management initiatives and funding, such as the First Nation Lands Management Act (FNLMA), through greater access to information.
    • Nine BC First Nations became new entrants into FNLM regime this year.
    • Two BC First Nations had successful community votes in 2012 with one becoming FNLM operational in BC this fiscal year.
  6. Continue to focus on reducing the number of high risk water and wastewater systems in BC First Nation communities through investments in infrastructure and capacity building.
    • Reduced the number of high risk water systems by 32 in BC First Nation communities.
    • AANDC funded 12 water and wastewater construction projects.
    • AANDC continued support of capacity-building initiatives such as Safe Water Operations Program, Circuit Rider Training Program and operator training.
  7. Facilitate improved First Nation partnerships and relationships with government and industry, and support First Nations to leverage economic development opportunities effectively.
    • AANDC provided funding support for Aboriginal Business Match 2013 that enabled First Nation leaders in BC and the broader business community to meet and discuss business economic opportunities.
    • AANDC provided funding support to the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business to conduct capacity building sessions on business development to First Nation Economic Development Officers and Aboriginal entrepreneurs throughout BC.
    • AANDC provided funding support that assisted 13 First Nation Economic Development Officers attend a training session held by the Economic Development Association of BC.
    • AANDC partnered with federal, provincial and Aboriginal organizations in the development of a framework and action plan to increase labour market participation and access to procurement opportunities for Aboriginal communities, companies and people in shipbuilding contracts.
  8. Support Community Development, focusing on activities enabling First Nation-to-First Nation learning.
    • AANDC held a Comprehensive Community Planning (CCP) workshop for BC First Nations in October 2012; representatives from 60 BC First Nations, at various stages of planning in their communities, attended and shared their experiences.
    • Fifteen representatives from BC First Nations participated in AANDC’s First Nation to First Nation CCP Mentorship program, which brought experienced First Nation community planners together with new planners to provide advice, guidance and support.
  9. Continue to support First Nation communities’ awareness and capacity in emergency management, in particular for preparedness and planning.
    • AANDC supported four regional training sessions for First Nations on emergency management that were delivered by the First Nations Emergency Services Society.
    • AANDC completed a review of BC First Nation coastal community preparedness and emergency response following the October 2012 earthquake that prompted tsunami warnings and evacuation in some coastal communities.
  10. Continue to share information with First Nations on the Tripartite Education Framework Agreement initiative
    • AANDC continues to support the implementation of Tripartite Education Framework Agreement signed by the Minister in January 2012 through ongoing meetings with the First Nations Education Steering Committee and contributions to their e-bulletins to First Nations.
  11. Support initiatives and activities that enable progress in active treaty negotiations and eliminate barriers to successfully concluding agreements
    • AANDC provided Treaty Related Measures funding to support 38 governance projects, 14 economic development projects, 10 lands and resources projects and two overlap consultation projects.
    • Canada shared the costs with the Province of BC to protect provincial Crown land that could be used for treaty settlement purposes from resource extraction while negotiations are underway.
    • Canada has agreed to cost-share four Incremental Treaty Agreements with BC.
    • Canada now engages and consults First Nations with overlapping claims earlier in the negotiation process, often before land selection.

For more information on these and other initiatives please visit the AANDC website at www.aandc.gc.ca.