Overall, the funding of Bilateral and Tripartite Forums, cultural celebrations/commemorative/ reconciliation events, community engagement of RCMP officers, organizational capacity building for representative organizations and the development of registration systems has produced some considerable gains: (1) the Métis have gained rights to harvest freely without regulation, including ability to harvest all year round, on federal territory; (2) the Métis have gained free federal park entrance, including abilities to perform spiritual/ceremonial traditions; (3) over the past five years, the Métis have gradually been recognized as another key group in Canada that should be awarded rights and as such, are being engaged on the co-management of the environment along with First Nations and Inuit; (4) practical socio-economic work plans have been established at the provincial levels to address Métis and non-Status Indians needs; (5) representative organizations have built their capacity to better represent and provide services to their members; and (6) by providing additional harvesting access, the federal government has validated the Métis existence – an important step for fostering reconciliation.
4.1.1 Discussions and negotiations occurring within the bilateral and tripartite forums are allowing partners to (1) better understand Métis and non-status Indians issues; (2) to manage demands for rights in a consistent manner; (3) develop institutions of self-governance; (4) develop economic development strategies; and (5) develop culturally appropriate education programs to promote secondary school completion.
Section Note: Although the previous evaluation was able to identify key successes and challenges from the bilateral and tripartite forums, this evaluation struggled to gain access to the representative organizations due to a heightened level of mistrust of the federal government because of recent AANDC funding cuts and the federal government's appeal of Daniels case. Despite these limitations, the evaluation was able to make some general observations based on case studies with four representative bodies, interviews with federal and provincial partners, and annual forum reports.
The previous evaluation found that the Canada-Métis Nation Framework Agreement between the Métis National Council and the Government of Canada signed in 2005 and the Accord on Cooperative Policy Development, signed in 2005 between Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Government of Canada, marked major progress in those organizations' relationship with the Crown. Additionally, the previous evaluation concluded that:
Office of the Federal Interlocutor was pivotal in successfully leading the federal government's response to the Powley decision. Office of the Federal Interlocutor brought a single point within the federal system for dealing with the management of Métis Aboriginal rights, both externally and as a point of cohesion within the federal family. When asked whether the Powley Initiative had succeeded in developing and implementing a coordinated whole-of-government approach to managing Métis Aboriginal rights, officials of the federal departments interviewed uniformly attested 'yes.' One senior enforcement official stated that the initiative marked "probably the best practice in a long, long time in terms of integrating the federal departments.
The previous evaluation provided evidence of a coordinated federal approach, which was found to remain strong in the current evaluation. Interviewees indicated that the federal partners are well engaged at the bilateral and tripartite forums, that AANDC was seen as "a good partner at the discussion tables and that the federal interdepartmental working group is useful for information sharing. The coordinated approach at the forums was found to be extremely useful for the federal and provincial government representatives to understand the desires of the Métis and Non-status Indian communities and to develop stronger relationships with the Aboriginal representative bodies: "because we are at the table or on the phone weekly with the organizations, this gives us a good idea of what their needs are and what issues they are struggling with.
Program documentation indicates that tripartite processes have supported the creation of institutions of self-governance in the areas of education, economic development, child welfare and justice:
Child and Family Welfare
Métis Urban Housing Corporation
Louis Riel Institute
Métis Economic Development Organization
Métis Child, Family andCommunity Services Agency Métis Generation Fund for Resource and Energy Development
Métis Justice Institute
Pemmican Publications-to promote Métis authors
Gabriel Dumont Institute
Saskatchewan Métis Development Corp
The forums have had several key accomplishments (see Appendix A), which have advanced the issues.
Additional impacts of the forums have been the conceptualization and coordination of the Métis Economic Development Symposia held in 2009 and 2010 and partnership work on developing culturally appropriate curriculum to reduce school drop-outs rates.
The first multi-stakeholder economic development strategy process was initiated by the Government of Manitoba who invited Minister Chuck Strahl to participate in the process with the Manitoba Métis Federation. A Métis Economic Development Table was established to oversee and provide direction for the preparation of the Strategy. Recognizing that this Manitoba model was useful and necessary for Métis organizations, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor initiated discussions to develop similar economic development strategies with the assistance of provincial governments and Métis National Council affiliates in Ontario and British Columbia. Strategies have now been completed with the following:
Manitoba Métis Federation
Completed in 2007/08
Métis Nation of Ontario
Completed in 2008/09
Métis National Council
Completed in 2009/10
Métis Nation of Saskatchewan
Completed in 2009/10
Métis Nation of British Columbia
Completed in 2009/10
These initiatives led to the first Métis Economic Development Symposium being hosted in Calgary in 2009 by the Honourable Chuck Strahl and then by Honourable John Duncan in Vancouver in 2011. The meetings of ministers and Métis leaders stem in part from the Métis Nation Protocol that was first signed in 2008 between AANDC and the Métis National Council (Métis National Council), 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. Since the launch of the Framework, the Government has contributed over $45 million annually to support Aboriginal business development, Aboriginal participation in large scale resource and energy development projects, and Aboriginal access to capital for business development opportunities.
In terms of curriculum development, four of the forums (Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia) are actively working to develop appropriate education strategies through after school programming, mentoring support and providing incentives for enrolling in post-secondary education. The FICP is specifically helping to fund initiatives such as the Pathways to Education programming and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit High School Graduation Coach Program to target urban Aboriginal students.
Key challenges to achieving practical gains in the forums included:
- Organizations' current debt levels continue to plague ability to productively move forward.
- Competing Métis organizations.
- High staff turn-over, inconsistent leadership, divisions within the Board of Directors within organizations.
- Reporting and audit challenges within organizations.
- Managing the organizations' high expectations for funding and programming and thus the parameters of discussions/negotiations.
This evaluation was unable to assess the extent of the practical gains at the community level as a result of the seven tripartite forums and the two bilateral forums. However, provincial representatives sitting within these forums did express that despite many of the jurisdictional issues that continue to prevent more concrete activities, AANDC is seen to be a good partner at the table and that it has been important for all stakeholders to see federal faces represented so as to build trust and respect "and see that the Government is in fact ordinary people. Interviewees also noted that the forums are operating in a similar manner with the goal of achieving practical gains. Templates are used to guide discussions that include identifying priority areas where the representative organizations will choose priorities, and then together negotiate long-term objectives, activities, expected results, budget, and expected date of completion. Additionally, the services delivered by the institutions created by the tripartite process are seen by participants to be of great value and importance to constituents as well as having significant symbolic value. According to the case studies, however, recipient organizations identified a lack of funding for new initiatives as a challenge in achieving their goals.
4.1.2 The federal government is doing more to recognize Métis contributions, but there is a general acknowledgement that Métis contributions go unrecognized in Canada.
One of the FICP activities is to organize commemorative events and engage in gestures of reconciliation across Canada in order to recognize Métis contributions and increase understanding of Métis history and culture within Canada. (Appendix B identifies completed activities since 2008)
The Parks Canada Agency also holds the mandate of increasing awareness of Métis history and culture and does so through storytelling activities within federal parks. Parks Canada’s role of storytelling was found to be appropriate as they are uniquely placed to support the Métis to interact with and tell their story to the Canadian population. This was found to be especially important when explaining why Métis have harvesting rights in the parks, as interviewees indicated that there is a need for a common understanding that FICP is providing historically-based rights instead of providing race-based rights. However, interviews with provincial representatives demonstrated that there is a lot of public discourse about who are the Métis and their place in Canada as a result of court cases occurring across the country and that media coverage is displaying a lack of understanding on behalf of the general public. Some provincial representatives discussed backlashes due to a lack of empathy in the general public.
4.1.3 Powley registration databases have been developed and are functioning; however, they are not standardized across regions and lack the capacity to accommodate the volume and complexity of Métis identity issues.
The previous evaluation found that:
The membership registry element of the Powley Initiative was critical in complying with the Supreme Court instructions. "As Métis communities continue to organize themselves more formally and to assert their constitutional rights, the Powley decision stated, "it is imperative that membership requirements become more standardized so that legitimate rights-holders can be identified. The evaluation results indicate progress in this regard—although the membership registries are now at varying stages of completion and rigour across the provinces.
From a legal perspective, the previous evaluation also noted that, "federal litigation experts suggested that registries will prove important in future cases. If properly developed and maintained, such registries will provide invaluable evidence indicating who are rights-holders.
This evaluation has found that Powley registration databases have been developed and are functioning in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, with approximately 57,238 Powley qualified members now registered at a cost to AANDC of approximately $1 million per organization per year ($40 million over nine years) or $700 per registrant. The membership systems allow for five outcomes:
- Determining who is eligible to vote and hold office in the organization;
- Helping to determine and monitor who has access to programs and services (note that the registries do not themselves provide access to programs and services but facilitate the negotiation and proof of identity for agreements);
- Facilitating communications with the organization's members;
- Identifying those members with specific rights and benefits; and
- Providing statistical information for policy purposes.
Interviews and case studies confirmed that although functional systems have been developed, there is a need to develop a more standard, credible, and practical system. The case studies also revealed that there may be difficult relationships between the Métis National Council and its affiliates managing the databases. As a result, efficiency gains may be made if AANDC were to work directly with those affiliates in standardizing and maintaining those systems.
To be registered as Métis, one must apply to the Métis Registry operated by the Métis National Council Governing Member in the province in which that person resides. Each Registry has its own application forms and application process. Application forms can usually be downloaded from the Registry's website or can be obtained in person at the provincial office or regional offices of the Governing Member in question or can be mailed to the applicant. However, current application processes differ between provinces and are not verifiable, and the new registries sometimes conflict with the pre-existing non-Powley membership registration systems in the same organizations, as well as with the registries maintained by other non Métis National Council affiliated Métis and non-status Indians and other Aboriginal representative organizations operating in the same areas (for example, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples' affiliates' membership registries).
At the moment, the registries: (1) allow the members to participate in the governance process of the representative organization; (2) provide a starting point for negotiations at the provincial level to determine harvesting rights; and (3) they provide proof of ancestry for access to various regional and federal programs and services. Agreements have been signed with Ontario and Manitoba, thus providing 1,250 harvesting cards in Ontario since 1999 and 5,157 in Manitoba since 2004. Additionally, other federal departments will potentially use the list to understand the scope and demographic information of Métis communities in order to design more targeted policies and programs. Provinces have started to explore other uses for the list. For example, in Alberta, the province is using the system to place children during child intervention and apprehension with Métis foster families.
The process for establishing the registries was led by AANDC providing funding to each of the Métis National Council affiliates who were then responsible for vetting membership applications based on the Powley established criteria. Although this approach was seen by interviewees to be more efficient than the federal government holding a centralized registry and that it provides the Métis with more autonomy, interviewees with provinces and the federal departments indicated that there are concerns about how membership assessments were carried out and that an external evaluation of each system will be necessary in order for the provinces to feel comfortable in using the list for further negotiation purposes. AANDC is currently looking to fund such an assessment of the system, with the goal to have membership cards that are verifiable and can be used like status cards with solid proof of background attached to them.
In 2008, the Institute of Governance and the Office of the Federal Interlocutor conducted an initial review of the Métis membership systems, analyzing five Métis National Council regional affiliates: Métis Nation of British Columbia, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Métis Federation, and Labrador Métis Nation (now the NunatukaVut Community Council, which is no longer being funded under this stream as a result of revisions to its membership criteria making it no longer eligible). This assessment scored each registry system based on indicators for six key elements of an objectively verifiable membership or harvester system: 1. Coherent and standardized membership codes; 2. Effective and transparent registration process; 3. Accessible, independent review and appeals; 4. secure information; 5. Secure identification; and 6. Adequate resourcing and review of procedures. With the exception of Métis Nation British Columbia, which scored high, the Métis organizations scored adequate or lower on their conformance to the assessment standards. The general conclusions of this assessment were that those registry systems, which have matured more quickly than others, possessed superior internal capacities such as early and strong support of political leadership, sustained attention of registrars to establish policies and procedures to guide the registration process, early attention to securing the required staff to manage the registry, and an abiding sense of the further uses and larger purpose of the registry as the foundation of the organization.Footnote 25
Since this Initial Assessment, AANDC has continued to work with Métis organizations to develop harmonized registry standards across provinces. Additionally, the Canadian Standards Association is working with the Government and with funded Métis groups to design a method for verifying the quality and integrity of membership systems. AANDC is working towards having the five Métis registration systems objectively verifiable by a target date in 2017.Footnote 26 However, interviewees pointed out that the assessment may lead to the need to establish a more standardized approach that could result in the need to revoke some memberships, which would cause further tensions amongst Métis members. Similarly, tension is already being felt within these organizations that have pre-established members that do not meet the Powley test and are thus offended by the implication that they are not truly "Métis. In response to this challenge, representative organizations have created separate lists of members that are not Powley-qualified members so as to not alienate these individuals claiming Métis status. These processes thus carry a risk of de-stabilizing AANDC's intentions to build stronger relationships. As such, the Department needs to be prepared to engage Métis and non-Status Indian organizations to mitigate this risk. Challenges are also being faced due to opposition from the Métis National Council, which has resulted in time delays.
An additional challenge of the established registries is their limitations in geographic accessibility. As one academic writes, "The evidence suggests that the Métis who lived in, used and occupied this vast area, the Northwest, were connected and formed one large historic society founded on kinship, a shared economy and a common way of life. Mobility, one of the primary characteristics of this Métis community, was the glue that kept the people connected throughout this vast territory.Footnote 27 However, the registries are limited by provincial boundaries. One must go to their originating territory to apply for membership. According to Arsenault & Sharp writing on the subject, "The growth in the Métis population since 1996 (nearly doubling by 2006) suggests that this disaffected group of Métis is large and growing. Although increased Métis self-identification can be interpreted as encouraging in that it means that Métis people feel increasingly secure and justified in self identifying, it poses significant statistical challenges to the accurate tracking of Métis socio-economic progress.Footnote 28 Similarly, a lot of background information is needed to verify a Métis individual, and membership requests are increasing substantially as a perceived result of the very public Federal and Supreme Court cases. Proof of identity was found to be a barrier for many individuals but was seen as the only way to prevent over-registration and fraudulent use of harvesting rights.
Organizations stated that they do not have the funding and human resources to keep up with the number of new applicants resulting in extremely long waiting times for applicants to receive membership confirmation. Similarly, documents reviewed demonstrate that registry systems require a long term financial commitment to be verifiable in order to appropriately inform policy. Given the infancy of the systems, the funding mechanisms, and year-to-year capacity issues - the implementation of systems, processes and keeping trained personnel has been a challenging task. To date, developing objective membership systems of this complexity has been funded at just under $1 million per year per organization ($30 million over seven years). An objectively verifiable process requires many steps in the process for each application, with checks and balances, competent staff, and a requirement for rigorous data collection. Applicants often are challenged to, or do not have the means to, provide the information required by the organization, thereby delaying the processing of the application.
On the other hand, without a clearly defined legal and policy framework for Métis identification, the Department, as well as Métis organizations, run the risk of high influxes of applications as well as multiple upstart organizations, where there is a high degree of contention over the definition of what constitutes a rights-bearing Métis person.
According to a lawyer working on Métis litigation, "After the Daniels case, all of a sudden people are remembering that they are Métis.Footnote 29 These events, combined with overwhelmed registration systems, create a high risk environment for managing harvesting activities. Similarly, although there have been approximately 12 unsuccessful cases in the east coast for individuals claiming Métis rights in the courtsFootnote 30, the Daniels case may heighten the desire of individuals to try to seek rights through organizations or through the courts.
4.1.4 There is some evidence that representative organizations’ capacity is improving, particularly in stronger organizations with low staff turn-over rates.
The case studies found that the FICP processes and the Powley Initiative have helped organizations be more effective in key functions. At the same time, lesser successes were found in helping organizations set objectives and priorities and improving accountability. Yet, in a few cases, such as tripartite negotiations with the Manitoba Métis Federation, organizations are increasingly displaying improved governance and are able to provide comprehensive and tailored services to their members. As one of the oldest tripartite tables, the Manitoba Métis Federation table created the Louis Riel Institute in 1995 and oversaw the devolution of Child and Family Services from the province of Manitoba to the Métis Child and Family Services Authority from 2004 to 2006. The Saskatchewan tripartite table, however, continues to be challenged by regional politics as was the case in the previous evaluation. Overall, organizational capacity trends were as follows:
- Performance of financial functions: Organizations have benefited from funding support, including developing policy manuals, implementing better financial management controls, carrying out current state assessments in finance and in human resources, and linking human resources data for employees to automated payroll administration.
- Ability to set objectives and priorities: Organizations reported that support received through FICP processes had contributed in this area by aiding in such matters as developing a strategic plan and formulating an economic development strategy. However, it was noted that the year-to-year nature of funding for bilateral processes impedes the ability of an organisation to plan for longer-term outcomes. The lack of predictable funding is one of the greatest impediments organizations face when attempting to foster sustainable socio-economic development.
- Accountability to membership and federal government for funding: Support through FICP and Powley did help organizations in their accountability to membership. For instance, one organization held a workshop on Aboriginal governance, representation and accountability and is planning to hold town hall meetings with its regional affiliates. Another organization was able to develop tools to be more accountable in reporting to citizens and government and to consult communities to improve its registry system.
However, one organization expressed the view that restrictions in the bilateral program funding are an obstacle to being accountable to affiliates, for instance when it wants to consult affiliates on current rights cases however, AANDC will not cover travel costs for this purpose. Another organization said it had become more accountable, but considered the extensive reporting required from the federal government to be a challenging.
