Ministerial Transition Book: November 2015

The following background briefing material was provided to Minister Carolyn Bennett following her swearing in as Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs on November 4, 2015. The material provides an overview of the mandate and history of the Department, the parliamentary environment, the Minister's portfolio, key relationships, and departmental sectors and their mandates. It also includes an overview of First Nation, Métis and Inuit protocols, cultures and traditions.

Table of contents

1. Overview of History and Demographic Context

History, demographic context and socioeconomic outcomes are among the key factors that continue to shape current relationships and expectations regarding the Government of Canada's approach to Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and northern issues.

History of Crown-Aboriginal Relationships

First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples' relationships with the Government have evolved over time, and continue to do so.

Early interactions between European explorers and Indians (now commonly referred to as First Nations), Inuit, and later Métis, were based on mutually-beneficial objectives and strategic alliances largely focusing on trade and protection.

The nature of the Government-Aboriginal relationships evolved as non-Aboriginal populations increased and conflicts between colonial powers ended in North America. From the mid-1800s to the late 1960s, the goals of government policy regarding First Nation peoples gradually shifted to securing unsettled lands and bringing the Aboriginal population into the socioeconomic mainstream, through strict government management of community affairs and educational programs such as the residential school system. The latter, which involved the removal of 150,000 Aboriginal children, often forcibly, from their families and communities to attend residential schools, has now been acknowledged as harmful and misguided.

These policy approaches, aiming to integrate Aboriginal peoples into the broader Canadian population, informed the 1969 White Paper. The White Paper was a federal policy proposal for a series of wide-ranging measures, including the elimination of reserves and repeal of the Indian Act. The White Paper was strongly rejected by First Nation leaders as threatening to fully subsume Aboriginal peoples and cultures within the broader Canadian society. Reaction to the White Paper led to the strengthening of a politically active and articulate Aboriginal leadership, which began to engage with all levels of government, the media, and internationally on questions of Aboriginal rights.

These developments marked the beginning of a new, modern phase in the relationship with the gradual end of what some described as assimilation-based policies and emergence of new approaches to better address Aboriginal rights and interests. The affirmation of Aboriginal and treaty rights in the Constitution Act, 1982, was a seminal moment in the efforts to recognize First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples, their cultures and traditions as essential elements of the Canadian fabric. Further attempts to give expression to Aboriginal and treaty rights through constitutional negotiations in the early 1990s were unsuccessful with the rejection of the Charlottetown Accord in the 1992 referendum

The subsequent report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), released in November 1996, called for a new relationship between the Crown and Aboriginal people based on four principles: mutual recognition, mutual respect, sharing and mutual responsibility – and identified four pillars on which a new relationship could be built: treaties, governance, lands and resources, and economic development. Canada's response to RCAP was issued in 1998 with Gathering Strength – Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan, a long-term, broad-based policy approach designed to increase the quality of life of Aboriginal people and to promote self-sufficiency. It focused on four pillars: renewing the partnership; strengthening governance; developing a new fiscal relationship; and supporting strong communities, people and economies. High-profile policy discussions continued through processes led by the Reference Group of Ministers on Aboriginal Policy and discussions leading to the Kelowna Accord, which was ultimately set aside by the calling of the 2006 federal election

The process of reconciling the rights and interests of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples within Canada continues today. The January 2012 historic Crown-First Nations Gathering, an event attended by the Prime Minister, several federal Ministers and more than 170 First Nation Chiefs, was intended to renew relationships, and resulted in the identification of common priorities to improve socioeconomic outcomes and advance Aboriginal rights. On August 22, 2013, the Prime Minister, accompanied by a number of Cabinet Ministers, met for an Inuit-specific gathering with Inuit leadership in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. The purpose of the meeting was to review federal approaches to Inuit-related matters to see whether there are issues that could be advanced via modifications to the current federal approach.

Looking to the future, the prospect of reconciliation and the nature of Crown-Aboriginal relations are likely to have a prominent role in the public discourse, given the June 2015 release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Summary Report, the upcoming Final Report by the Commission in late 2015, and Canada 150 celebrations in 2017.

Treaties and Self-Government Agreements

Treaties are a central element of the Crown's relationship with First Nation and Inuit peoples.

Pre-1975 treaties, generally known as "historic treaties," range from "peace and friendship treaties" concluded with First Nations in the 18th century, to early land cessions throughout the 19th century, to the post-Confederation treaties such as the "numbered Treaties" negotiated between 1871 and 1921. These treaties served as the primary means of formalizing the relationship between First Nations and colonial governments, and later, the Government of Canada, as well as securing title and open lands for settlement over 50% of Canada. They are viewed by First Nations as sacred and solemn agreements.

Historic treaties are not uniform, as they reflect the historic circumstances and political or policy imperatives of the time. The Government of Canada does not acknowledge the existence of any historic treaties with the Inuit or the Métis, although a number of Métis litigants are seeking recognition of their claims to treaty rights with respect to several of the numbered treaties.

Modern treaties are comprehensive land claim agreements that have been negotiated since 1973, when the Government of Canada adopted a policy to negotiate such agreements. These modern treaties cover 40% of Canada, include more than 90 First Nation and Inuit communities, and involve approximately 100,000 beneficiaries. To date, 27 modern treaties have been entered into with First Nations and Inuit groups, providing them with, among other benefits, jurisdiction over lands and resources, and in most cases include self-government agreements.

While comprehensive claims typically include self-government arrangements, stand-alone self-government agreements have been negotiated and implemented in a variety of forms in Canada. In collaboration with its Aboriginal and provincial/territorial partners, Canada has completed 22 comprehensive self-government agreements involving 36 Aboriginal groups and another establishing a public government in Nunavut involving 26 communities. These agreements and their implementing legislation provide Aboriginal groups with modern government structures and arrangements and an increased capacity and responsibility to manage their own affairs. These agreements typically provide for, among other powers, jurisdiction over governance, lands and resources. For First Nations, these agreements replace the Indian Act with a negotiated, modern legislative framework.

As a general rule, historic treaties are vaguely worded, while others provide for more limited land rights and financial benefits than modern treaties, frustrating signatory First Nations who see unjust imbalances between their historic treaties and more generous, much more specific, modern settlements.

All treaties, both historic and modern, present implementation challenges related to the interpretation of Crown obligations and costs, and the extent of extinguishment of Aboriginal and treaty rights. In turn, treaty-related claims represent a significant portion of the inventory of active Aboriginal litigation cases, pointing to the need for more effectively negotiate and implement claims.

Aboriginal Peoples

A variety of legal and cultural delineations exist among, and within, First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities.

Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, states that the Aboriginal peoples of Canada include Indians (usually referred to as First Nations), Inuit and Métis.

First Nations

The Indian Act, which underwent its last major overhaul by Parliament in 1951, provides the legal structure under which individuals are entitled to be registered as "Indians" based on their ancestry. These individuals are typically referred to as "status" or "registered" Indians. Section 6 of the Indian Act provides the framework for transmitting status from parents to children. Further changes to the Indian Act were made in the following decades to bring individual rights of First Nations in line with other Canadians, such as voting rights in 1960, as well as the elimination of discriminatory regulations towards women through different amendments in 1985 and most recently in 2011.

Status and place of residence are key determinants of an individual's eligibility for access to federal programs and services, which are provided as a matter of policy. For example, Income Assistance and K-12 education programs funded by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) are only available to Status Indians living on reserve, whereas post-secondary education programming is available to Status Indians and Inuit whether they live on or off reserve. Non-Insured Health Benefits, such as dental care, are provided by Health Canada to Status Indians and Inuit regardless of where they live. Status Indians are also entitled to tax exemption for income earned on reserve.

Within First Nation communities, distinctions may also be drawn between Status Indians who are recognized as band members versus non-band members. Through provisions of the Indian Act, individual communities are able to determine how band membership is established. Band membership may convey a variety of benefits, including acceptance as a member of the community and its culture and access to band-administered programs and services. There are 618 recognized bands in Canada. This includes the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band in Newfoundland and Labrador which was formed in 2011 and whose registered members will be eligible for certain benefits such as post-secondary education support and non-insured health benefits, even though the band itself does not have any designated reserve lands.

Another distinction lies between Treaty and Non-Treaty Indians. Specific rights and benefits, such as treaty rights to hunt and fish or annual treaty annuity payments under the terms of the treaties, are available to Treaty Indians whether or not they live on reserve.

Non-Status Indians

Non-Status Indians are persons who identify themselves as Indians, but who are not eligible to be registered under the Indian Act and are not eligible for federal benefits flowing from registration. This population resides across Canada, and the vast majority live off reserve.

These distinctions affect whether or not a First Nation individual has access to certain federal programs and benefits. This can result in the Minister being called upon to resolve disputes or lead policy changes to address issues. Another alternative available to communities or individuals is to seek to resolve issues through the courts, such as the recent McIvor case which resulted in the most recent amendment to section 6 of the Indian Act in 2011 to address gender equity in Indian registration. In October 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada heard case of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples' appeal of the lower court's decision that Non-Status Indians are not Indians within the meaning of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Inuit

Inuit are the Aboriginal peoples of Arctic Canada. Most Inuit reside in small communities and hamlets located in Nunavut, the Mackenzie Delta area of the Northwest Territories (Inuvialuit), as well as northern parts of Quebec (Nunavik) and Labrador (Nunatsiavut). Since all Inuit land claims have been settled, Inuit are most readily identified as beneficiaries of one of five land claim agreements:

  • the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984);
  • the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (1993);
  • the Labrador Inuit Agreement (2005); and
  • the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2006) / the Inuit-specific part of the Northern Quebec James Bay Agreement (1975)

Metis

There is no statutory or universally agreed-upon definition of the Métis, and several distinctions are common within the Métis population. Speaking broadly, Métis peoples are of mixed ancestry, usually Indian and European, who self-identify as Métis.

In the 2003 Powley decision, the Supreme Court of Canada held that for the purpose of establishing Aboriginal rights, the term "Métis" in section 35 does not encompass all individuals with mixed Indian and European heritage. Rather, it refers to distinctive peoples who, in addition to their mixed ancestry, developed their own customs, way of life, and recognizable group identity separate from their Indian and European forebears.

Members of the traditional "Métis Nation Homeland" reside in Ontario and the four western provinces. Represented by the Métis National Council and its provincial affiliates, their shared history is defined by the fur trade and Louis Riel's movement to bring Manitoba into Confederation. The Métis Settlements in Alberta and Métis communities in the Northwest Territories also share this heritage, but do not participate in the Métis National Council.

Beyond those with defined Métis rights, a broader community of Métis of mixed Aboriginal-European ancestry is located throughout Canada, including outside the Métis Nation Homeland east of Ontario. Some members of this community are represented by the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

Over time, Métis groups have sought similar rights and benefits provided to First Nation and Inuit groups. Several groups representing various Métis communities are currently plaintiffs and intervenors in the CAP/Daniels litigation regarding whether Métis and Non-Status Indians are "Indians" within the meaning of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, which commenced at the Supreme Court of Canada on October 8, 2015.

The landscape related to Métis rights is evolving. On March 8, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Manitoba Metis Federation Case that:

"The obligation enshrined in section 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870, did not impose a fiduciary duty on the Government. However, as a solemn constitutional obligation to the Métis people of Manitoba aimed at reconciling their Aboriginal interests with sovereignty, it engaged in the honour of the Crown. This required the government to act with diligence in pursuit of the fulfilment of the promise. We therefore conclude that the Métis are entitled to a declaration that Canada failed to implement section 31 as required by the honour of the Crown" (para 9).

The declaration issued by the Court does not carry immediate, specific obligations for the Crown. The judgment does, however, send a strong signal that the federal Crown needs to engage with the descendants of the Métis people of the Red River Valley in a meaningful way. In June 2015, the Government appointed a Ministerial Special Representative with a mandate to lead an engagement with Métis organizations and stakeholders, to map out a process for dialogue on section 35 rights and to engage specifically with the Manitoba Metis Federation to explore ways to advance dialogue on reconciliation with Métis in Manitoba in response to the 2013 Manitoba Metis Federation et al. v. Canada decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. A report on the outcomes of this engagement is expected in late 2015/early 2016

Urban Aboriginal Peoples

There is a growing urban Aboriginal population. The number of Aboriginal peoples living in census metropolitan areas in 2011 had increased by 65% since 2001, almost five times the growth in the number of non-Aboriginal people in urban centres (14%). While distinctions remain important to urban Aboriginal peoples, they may define themselves not only by their First Nation, Métis or Inuit identity, but also by their shared experiences as Aboriginal peoples in urban environments.

Aboriginal Demographics

The Aboriginal population is younger than the overall Canadian population and is growing more rapidly.

In the 2011 National Household Survey, 1.4 million people in Canada identified themselves as Aboriginal, representing 4% of the Canadian population.

Aboriginal demographics
Description of Aboriginal demographics

A pie chart, based on the 2011 Household Survey, showing the distribution of population for the 1.4 million of Canadians who identity as Aboriginal.

Of those who identify as Aboriginal: 697,510 individuals (49.8%) are Registered (Status) Indians; 213,900 (15.3%) are non-Status Indians; 418,380 (29.9%) are Métis; and 59,115 (4.2%) are Inuit. About 11,780 (0.8%) identify as Other Aboriginal (those who reported more than one identity group, and who reported being a band member with no Aboriginal identity and no registered Indian status.)

Distribution of Population
Registered Indian 49.8 %
Metis 29.9 %
Non-Status Indian 15.3 %
Inuit 4.2 %
Other Aboriginal* 0,8 %
Total 100.0 %
*Other Aboriginal refers to respondents who reported more than one identity group, and those who reported being a band member with no Aboriginal identity and no registered Indian status.

In 2011, nearly half (45%) of the off-reserve Aboriginal population was under the age of 25, compared to 29% for the non-Aboriginal population. About 51% of Status Indians living on reserve were under 25 years of age.

Both the concentration and number of Aboriginal peoples vary greatly across the country. About eight in ten Aboriginal people reside in Ontario and Western Canada. The largest Aboriginal population is in Ontario, where more than 301,400 Aboriginal people reside. The concentration of Aboriginal peoples among the overall population is highest in the territories, ranging from 23% of people in the Yukon to 86% of people in Nunavut having Aboriginal identity. Among the provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have the highest concentrations of Aboriginal people at roughly four times the national average (17 and 16%, respectively). In most other provinces, less than 5% of people are Aboriginal.

Almost half (45%) of the Status Indian population lived on reserve. Among the other groups, the majority of Non-Status Indians and Métis (75 and 71%, respectively) lived in urban areas in 2011, while Inuit lived predominantly in rural areas (56%).

Population projections for the 2011 to 2016 time period estimate that the Aboriginal population could grow by between 1.3% and 2.5% annually. The latter figure includes the possibility that past trends of changes in individuals' self-identification from non-Aboriginal to Métis or Non-Status Indian (i.e. ethnic mobility) may continue into the future. On reserve, the average annual rate of growth among the Status Indian population is 2.0% over the same time period. By comparison, the Canadian population as a whole is projected to grow at a lower rate of 1.1% per year over the same period. The effects of the rapidly growing Aboriginal populations are particularly important on reserves and in the North, where increasing demand for basic services and programs has significant implications for costs and achieving quality of life improvements.

Aboriginal Socioeconomic Indicators

Community Well-Being (CWB) Index: Long-term Trends

(The community well-being index is a composite index comparing results for education, employment, income and housing among non-Aboriginal communities, on-reserve First Nations and Inuit communities. Scores are out of 100.)

Description of Community Well-Being (CWB) Index: Long-term Trends

This line graph compares the average Community Well-Being (CWB) index scores of First Nations, Inuit and non-Aboriginal communities across Canada from 1981 to 2011.

  • The average CWB index score in non-Aboriginal communities in Canada was 67 in 1981, 71 in 1991, 72 in 1996, 73 in 2001, 77 in 2006, and 79 in 2011.
  • The average CWB index score for First Nations communities was 47 in 1981, 51 in 1991, 55 in 1996, 57 in 2001, 57 in 2006, and 59 in 2011.
  • The average CWB index score for Inuit communities was 48 in 1981, 57 in 1991, 60 in 1996, 61 in 2001, 62 in 2006 and 63 in 2011.

Generally, Aboriginal peoples in Canada do not enjoy the same standard of living as most other Canadians.

Broad policy toward First Nations, Inuit and Métis, from the mid-1800s through to 1969, contributed to the erosion of traditional Aboriginal social and governance structures, and to a legacy of socioeconomic problems.

In recent decades, more progressive federal social programming contributed to gradually reducing the socioeconomic disparities between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians. At the same time, socioeconomic outcomes for non-Aboriginal Canadians have been rising at a faster rate. The latest community well-being index scores, based on the 2011 National Household Survey indicate that national averages have been increasing across all types of communities; however, the gap between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal communities has been persistent over the past 30 years.

Overall Aboriginal population averages mask regional and group-specific differences, which suggest the need for tailored, as opposed to "one-size-fits-all" approaches, to close socioeconomic gaps. In general, socioeconomic outcomes for the Métis and Non-Status Indians have been improving at a faster rate than the outcomes for First Nation and Inuit populations. For instance, the 2011 National Household Survey shows that for the working age population (25-64):

  • 35.3% of First Nation and 48.5% of Inuit people had not completed high school, compared to 20.4% among the Métis and 22.3% among Non-Status Indians; and
  • the unemployment rate was 17.2% and 17.3% for First Nation and Inuit people respectively, compared to 8.5% for Métis and 9.4% for Non-Status Indians.

Northern Context

Generally speaking, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations largely live side-by-side throughout the North and receive programs and services from the territorial governments

Description of the map of the North

A map of the six regions in northern Canada: Yukon, Inuvialuit, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut. On the map the following communities are identified, per region.

The following communities are in the Yukon:

  • Watson Lake
  • Teslin
  • Whitehorse
  • Haines Junction
  • Ross River
  • Carmacks
  • Beaver Creek
  • Dawson
  • Elsa

The following communities are in Inuvialuit:

  • Fort McPherson
  • Old Crow
  • Inuvik
  • Aklavik
  • Tsiigehtchic
  • Tukoyaktuk
  • Sachs Harbour
  • Paulatuk
  • Ulukhaktok

The following communities are in the Northwest Territories:

  • Fort Smith
  • Fort Resolution
  • Hay River
  • Jean Marie River
  • Fort Simpson
  • Wrigley
  • Lutselk'e
  • Yellowknife
  • Behchoko
  • Whati
  • Tulita
  • