ARCHIVED - Renovating Programs in Support of Lands & Economic Development - Ontario Region Engagement Session

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August 16–18, 2010
Ottawa, Ontario

This report was produced under contract with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) by a firm of independent conference content specialists whose responsibility was to capture and synthesize as accurately as possible the discussions from this engagement session. Opinions expressed are those of the individual participants cited and should not be considered as endorsed by INAC.

Table of Contents

Stakeholder Engagement Reports

Released in June 2009, the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development provides a new and comprehensive approach to Aboriginal economic development that reflects the significant, real and growing opportunities for Aboriginal people in Canada. The Framework provides for a focused, government-wide approach that is responsive to new and changing economic conditions and leverages partnerships to address persistent barriers that impede the full participation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian economy.

While the Framework represents a modern and strategic approach to Aboriginal economic development, several of the economic development programs delivered by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada have been in place for many years and need to be updated in order to be more responsive to the unique needs and opportunities of First Nations, Metis and Inuit.

In keeping with the Government of Canada's commitment to develop meaningful partnerships with stakeholders, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada organized a series of national and regional stakeholder engagement sessions to obtain input on how Aboriginal economic development programs may be renovated to better meet the needs of Aboriginal people across Canada.

These sessions took place from May to December 2010 and focused on obtaining input from individuals and organizations with direct experience in Aboriginal economic development. The process also focused on building and strengthening existing partnerships with all stakeholders and determining the unique needs and goals of First Nations, Metis and Inuit as they relate to economic development. In total, nineteen sessions took place reaching approximately 860 stakeholders.

All of the input obtained during the regional engagement sessions was captured by a firm of independent conference content specialists. The content specialists have carefully synthesized the feedback received from the Ontario regional stakeholder engagement session and prepared this final report. The report captures the discussions from the Ontario session including details regarding the aspects of programming that stakeholders consider to be working well, areas requiring improvement and key recommendations regarding priorities for funding and changes to program design and delivery.

The input provided by stakeholders, as detailed in the report, is now being used to inform program renovation options for the lands, business and community economic development programs administered by INAC.

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Purpose of Meeting

The purpose of the meeting was to seek feedback from First Nations in Ontario on how programs may be changed to better meet their needs, in line with the strategic objectives of the new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development.

Over two days, participants were asked to identify what is working and what is not working with respect to existing programming, and to develop ideas for improving or renewing programs to better support Aboriginal Economic Development overall.

Audience Response System (ARS) Questions 1-4

Q1. Are you

Q2. Is your community located in an

Q3. In which area do you primarily work?

Q4. Do you work for a

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Steve White
Acting Associate Regional Director General
Ontario Region—South
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Mr. Steve White welcomed participants and opened the session by saying that Ontario has the largest number of First Nations people in Canada, many living in remote communities with no road access and off the electrical grid. Many Tribal Councils, and First Nation bands and communities are exploring opportunities in forestry, parks, tourism, and other ways to build their economic development.

Mr. White said that the Regional Program Management Advisory Committee (RPMAC) is an excellent source of information for economic development in Ontario. In 2009/10 Economic Development Programs in Ontario provided more than $23 million in support of economic development. In addition through the ecoEnergy Program, $1.25 million was provided towards renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for Aboriginal and Northern communities.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) works with other government departments to coordinate Aboriginal lands management and economic development programs and support. INAC is working in Ontario to implement a successful economic development structure, and is taking into consideration successful structures from other Canadian regions. "This session is your opportunity to provide direct input to help provide support that will enable sustainability for your communities," said Mr. White.

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Why We Are Here: Context for Program Renewal

Allan Clarke
Director General, Policy and Coordination Branch
Lands and Economic Development
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Headquarters

Mr. Allan Clarke provided the context for program renovation and stakeholder engagement in support of lands and economic development. He said the purpose of the engagement sessions is to open a dialogue on economic development and to ensure that what INAC is doing makes sense and works for everyone involved. There is no limit on the input, he said; the intention is to hold an open and honest discussion.

By adopting the new Framework last year, the federal government indicated that it was moving forward in a different way, that economic development is important to the Aboriginal agenda, and that this is the beginning of a more cohesive and strategic approach. Mr. Clarke noted that it is important to look at the relationships among all programs with outcomes that relate to economic development, such as lands management and infrastructure. He said he wanted to talk about "how we got where we are now and where we are going," adding that there would be no constraints on thoughtful advice regarding the Department's future direction.

There have been dramatic changes in needs, conditions, challenges and opportunities of Aboriginals since the Canadian Aboriginal Economic Development Strategy (CAEDS) was developed in 1989, a decade before the Marshall decision. The Aboriginal economy, the Canadian economy and the global economy, as well as the relationship with the Crown have changed, and INAC must keep up with the changes, Mr. Clarke noted. Non-Aboriginal community's interest in working with Aboriginal businesses must also be taken into account.

CAEDS set the stage for some of the things INAC is doing now, including the three programming streams that are still being used to support labour market development, business development, and community economic development. While these remain important, Mr. Clarke pointed out that it is time to consider how they work in today's context.

The Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development proposed a vision to ensure that Aboriginal Canadians have the same opportunities as other Canadians when it comes to participation in the economy. The Framework evokes some specific themes including opportunities, being responsive to new and changing conditions, leveraging partnerships, and focusing on results. "It represents a fundamental change in how we intend to go about our business", takes into account the differences among communities and regions, and is "much more responsive to the needs that are on the ground," Mr. Clarke said.

The Framework was developed through consultations with people across the country, including many of the participants attending this Ontario Region engagement session. Moving forward, INAC needs to build on that to shape its future work.

Mr. Clarke outlined the Framework's priorities as follows:

Strengthening Aboriginal entrepreneurship must be viewed in the context of broad conditions that affect people's ability to have successful businesses, and take into consideration the interdependencies that exist around economic development. Some of the current impediments include the Indian Act and other legislation that affects business on-reserve, as well as access to debt and equity. The issues range from straightforward ones, such as access to capital, to the more complex issues, such as lands management.

Since the federal government does not have all the tools, funding and expertise, in order to address current issues effectively, it needs more aligned efforts and collaboration from other partners, Mr Clark noted. These include non-Aboriginal business partners, all levels of government and the 20 different departments and agencies that have responsibility for policies and programs that affect Aboriginal Canadian interests and economic development.

While significant progress has been made in the last few years, it is apparent that the government must take a more coherent and strategic approach. Mr. Clarke reiterated that the new framework speaks to that objective by opening a dialogue and addressing program renewal. In consultations across Canada, building capacity has been an almost-unanimous first choice as a priority.

Sustainable economic development is not compatible with the "one-size-fits-all or first-come/first-served" approaches that we have been taking to program delivery, Mr. Clarke said. It requires the creative thinking and input of a wide range of people that will consider the interdependencies of lands, resources, people, and infrastructure, laws and regulations, fiscal relationships, capacity, governance and investments, as well as efforts to activate the economic base.

Mr. Clarke continued on to emphasize the importance of "a climate that attracts business and investment", in moving forward on economic development. The programs must work within the vision of the federal Framework and bring together all of the elements that support economic development. The federal government's role has to be clear and coherent; the government must do what it is best equipped to do, in a way that is consistent with the rules of the Treasury Board for managing contributions and grants.

Mr. Clarke said that INAC must move from its old-fashioned approach to a more client-centred approach. He gave an example of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), which differentiates the needs of programs in the north from those in the south of Canada. This approach is also supported by program evaluations and audits carried over the years, which suggested that changes should be made so that programs better align with the distinct needs of clients. Therefore, INAC must understand what is working as well as what should change and in what way. In other words, INAC needs to identify most beneficial approach in disbursing the $200 million funding for the programs it manages (i.e. the Aboriginal business development, the lands and environmental management, and community economic development) and how to align these programs with opportunities and priorities.

Mr. Clarke outlined the following principles identified by INAC to guide program renewal:

A year and a half ago, the government consulted on the new Framework with about 700 individuals across Canada, invited input from organizations, and asked for reports and advice from anyone who wanted to talk about economic development. The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Affairs also prepared a report that helped shape the Government's approach.

At this stage of the process, the government is looking for additional input. To this end, nine regional engagement sessions, including this one, are to be held across the country. A number of thematic sessions such as: urban, youth, the North, and gender are also to be held. Findings from the relevant audits and evaluations will be taken into account as well. The federal government is also looking for input from other organizations and holding targeted sessions with key stakeholders, and also working with the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board (NAEDB). Considering all of the above, "there is nothing that is not on the table," Mr. Clarke remarked.

Mr. Clarke listed the key themes INAC will be considering in completing this work:

These engagement sessions will end by November 2010. INAC's website indicates how people can contact the department. There will be follow-up, and then INAC will look at how to implement changes and what kind of transition is needed, concluded Mr. Clarke.


A participant asked about on-reserve and off-reserve development and how the federal government would support First Nation involvement in off-reserve forest development, given that most natural resources fall under provincial control.

Mr. Clarke explained that the programs do not necessarily distinguish between on reserve and off. He said INAC must find ways to work more effectively in resource jurisdiction areas. "Let's work with people to facilitate linkages," he said—to "work more effectively with provinces and territories to facilitate economic development."

Audience Response System (ARS) Questions 5-8

Q5. How familiar are you with INAC's current community economic development programs?

Q6. How familiar are you with INAC's current lands and environmental management programs?

Q7. How familiar are you with INAC's current business development programs?

Q8. How familiar are you with INAC's community infrastructure program?

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Ontario Perspectives on Lands and Economic Development

William McCue
Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation

Ian Bannon
Councillor and Land Manager
Fort William First Nation

Councillor William McCue discussed the initiatives in his community of 714 on- and off-reserve band members. He said his was the first community in Canada to change the land code from INAC to its own jurisdiction. The community, like most First Nation communities, depends on program funding, including the Community Economic Development Program (CEDP) and the Community Economic Opportunities Program (CEOP). Successful community projects include a marina, a wind farm, nature trail construction, housing renovations and repairs, cottage leasing, and rink construction.

Mr. McCue said each funding program has pros and cons, such as the tendency for programs that only partially meet CEOP requirements to get "bogged down in semantics," or the seemingly arbitrary funding ceiling of $99,999, which he said may relate more to the additional work required to approve higher figures. He praised the youth employment program and the flexibility of the skills and development program for youth in both academic and non-academic streams.

Mr. McCue explained that requiring bands to respond to INAC within 30 days is frustrating, especially when compared to the indefinite amount of time INAC can take to respond to applications and questions. Federal funding sources have not changed to reflect the fact that community projects have grown more dynamic, lucrative, and expensive. He offered suggestions on the reporting structure including consistency across offices and programs, and commended sessions such as this for addressing this issue. "We don't expect INAC to be perfect—we do expect to be heard."

Mr. McCue said his community finds benefits in dealing directly with Aboriginal funding organizations.

Councillor Ian Bannon said approximately half of his band members live off reserve. Beginning with an office structure built in the 1990s, his community has grown to manage over 200,000 square feet of business space, construction companies, a gas station, an automotive garage, and other businesses. "We have been very successful with many of the funding sources offered through the federal government," he said.

Mr. Bannon said INAC's response time is a priority issue. Each change in INAC personnel creates the need to re-explain business concepts and plans. He said application questions should be narrowly designed to meet program criteria only. He added that stacking funding is crucial to building equity and should be part of the session discussions on harmonizing funding sources.

Noting that an off-grid community without online capabilities could easily take five extra months to complete the funding application process, he said even a few changes could make a tremendous difference.

Mr. Bannon described a major partnership that his community had entered into based on a promise of completion within one year, noting the project is finally nearing completion after a decade of struggle.

Mr. Bannon said making necessary changes in the areas of policy development, consultation opportunities, and the Addition to Reserve (ATR) process would significantly benefit communities like his. He said the inability to designate land outside the Additions to Reserve (ATR) process has been a continual impediment to development in his community, citing the tax issues now facing the community arising from a particular project.

Noting that his community has had some good program experiences, he suggested some potential opportunities might "need to be tweaked in order to improve and provide support to those communities that have been successful."

Audience Response System (ARS) Question 9

Q9. The following five issues are often described as barriers to Aboriginal economic development. Rank them in order from largest to least obstacle:

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Reflections On Current Programming

Summary of Breakout Discussions

The table groups were asked to discuss and report back on successes and failures within the current programming. One person from each of the 16 tables reported back on the key points raised during the discussion.

Participants identified several challenges, including:

Audience Response System (ARS) Question 9a:

How many people agree the approval process is too slow in general?

Participants made the following comments regarding program successes and failures:

Audience Response System (ARS) Question 9b:

How many people agree Land Management is not working?

Participants made the following comments regarding land management:

Audience Response System (ARS) Question 9c:

Do you agree that program understanding is a major issue?

Participants made the following comments:

Audience Response System (ARS) Question 9d:

Do you think the CEDP funding formula needs to be revised?

Participants made the following comments:

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Day 1 Wrap-Up

A First Nations Chief discussed INAC reports and feasibility studies. He expressed concern about the fact that INAC had hired the facilitators and would be editing the report, questioning whether the report would be geared to support INAC's agenda. He said he is concerned that the Framework's focus on increased First Nations land use would undermine sovereignty and promote a top-down approach to dealing with opportunities. "In dealing with INAC and its bureaucrats the Framework will be centralized and enlarged," he said.

He said he hoped the report would not be altered but his concerns were rooted in his background and experience, and discussion with advisors at home.

Lead facilitator Stan Wesley assured participants that the facilitators would be responsible for the content of the report and were hired by the independent contractor managing the event. "You have our promise your voice will be heard in this report."

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Exploring Options for Financing Community Infrastructure

Audience Response System (ARS) Questions 10–13

Q10. Does your community currently have infrastructure projects that are awaiting INAC funding to proceed?

Q11. Are deficits in infrastructure impeding your community's ability to pursue economic development opportunities?

Q12. Has your community used debt-financing to finance infrastructure projects?

Q13. How likely is it that your community would consider alternative financing approaches for infrastructure?

Sébastien Labelle
Director, Community Infrastructure
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Headquarters

Sébastien Labelle said INAC is looking for additional and improved tools to finance on-reserve infrastructure, including alternative financing resources from banking and private sectors. He said INAC provides $1 billion annually to assist First Nations in acquiring, constructing, operating, and maintaining community infrastructure, noting that this is not as much as it seems.

Mr. Labelle said the current funding allocation is based on health and safety rather than economic development, and INAC is looking into the possibility of changing this focus.

Funding must be leveraged to go farther, he said, noting that current infrastructure funding does not depend on community size or capacity. This one-size-fits-all approach cannot respond to the range of community needs. He said infrastructure debt is not unique to First Nation communities, noting that Canada's municipal infrastructure deficit is estimated at $123 billion.

Labelle described possible allocations for infrastructure funding and potential additional tools to enhance the process, such as enhancing the financial profile of a community to facilitate loans. Partnerships among communities, municipalities, provinces, and the private sector could enable First Nation communities to pool resources, achieve economies of scale, and acquire additional capacity for infrastructure projects.

Next steps include using engagement session input to develop options for improving infrastructure financing. "We are not interested in taking away the existing program and replacing it with fending for yourself at the banks. We are looking at improving the capacity support" and addressing real gaps in the communities, said Mr. Labelle.

Summary of Breakout Discussions

The groups were asked to discuss and report back on a number of questions relating to financing community infrastructure.

Has your community borrowed money before? For what type of project? How did it work?

Participants identified the following projects for which they had borrowed money:

Participants made the following comments regarding borrowing money for projects:

Which potential infrastructure financing tools could work for your community, and how? For example, public-private partnerships, Aboriginal financial institutions loans, credit-enhanced tools for private borrowing, etcetera?

Participants identified the following financing tools as potentially beneficial:

Participants made the following comments regarding infrastructure financing:

What capacity support would your community need in order to use alternative financing? What would be the best way for INAC to provide this support? For example, training, how-to guides, resource contacts, etcetera?

Participant said their communities would need:

Participants made the following comments regarding capacity support:

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Canada Ontario Resource Development Agreement (CORDA)

Charlene Vantyghem
Partnership Program and Liaison Advisor
Land and Water Services
Integration Branch
Ministry of Natural Resources

Jason Laronde
Director, Lands and Resources Department
Union of Ontario Indians

Charlene Vantyghem said the Canada Ontario Resource Development Agreement (CORDA) budget is $1 million annually and is primarily accessed by Aboriginal communities. CORDA reaches over 270 project participants each year and 75% of CORDA projects create employment, helping to build new businesses and expand new markets. CORDA funded projects in 93 First Nation communities between 2004 and 2008. Ms. Vantyghem said leveraging funds is key to successful applications.

She explained the CORDA framework begins with an agreement between the Government of Canada, the Ontario Provincial Government, and the First Nation parties involved. It then moves to transfer payment agreements, projects and administration, project recipients, and strategic outcomes. She noted the recently published annual report is available on the CORDA website.

CORDA priorities are established each year, with funds released in three stages throughout a project. Jason Laronde said CORDA fills a funding gap, especially for small projects, and no other process compares with the unique access to funding it provides. He noted that interest in the program remains high.

Ms. Vantyghem discussed CORDA in relation to capacity development. Members at a recent CORDA committee meeting recommended the federal Framework consider capacity development at the local level and target development for various First Nation demographics such as youth and women. The Framework should consider interests and which skills people wish to develop.

Ms. Vantyghem said CORDA continues to be oversubscribed at the community level. Mr. Laronde gave examples of successful CORDA-funded projects, and said reducing or cutting CORDA funding would conflict with past commitments made by a former INAC minister.

Audience Response System (ARS) Questions 14-19

Q14. Does your community have a full-time Economic Development Officer (EDO)?

Q15. Does your community have a full-time Lands Management Officer?

Q16. Does your community have an economic development plan?

Q17. Does your community have a land use plan?

Q18. Are you familiar with the Reserve Land and Environment Management Program (RLEMP)?

Q19. What type of economic opportunities primarily exist in your communities? Rank from most to least prevalent.

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Innovative Program Options–Lands and Economic Development

Jennifer Cairnie
Director, Program Renovation and Renewal Directorate
Policy Coordination Branch, Lands and Economic Development
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Headquarters

Jennifer Cairnie said the program renovation is not about change for its own sake, but to identify programming gaps and innovative programming options. The renovation will transition over the course of a year or two to phase programs in or out based on the feedback received at these engagement sessions. "Think about the suite of programs INAC delivers," she said, asking participants to consider how the programs are working in their communities, possible improvements, future delivery programs, and capacity development that would better benefit First Nation communities.

Summary of Breakout Discussions

The groups were asked to discuss and report back on a number of questions relating to innovative program options.

What aspects of the current INAC programs are working well?

Participants identified the following programs as working well:

Participants made the following comments regarding current INAC programs:

One group said any discussion of what is working well "would be the shortest discussion in history".

Another group said that any program could be successful for some communities. Participants said INAC should look at programs with failed projects, examine whether this failure was a result of the program, and modify or renovate the program to address the problem.

What new or changed INAC programs are needed to address barriers to economic development?

Participants identified the following barriers to economic development:

Participants made the following suggestions for addressing these barriers:

How could renovated programs effectively support differing capacity development needs?

Participants made the following suggestions to address differing needs:

Participants made the following additional comments:

Audience Response System (ARS) Questions 20-24

Q20. The following five issues are often described as important obstacles to accessing INAC's lands and economic development programming. Please rank them in the order in which you consider they impede access, from the most to the least.

Q21. Has your community generally been successful applying for and accessing funding from INAC's CEOP?

Q22. Has your community or individuals in your community generally been successful applying for and accessing funding from INAC's ABDP?

Q23. Rank the following types of programming in order of importance to your community:

Q24. As a current or potential recipient of Lands and Economic Development Program funding, what method of receiving funding would you prefer?

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Making Programs Work

Jennifer Cairnie
Director, Program Renovation and Renewal Directorate
Policy Coordination Branch, Lands and Economic Development
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Headquarters

Ms. Cairnie identified key messages from the feedback thus far, including: current program demand outstrips INAC's capability to respond, changes are needed to make programs work better, and eligibility requirements should be changed.

She asked participants to share their thoughts on INAC's funding priorities and possible changes INAC could make to specific programs to improve access to funding. She asked which areas INAC could improve to increase responsiveness to community needs, citing earlier comments that INAC's failure to respond at the speed of business creates obstacles as an example.

Ms. Cairnie said INAC staff is aware of the inconsistencies within the programs. She asked participants to discuss their priorities for economic development funding, and to identify which areas are most critical for their communities. She said the second half of the session would focus on the linkages needed among programs, improving service delivery, and other key matters.

Summary of Breakout Discussions

The groups were asked to discuss and report back on a number of questions relating to making programs work.

Assuming that there is no increase in the overall funds available, what are the priorities for funding within the current overall budget for Aboriginal economic development?

Participants identified the following funding priorities:

Participants made the following comments regarding funding priorities:

One group declined to answer the question saying INAC often uses such lists to justify funding cuts. Another said INAC should not have standardized funding priorities, but decide on a community by community basis according to specific needs.

Several participants said all current programming is a priority, and the need for more funding is the real issue.

How can the current formulae used for the CEDP and RLEMP be changed to better support the differing needs and opportunities of communities? Should all communities receive a "base" level of funding?

Participants made the following suggestions for changing the current formulae:

Participants made the following additional suggestions:

One group expressed reluctance to discuss formula changes, saying program renovation should be about INAC "fixing its own house." Another group looked at comprehensive community planning and discussed the idea of grouping First Nations for economic development services, but no conclusion was reached.

What does it mean to operate "at the speed of business"? How can programs and processes be improved to support timely decision making?

Participants made the following suggestions for improving timely decision making:

Participants made the following comments regarding the "speed of business":

Participants made the following additional comments:

What should be the key elements of program service standards? For example, what should be the standard processing time for an economic development project application? For a land transaction?

Participants made the following suggestions regarding service standards:

How can existing programs be combined or linked to better support Aboriginal economic development overall?

Participants provided the following recommendations regarding linkages:

One group said this was not the appropriate forum to explore needs. Another group said at the end of the day, "all our people want is help—we need information in order to do that. We need to know."

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Measuring Success

Jennifer Cairnie
Director, Program Renovation and Renewal Directorate
Policy Coordination Branch, Lands and Economic Development
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Headquarters

Ms. Cairnie said the table discussions would focus on defining success and how to determine whether the renovated programs INAC rolls out based on the session feedback are relevant to First Nations and the strategic framework. She identified some messages already received during the session, including the need to reduce the reporting burden, and to balance demand with INAC's need to tell the story of First Nation economic development and advancement to benefit community members.

The table groups were asked to discuss a number of questions relating to measuring success.

Audience Response System (ARS) Question 25

Q25. The following five issues are often described as significant contributors to the reporting burden faced by INAC program funding recipients. Please rank them in the order in which you consider they increase the reporting burden, from most to least.

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Review of Engagement Session and Next Steps

Allan Clarke
Director General, Policy and Coordination Branch
Lands and Economic Development
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Headquarters

Mr. Clarke said INAC is taking the input from these national engagement sessions very seriously, noting "this is not the end of our engagement with our clients." He thanked Elder Gordon Williams for adding his insights to the proceedings. He identified some key points that arose from the session, including the need for more multi-year funding, the vital importance of clear communication and information sharing, the need for faster and simpler processes, and the importance of capacity development.

Mr. Clarke said steps have been made to bring LED sectors closer together in recent years, but more can be done, including developing better understanding of their interdependency and determining ways to improve this relationship to achieve optimal outcomes.

Operating at the speed of business is currently incompatible with INAC's program management model—the funding approval process has too many steps and the government's concerns about liability and fiduciary responsibility must be reconciled with community economic development. "INAC is moving too slowly and that is something we have to fix," said Mr. Clarke.

First Nation land managers and EDOs require greater capacity to enable and support community economic development. Added value encourages full reporting and the information gathered must be used to benefit the communities. Mr. Clarke said AFIs are a success story and the envy of many programs across government, noting their longevity. "We need to figure out how to make them as effective as they can be—how to build a stronger AFI network."

INAC's role should be to provide and support conditions to take advantage of economic development opportunities, said Mr. Clarke. While CEDP is a welcome program, some aspects work better than others—according to ARS responses (Question 9d), 89% of participants said the CEDP funding formula should be changed. Base funding for officers in communities must increase to offer competitive salaries and attract candidates with the necessary capacity.

Stable and reliable infrastructure also provides a critical base for economic development and planning for future development. "Let's make funding more of an ongoing thing," said Mr. Clarke.

Mr. Clarke said INAC is looking to implement some changes by spring 2011, with a gradual transition through the more major renovations. He noted that "engagement is an ongoing process," and economic development should not be approached as one size fits all or first past the post. He invited participants to continue to provide ideas and feedback, noting that following an engagement session in Atlantic Canada, the First Nation communities in the region have struck a committee to continue considering and identify possible performance and success measurements.

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Closing Prayer

Elder Gordon Williams said three things stood out for him from the sessions: streamlining operations, improving the approval process, and the tremendous importance of information flow.

He invited everyone to pray in their own way, and extended thanks for the time and energy shared in the sessions.

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List of Participants

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