Performance Measurement Strategy - 1.3 Treaty Commissions

Strategic Outcome: The Government

Date : September 25, 2014
Sector: Treaties and Aboriginal Government

PDF Version (108 Kb, 15 Pages)

Performance Measurement (PM) Strategies are required as per Treasury Board Secretariat's (TBS) Policy on Transfer Payments (updated 2012) and the Evaluation Policy (updated 2012).

PM Strategies support program planning, monitoring and reporting through the identification and collection of key performance indicators that provide information for ongoing program management and decision making, and that can inform evaluation activities over time.


Table of contents

1.0 Introduction

This Performance Measurement (PM) Strategy is an amendment of an existing Performance Measurement Strategy for the Treaty Commissions which was developed in January 2011.

It supports, in part, Program 1.3 the 2014-15 Program Alignment Architecture, Management and Implementation of Agreements and Treaties, with the expected result of:

"Creation and maintenance of ongoing partnerships to support treaty structures". 

This program, in turn, supports the Government Strategic Outcome

"Support good governance, rights and interests of Aboriginal Peoples"

A second PM Strategy is being created for Implementation of Comprehensive Land Claims and Self-Government which also falls under the Program 1.3.



2.0 Profile

2.1 Description of Program 1.3 PAA

2.2 This Program aims to create and maintain ongoing partnerships to support both pre and post-1975 treaties to fulfill Canada's legal obligations while considering Aboriginal rights and interests. This program supports Aboriginal communities in articulating their interests, participating in economic activities, managing and developing land and resources, where applicable. It also helps to demonstrate the importance of treaties and related partnerships between the Crown and Aboriginal people. This is achieved by honouring Canada's obligations as set out in final settlement agreements, and improving collaboration between Canada and Aboriginal peoples and between Canada and pre and post-1975 Treaty Aboriginal groups. Creating and maintaining partnerships that honour pre and post-1975 treaties contributes to strengthened, healthy, self-reliant and sustainable Aboriginal communities while promoting delivery of programs and services vital to health and advancement of Aboriginal citizens.

2.3 Context/Background of Treaty Commissions

The purpose of Treaty Commissions is to enhance co-operative relationships between First Nations and Canada through, among other things, mutual exploration of treaty issues. The success of these explorations is seen in improved understanding of treaties and treaty relationships and more harmonious, respectful and productive relationships between First Nations and other Canadians. The primary role of Pre-1975 Treaty Commissions is to focus on facilitating discussions between Canada and Treaty First Nation partners on treaty related issues that reflect and enhance the treaty relationship.

While there are currently three Treaty Commissions in place in Canada, the scope of this PM Strategy only covers the:

  • Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) in Saskatchewan – established in 1989 and remandated in 1997 through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the federal government and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN); and,
  • Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba (TRCM) – established in 2003 through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the federal government and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), and began operations in 2005.

The strategy does not include the work of the British Columbia Treaty Commission that was established in 1992 to facilitate treaty negotiations in British Columbia and is covered under the Negotiation PM Strategy (PAA 1.2.1).

Treaties have been a very important part of the relationship between Canadians and First Nations peoples for more than 300 years. Treaties are agreements made between the Crown and First Nations peoples and are solemn promises that set out the obligations and benefits for each of the signatories. The Crown and First Nations signed treaties between 1701 and 1923, many of which ceded Aboriginal right and title to the Crown in exchange for specific obligations and benefits to First Nations signatories. These obligations and benefits often, but not always, included land to be set aside for First Nation exclusive use (known as reserves), money to be paid to members of a First Nation every year (known as annuities), continued rights to hunt and fish on unoccupied Crown lands, and the maintenance of schools or the payment of teachers' salaries on reserves by the federal government. Collectively, these treaties are often referred to as "historic" or Pre-1975 treaties.

Through the process of treaty-making, the treaty relationship was established between First Nations and the Crown (the Imperial Crown prior to 1867 and the Crown in Right of Canada after 1867). There exists fundamental differences and disagreements relating to the nature, scope and interpretation of treaties which continue to negatively impact this relationship. The treaty relationship is viewed as a living relationship, one that can change to reflect the contemporary realities of both Canadians and First Nation peoples. The treaty relationship is also seen as a fundamental political relationship that continues to exist between Canada and First Nations.