Provincial interviewees noted that organizational transparency and accountability remain huge challenges for the organizations especially in provinces where there are differing entrenched positions. Interviewees noted some issues with elections and the funding of executives. For example, in Saskatchewan the Hallux Report 2011 was necessary due to political struggles within the Métis population and accusations of executive fraud. The report found evidence of poor tracking and financial reporting, but did not support allegations of fraud.
- Organizational governance: Organizations reported that progress had been made in strengthening organizational governance through improving internal governance processes by creating a policy manual for operations, splitting political roles from roles in administration, delivering governance training to board members, conducting research on governance issues, developing bylaws, membership codes, policies and procedures.
One organization noted that AANDC ultimately decides what can be funded in this area. This organization said it is not permitted to deliver the same workshop two years in a row. Another organization said the FICP processes and Powley had made no difference to its organizational governance since it had already established these structures before the processes were launched.
- In spite of capacity gains, there were some major concerns expressed by interviewees and representative organizations about the sustainability of the organizations and their abilities to effectively represent their membership in the long term. The organizations noted that they find it challenging to locate other sources of revenue and that they are unable to carry out the responsibilities expected of them from the federal and provincial governments and their members with their current funding levels. The case studies identified that the representative organizations struggle with attracting and retaining qualified personnel due to the uncertain funding reality and the context in which they operate, which includes elections for board members every four years. These capacity limitations make organizations inherently unstable, potentially acting as an impediment to organizational capacity. Some organizations are looking to increase their funding through innovative approaches (i.e. Manitoba Métis Federation’s Mother Earth program that involves mattress recycling) and through private partnerships.
Authoritative studies on capacity development suggest that organizational capacity is best developed when driven by the organization itself, rather than by external actors (See, for example, Baser and Morgan , Capacity, Change and Performance. The Baser and Morgan study and others (see for example, Boesen and Therkildsen , A Results-Oriented Approach to Capacity Change, available at The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark) suggest that organizational capacity development of the kind FICP is intended to foster requires timelines of 10 years or more. In international development circles, capacity development is recognized as a long-term process that is not amenable to rigid delivery pressures, quick fixes and short-term results seeking.
A growing body of literature points to the success of alternative models in tackling deep-seated social and economic problems faced by marginalized groups, such as Aboriginal youth. Collective Impact, one such model, contends that large-scale social change requires broad, cross-sectoral, coordinated interventions rather than isolated initiatives by individual organizations (see Kania and Kramer "Collective Impact, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter, 2011).Footnote 31 Best practices for the FICP to consider include the development of long-term capacity building plans for each supported organization that includes the ability to track the capacity gains being made for each organization.Footnote 32
4.1.5 FICP funded research activities are expanding the body of knowledge on Métis and non-status Indian issues. The information could be organized and disseminated more effectively
The FICP has regularly supported the funding of university professors and their students, as well as representative organizations and consulting firms to conduct relevant research in order to provide evidence for policy making. However, the research funding recipients interviewed were critical of the timelines imposed on contracts and of how the research is disseminated and stored once completed. Funded research topics have included the following:
- The Métis registration system including standards and policy options
- Emerging Realities of Métis, non-status Indians and Urban Aboriginal Populations: Building a New Policy Research Agenda
- The Well-Being of Communities with Significant Métis Population in Canada
- Best practices in the provision of education off reserve
- Best practices in the provision of health services off reserve
- Possible policy options for Métis Self-governance
- Defining Contemporary Métis Communities
- Economic development frameworks
- Urbanization and migration patterns
- Managing Aboriginal Rights Implementation Among Métis and non-Status Indians including Issues of Representation and Dissent
Interviewees stated that AANDC has "been really proactive in pursing research and establishing an intellectual scholarly approach but it was unclear as to why AANDC is funding the research. There were questions about what AANDC is trying to accomplish with the research and if their work is actually making a difference. The evaluation team could not find evidence of where the research was applied in a systematic fashion to the development of policies or programs.
4.1.6 The evaluation identified a number of additional community impacts.
As a result of Powley, individuals are gaining pride and enthusiasm about their Métis heritage: According to provincial representatives, it is unclear at this time if hunting practices have actually increased with the dissemination of harvesting cards. However, there was general consensus through anecdotal information that people are more open about talking about their heritage and being excited about their heritage.
RCMP coordinators that are funded by the authority for the pro-active reconciliation and management of Métis Aboriginal rights and that are placed in communities allow for better community engagement instead of punitive measures: Officers situated within the communities, and some having offices within the representative organizations' buildings, is allowing for better understanding and collaboration on a variety of community safety issues.
Funding research projects has provided an outlet for engaged communities to learn about and connect with their own history: The original intention of funding research was to provide the federal government with the information necessary to make informed policy decisions. However, academics being funded by the FICP are striving to include community members in their research by also hosting community information sharing workshops and including community members where possible in assisting in the data collection work. It was recommended by some of the funded academics interviewed that this should be a best practice that could be regular practice if the research timelines could be extended. A major challenge in conducting research for the FICP was the often unpredictable and late timelines of funding contracts as well as short turn-around times that were at inconvenient times of the school year. It was also noted that a lot more could be done by the FICP to amalgamate and disseminate the research conducted so that it could be more useful for communities, the federal and provincial governments and for the academic community at large.
One notable negative unintended outcome is the concern that some representative organizations are dependent on FICP funding for core operations. According to the case studies and interviews, organizations were thought to be vulnerable to closure given the pending federal funding cuts. One interviewee stated that "organizations were encouraged in the beginning to create a governing structure that may not be sustainable without permanent federal government [support].
4.2 Program Design and Delivery
4.2.1 There is a need for improved coordination of efforts among various FICP-funded activities.
Interviewees noted areas in which research activities, commemorative events and the activities of the federal partner organizations could be better interconnected and collaborative to achieve additional program performance gains. It was suggested that an annual research findings symposium that includes Métis communities as well as a centralized online platform would be helpful as it could allow for the dissemination of research, court case updates, overviews of bilateral and tripartite work plans and their progress, discussion forums, and for stakeholders to connect.
A challenge noted by interviewees for the continuation of a coordinated approach was the dissolution of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor and the subsequent moving of FICP to the Policy and Strategic Direction directorate of AANDC. Federal partners, AANDC staff, provincial representatives and representative organizations felt that the role of the Federal Interlocutor is diminished as it has moved from a perceived prominent and politically-engaged position at the Privy Council Office to now a sub-program at AANDC. It was stated that when the branch was within the Privy Council Office, the office reported directly to the Minister with a minister’s liaison. This was useful to have the direct line of communication, especially when negotiating among several parties. The liaison remained intact when it became a part of AANDC, however, with the dissolution of Office of the Federal Interlocutor, interviewees found that the Federal Interlocutor’s role has been hindered by added levels of bureaucracy in that it has been increasingly more challenging to work with the FICP and to get updates on how the federal partners should be moving forward on the horizontal mandate.
4.2.2 Difficulties in achieving current program objectives suggests the need to reflect on whether the current FICP design is the appropriate approach moving forward
Some interviewees believe that a centralized program allows for strategic policy making and the nurturing of fragile relationships, while on the other hand, it was felt that if more practical gains are to be made on the socio-economic well-being of individuals, the regions would be better placed to expand some of their current programs and services. The policy debate is as follows: The FICP is unique in comparison to how AANDC typically conducts its activities. The centralized program develops policy, engages in advocacy, conducts negotiations and delivers capacity building programs and services to representative organizations who theoretically may then deliver specialized programs and services to their membership. Normally, each of these program activities would be conducted in a different sector or branch. For the FICP, it was seen as a "one stop shop for Métis and non-status Indians. This approach was believed by some to be necessary for maintaining a high-level and strategic relationship with representative organizations in order to build trust. However, others expressed that the Department should consider expanding targeted regional programs and services to Métis and non-status Indians instead of having a centralized program. This approach would focus less on maintaining higher level relationships with representative bodies and engaging in forums that are often extremely political and more on providing identified community members with some of the programs and services accessed by on reserve and Inuit communities.
Additionally, the priority of focus for Aboriginal organizations is somewhat unclear, as there are simultaneous pressures to advocate and litigate for rights recognition, while at the same time focusing on programming intended to improve socio-economic well-being. At the moment, the case studies revealed that not all organizations are able to be highly active in providing programs and services as they are mainly preoccupied with supporting litigation cases, being advocates at the provincial/territorial and national level, and providing feedback to various levels of government on existing or proposed governmental policies and programs.
4.2.3 Expectations in terms of program outcomes are unclear, particularly considering changes in the governance and focus of FICP activities.
AANDC along with Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency and RCMP jointly established a mandate to carry out "a pro-active reconciliation and management approach for Métis Aboriginal rights that is in keeping with the Government's intent to maintain calm and order by managing Aboriginal rights issues, avoid litigation and the court process. However, the various articulations of objectives, activities and expected outcomes for all federal partners and AANDC's FICP specifically, indicate that there is a need to review and consolidate the program's core performance measurement documentation.
With the FICP no longer within the purview of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, there is no longer a political relationship specific to this program, and there is unlikely a strong link to Cabinet. There remains a focus on improving socio-economic conditions, increasing self-reliance and reducing dependency; however, according to interviewees, organizations are dependent on AANDC for funding core operations, and the availability of targeted socio-economic programs. Given the recent move of Office of the Federal Interlocutor sunder Social Programming, AANDC has not yet articulated how it may support MNSI organizations to improve socio-economic well-being. There remain tensions between the various activities of the program to avoid litigation, engage in litigation, build the capacity of Métis and non-Status Indian organizations (which also results in an improved ability of Métis and non-Status Indian organizations to litigate against AANDC), represent Métis and non-Status Indian organizations interests, conduct research to support litigation, build co-operative relationships , support a registry and to then ultimately see better socio-economic outcomes for these populations.
An Integrated Results-Based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk-Based Audit Framework was developed in 2008, however, the evaluation found little evidence that the program is tracking, monitoring and assessing its activities and performance in a routine and organized fashion. The various stated objectives and expected outcomes of the FICP and the Federal Interlocutor's Mandate are as follows:
Various Program Objectives:
- To help to build capacity, and to maintain a relationship based on trust and respect between Métis and non-status Indian people and the Government of Canada (2010 Originating Documents, RMAF)
- To be seen as proactive and working collaboratively with all interests involved and develop common understandings, where possible, of the implications and significance of the decision, and related issues (Program Documentation)
- To clarify issues, ascertain stakeholder views, and facilitate informed and sustainable policy development regarding an orderly process to deal with Métis Aboriginal rights issues (Program Documentation)
- To identify opportunities to enhance socio-economic conditions of Métis without creating the perception those programs are based on rights and entitlements (Program Documentation)
Various Expected Outcomes:
- Maintain calm and order by managing Aboriginal rights issues, avoid litigation and the court process, and to transfer the Métis and non-status Indian litigation portfolio from Justice to Indian Affairs and Northern Development (2010 Originating Documents)
- Relationships between parties based on trust, respect, understanding, shared responsibilities, accountability and dialogue (2014-15 PMF)
- Working relationships with the national, provincial and regional off-reserve Aboriginal organizations (Program Documentation)
- Good governance and co-operative relationships (2013-14 PAA)
- Improve socio-economic well-being of Métis, non-status Indians and urban Aboriginal people (Terms and Conditions, 2008-2013 Program Alignment Architecture, RMAF)
- Achieving practical ways of improving Métis and non-status Indians socio-economic conditions (Terms and Conditions)
- Increased participation for Métis and non-status Indians in the Canadian economy (Program Documentation, RMAF)
- The participation of Métis people in the Canadian economy is increased (Program Documentation)
- Increasing self-reliance (Terms and Conditions)
- Reducing dependency (Terms and Conditions)
- Enhanced co-ordination of federal program delivery (RMAF)
- Increase participation in public government – increase input and influence of Aboriginal people in key matters that are of importance to them (RMAF)
- Legal and historical research to better determine scope of federal legal exposure (Program Documentation)
- Enhanced federal understanding of Métis and non-Status Indian people and their needs. Identification of program overlaps. (RMAF)
- The federal government's understanding of the needs and priorities of Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples is enhanced, and program duplications are identified. (Program Documentation)
- Improved ability to advocate for Métis and non-Status Indian organizations (RMAF)
- Improved ability to advocate for Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples, and the understanding of relevant issues is improved (Program Documentation)
- Improved ability to represent and advocate on behalf of membership (RMAF)
- Improved understanding of relevant issues (RMAF)
- Enhanced understanding of Métis and non-Status Indian people, and their needs, by other levels of government (RMAF)
- Policy changes based on facts – increased responsiveness to Aboriginal needs (RMAF)
- Improved federal/provincial relations and coordination on Métis and non-status Indian issues (Program Documentation)
- Enhanced understanding of Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples and their needs, by other levels of government. (Program Documentation)
- Improved ability to represent and advocate on behalf of membership (Program Documentation)
- Enhanced co-ordination of federal program delivery, and policy changes are based on facts (Program Documentation)
- Increased responsiveness to Aboriginal needs (Program Documentation)
- Increase participation in public government, and increased input and influence of Aboriginal people in key matters that are of importance to them (Program Documentation)
- The participation of Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples in the management of public affairs is increased (Program Documentation)
- Departments support the federal government's policy through appropriate policies and financial support (Program Documentation)
- Maintaining calm and order on the ground in response to harvesting claims – removed a driver for litigation through implementation of Interim Federal Harvesting Guidelines for all federal resource departments (Program Documentation)
- Working with provinces to harmonize harvesting systems – working to remove another driver for litigation (from inconsistent approaches – s.15). (Program Documentation)
- Working with Métis organizations to develop systems to identify Métis members (Program Documentation)
- The intervening period since Powley decision has been successfully managed for Canada (Program Documentation)
- The Communications Strategy is finalized (Program Documentation)
- The system for identifying Métis and Métis rights holders is implemented and the database is operational (Program Documentation)
Various Activities of FICP:
- Maintaining political relations with their representative organizations (Terms and Conditions)
- Acting as the point of contact within the federal government (Terms and Conditions)
- Acting as an advocate of their issues within Cabinet (Terms and Conditions)
- Building stronger linkages with provincial governments. (Terms and Conditions)
- Entering into contribution agreements to help to build organizational and institutional capacity (Terms and Conditions)
- Supporting organizational development within representative Métis and non-status Indian organizations, so that they will reach a level of self-sufficiency in order to better represent and advocate on behalf of their members (RMAF)
- Building mutual understandings with provincial governments and representative Métis and other off-reserve Aboriginal organizations with respect to the needs of their memberships, and the nature of federal and provincial programming in order to improve access to relevant programs and services (RMAF)
- Building healthy, productive working relationships with representative off-reserve Aboriginal organizations, so that they can take advantage of partnership opportunities. (RMAF)
- Building capacity in representative Métis organizations to identify Métis and Métis harvesters in keeping with the criteria set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in order to assist in the management of Métis Aboriginal rights and avoid conflict and civil unrest. (RMAF)
- Maintain calm-and-order on the ground with respect to the exercise of hunting and fishing activities, train and inform enforcement officers, maintain interdepartmental coordination (2010 Originating Documents)
- Work with provinces to harmonize harvesting systems, seek common messages and understandings, and develop working relationships to manage issues (2010 Originating Documents)
- Engage Métis organizations to develop systems to identify Métis members in keeping with the Supreme Court of Canada decision (2010 Originating Documents)
- Engage in historic and policy research as required to develop policy (2010 Originating Documents)
- Engage Métis organizations to strengthen representation and legitimacy through enhanced governance mechanisms that support the identification systems being developed, such as strengthened electoral, financial and management accountability (2010 Originating Documents)
- Maintain an Interdepartmental Response Group to ensure effective leadership and coordination in response to Métis rights, it includes (at a minimum); Office of the Federal Interlocutor, Department of Justice, RCMP, Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service, and Parks Canada Agency (2010 Originating Documents)
- Engaging in historic and policy research to develop policy and inform AANDC and other federal departments on off-reserve (Métis and non-status Indian) issues (Program Documentation)
- Engaging Métis organizations to strengthen representation/legitimacy to improve socio-economic conditions of Métis and non-status Indians through capacity building funds (Program Documentation)
- Serving as a point of contact between the federal government and Métis and non-status Indians via bilateral discussions with the Métis National Council and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples to inform federal policy and identify common areas of mutual interest to address (Program Documentation)
- Undertaking exploratory discussions towards reconciliation involving provincial governments and Aboriginal organizations to mutually agree on paths towards reconciliation and where possible, tripartite negotiations (Program Documentation)
- Implementing The Powley Initiative by supporting Métis organizations in the development of systems to identify Métis members in keeping with the Supreme Court decision so as to provide members with harvesting rights (Program Documentation)
- Representing the interests of the Government of Canada in all discussions (Program Documentation)
- Liaising with other government departments as necessary (Program Documentation)
- Representing the interests of the Government of Canada in all discussions (Program Documentation)
- Liaising with other government departments as necessary (Program Documentation)
Given the relative lack of clarity in objectives, a comprehensive performance measurement strategy is needed. Additionally, interviews and case studies found that the program's objectives regarding reducing litigation and improving socio-economic well-being may be too lofty of expectations.
While conducting the case studies, the organizations interviewed were not aware of the FICP's expected outcomes. One organization said AANDC should make organizations aware of these objectives so they can work toward them and measure their own progress.