To help maintain a strong dialogue between the treaty parties and assist in the enhancement of the treaty relationship, Treaty Commissions were established, starting with the OTC in Saskatchewan in 1989 (and remandated in 1997), and the TRCM in 2005, whose mandates were most recently renewed in 2014, effective April 1, 2014 for a two year term.

The OTC is a neutral body with the mandate to facilitate treaty related discussions between Canada and Treaty First Nations, undertake public education and awareness activities on treaties and assist in the development of partnerships that reflect the treaty relationship. The OTC facilitates discussions amongst Canada and First Nations groups, and their political representatives, on a broad range of topics related to or arising from existing treaties. It may also conduct or supervise independent third party research and conduct public information/education activities on a variety of treaty and jurisdictional issues. Since 1997, the OTC has co-ordinated and facilitated discussions between Canada and the FSIN through a Treaty Discussion Table.

In 2005, the TRCM was established pursuant to an MOA signed between the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Canada in November 2003. The TRCM was modelled on the OTC as a neutral body with a mandate to strengthen, rebuild and enhance the Treaty relationship as envisaged by the Treaty parties. This Commission's purpose is to facilitate discussions of treaty issues between First Nations, federal, provincial and, if required, other governments and private sector representatives. In addition, the TRCM provides advice and recommendations on treaty issues, design and delivery of public education programs pertaining to treaties, and manages research activities dealing with treaty issues. The TRCM does not have a Treaty Discussion Table.

2.4 Beneficiaries

The primary beneficiaries of the work of the Treaty Commissions include all residents and First Nations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada, and the Canadian public at large.

2.5 Design and Delivery

In order to assist in enhancing the treaty relationship, the OTC and the TRCM have been mandated jointly by Canada and the representative First Nations organization in the relevant province (and with the support of the relevant provincial government – provinces are not required, but permitted to participate).

The aspects of the mandates that are common to both Commissions are:

  • to conduct public education activities and perform research regarding treaties;
  • to facilitate discussions on treaty subject matter between Canada and First Nations, which may include arranging for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms; and
  • to provide advice to Canada and First Nations regarding practical measures that would give expression to Pre-1975 treaties and improve the socio-economic welfare of First Nations.

Each Commission has its individual mandate set out in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the Parties. The MOAs also contain the operating principles for the Commissions.

2.6 Financial resources

Forecast Spending 2014/15 (Main Estimates)
Vote 1: Salary
and Operations
Vote 10: Grants and Contributions Vote 5: Capital Statutory: Total:
$1,870,792 $897,802 $0 $0 $2,768,594
Performance monitoring conducted via program management, no additional resources allocated solely for performance monitoring purposes.

Source: AANDC, Chief Financial Officer Sector, February 5, 2014

Treaty Commissions are supported by the following Transfer Payment Program Authority:

  • Contribution to support the negotiation and implementation of Treaties, Claims and Self-Government Agreements or Initiatives.

Following, and based on the results, of the evaluation of the Treaty Commissions, Treaties and Aboriginal Government (TAG) Sector may proceed with a renewal of the policy authorities for Treaty Commissions in 2016.



3.0 Governance, Stakeholders, and Partners

Treaty Commissions are created through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Her Majesty in Right of Canada (represented by the Minister of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC)) and the representative of the First Nations organization in the relevant province, represented by the elected leader of that organization. In the text that follows, AANDC and the First Nations organization are referred to as "the Parties to the MOA".

Senior officials representing both Parties to the MOA form an Oversight Committee that meets regularly to discuss the activities of the Commission.

The Negotiations Central Branch of TAG, AANDC, is responsible for:

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) are responsible, through participation in a joint forum or committee with officials from Canada, for:

Each Treaty Commissioner is responsible for:

Each Treaty Commission, under the direction of its Treaty Commissioner, is responsible for:

The provinces (Saskatchewan and Manitoba):

have been invited to participate as observers.



4.0 Logic Model

4.1 Logic Model for Treaty Commissions

Logic Model for Treaty Commissions

4.2 Logic Model Narrative

The logic model depicts three key activity streams for the Treaty Commissions. These activity streams each have associated outputs and expected outcomes. The purpose of the logic model is to show the linkages among these elements. It must also be noted that the activities and associated outputs are interconnected as they are expected to influence each other.

From an operating perspective the following should be noted:

  • whether stated explicitly or not, the activities of the Commission are infused with ongoing research in support of producing the outputs for education, facilitation and specific measures; and
  • the Commissions work with governments and also in partnership with public institutions and private sector groups.

Activity One:

Fund Treaty Commissions as mechanisms contributing to strengthened treaty relationships between Canada and Treaty First Nations.
Fund Aboriginal Representative Organizations to participate in Treaty Commissions.

Treaty Commissions have the mandate to facilitate and enhance public understanding of the importance of treaties and the treaty relationship through facilitated discussions, public education and developing practical measures for partnerships. The Treaty Commissions program provides yearly funding to Treaty Commissions to support core operations and activities relating to the objectives set by the Senior Officials Committee.

AANDC works in partnership with the Treaty Commissions and their respective Aboriginal Regional Organisations (AROs) to ensure that the activities and initiatives of the Treaty Commissions are within their mandates and focused on strategic use of resources. AANDC supports these activities directly through a cooperative process with AROs, such activities include facilitated discussions, public education and awareness activities and practical partnership initiatives. The specific AANDC objectives, which are aligned with government priorities and the yearly work plans of the Treaty Commissions, are defined within the Federal Activities.

Outputs: Funding Agreements that are linked to work plans responding to objectives agreed upon by the parties.

Activity Two:

Participate in Treaty Commission discussions with other governments, Treaty First Nations and respective AROs to identify agreed upon treaty objectives and responsive practical measures to advance objectives.

This activity stream involves working with the parties to the MOA to determine effective priorities for the Treaty Commissions on a year to year basis, as well as determining strategies to achieve results related to those priorities. Through the Senior Officials Committees composed of stakeholder representatives, priorities are set that will direct the three primary activities of the Treaty Commissions: topics for facilitated discussions primarily between the Parties to the MOA, but also among governments, Treaty First Nations, and other stakeholders; public awareness and education initiatives; and, fostering of partnerships working towards practical initiatives to effect positive social and economic opportunities and outcomes. AANDC has continued interest in supporting these activities as they create a mechanism for non-adversarial dialogue on complex treaty issues. Discussions focus primarily on treaty subject matter. Treaty Commissions are mandated to facilitate discussions and the Commissions can engage in numerous activities that support facilitation: research and analysis, advocacy, and mediation initiatives. The intent is to create fora where complex treaty issues can be discussed and addressed.

Outputs: Completion of objectives as indicated in departmental Federal Action Plan for Treaty Commissions.

Immediate Outcomes: Identification of mutually agreed upon treaty issues objectives; and development of annual treaty facilitation discussion and public education plans by Treaty Commissions to address mutually agreed upon treaty-related objectives.

Long Term Outcome for the Treaty Commissions

All of the activities undertaken by Treaty Commissions program, and their associated outcomes, a dialogue on treaty-related issues in a non-adversarial forum between treaty partners, are intended to contribute to the expected program result of 1.3. This is intended to support the Government Strategic Outcome of the Program Alignment Architecture.



5.0 Risk AssessmentFootnote 1

5.1 Relationships and Partnerships

 The overarching program objective for the Treaty Commissions is to assist in enhancing the treaty relationship and facilitating dialogue between Canada and Treaty First Nations. For this reason, various program and policy relationships and partnerships have been identified as being at risk should the program not be able to accomplish its stated objective.

Risk Statement Risk Rating Mitigation Strategy
There is a risk that the relationships with Treaty First Nations falter or become strained, the Treaty Commissions are ideally situated to facilitate open and honest dialogue between Canada and Treaty First Nations. Moderate Negotiations Central has adopted approaches to its work which greatly assist in forestalling potential negative impacts of other AANDC programs on the work of Treaty Commissions.
There is a risk that funds will not be used for the types of expenditures intended. Low If program managers are concerned about inappropriate use of funds, a request will be made to have the funds returned and the amount of funding being held back will be withheld from the recipient until the issue is resolved.
There is a risk that the performance measurement data designed to demonstrate the achievement of results may not be regularly tracked or that the process for capturing the data proves ineffective. Low Program managers monitor the integrity of the performance data received by the Commissions and discuss issues as they arise. 

Program managers regularly reiterate the importance of ongoing collection of feedback from participants at Commission activities and/or events and from the end-users of products.

In the event that performance measurement data and analysis is inadequate or is not being provided, the Department’s program managers will follow up with the Treaty Commissions to explore other options for demonstrating program success.


6.0 Performance Measurement – Data Collection

6.1 Performance Measurement Matrix Table

Funding Agreements # of agreements
$ value of agreements
    Performance monitoring conducted via program management  
Federal Activities Plan Existence of a mutually agreed upon annual FAPP for each Commission 1 FAPP established for each Commission per year   Performance monitoring conducted via program management TAG-Negotiations Central
Immediate Outcomes
Mutually agreed upon treaty objectives are identified.

Treaty Commissions develop annual facilitation discussion and public education plans to address mutually agreed upon treaty-related objectives.
# and type of mutually agreed upon treaty related objectives identified

# and type of objectives to be addressed
# of objectives to be addressed annually -Federal Action Plan Quarterly reporting

-Annual Commission Performance Reports submitted to AANDC
Performance monitoring conducted via program management AANDC/Treaty Commissions
Intermediate Outcomes
Treaty Commissions implement facilitated discussion process and public education initiatives identified in the Work Plan to advance treaty-related objectives. % of planned objectives reached as set out in Federal Activities Plan

# and type of publications produced by Treaty Commissions

# and type of commemorative events implemented by Treaty Commissions
75% -Annual Commission Performance Reports submitted to AANDC Performance monitoring conducted via program management

Annual DCI
 TAG-Negotiations Central
A dialogue on treaty-related issues in a non-adversarial forum between treaty partners. # of treaty-related objectives reportedly demonstrating progress

Approximate distribution rate of Treaty Commission publications

Approximate attendance at Treaty Commission  events 
75% -Annual Commission Performance Reports submitted to AANDC

-5 year evaluations completed by Treaty Commissions and submitted to AANDC
Annual DCI

5 year TC Evaluation
Treaty Commissions

NOTE:  No new recipient data collection instruments or reporting requirements are being proposed in this PM Strategy. There are a number of indicators and targets to be developed jointly with the OTC, TRCM and regional AROs and provincial observers.

6.2 Methodology Notes

This Performance Measurement Methodology outlines the various indicators that the Treaties and Aboriginal Government Sector intends to use to inform ongoing program management and during an evaluation to measure the success of current program operations.

The indicators that have been identified for the Treaty Commissions program are, for the most part, qualitative in nature. The long term outcome for the program is to "improve the treaty relationship". By its very nature, in aspiring to foster long term changes in attitudes and perspectives, such an outcome is a challenge to accurately measure – particularly over the relatively brief time span and in the absence of benchmark data. Valid numerical data that could measure such an outcome will be difficult to acquire.

This challenge of deciding upon appropriate indicators or ways to measure progress filters down from the high level, long term outcome to the intermediate and immediate outcome phases for the Performance Measurement Strategy. Some of the indicators are more numerical in nature, but this is dependent upon the form of the outcome.

At the level of outputs, it is relatively simple to quantify and measure the level of activity and effort being expended by the recipients of this transfer payment program. These indicators which are described in detail in the following annex are, for the most, simple numerical tallies but cannot accurately assess change in the treaty relationship.

6.3 Implementation Notes

In 2015-16, this PM Strategy and the PM Strategy for the Impacts of Comprehensive Land Claims and Self-Government, which also falls under the Program 1.3, will be updated and joined into one document with two components. One component will relate to comprehensive land claims and self-government agreements and the second component will relate to Pre-1975 treaties and will encompass all activities within Program 1.3 of the PAA.



7.0 Evaluation Strategy

An evaluation of the Treaty Commissions has been scheduled for 2015 by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. In accordance with the Treasury Board’s Policy on Evaluation and the Directive on the Evaluation Function the evaluation will assess program relevance end performance. The estimated cost of the evaluation is $60,000.



8.0 Contacts

Name Position email
Tara Jane Hayward Senior Research Analyst, Negotiation Central
Debra Alivisatos Senior Negotiator, Negotiation Central
Nicole Kennedy Director General, Negotiation Central
Joe Wild SADM, Treaties and Aboriginal Government
Other contacts
Marie-Christine Janelle Senior Strategic Outcome Analyst,
Policy and Strategic Direction


9.0 References

2014-2015 Program Alignment Architecture

2014-2015 Performance Measurement Framework
Performance Measurement Strategy, Treaty Commissions, January 2011

Impact Evaluation of Treaty Commissions, February 2010

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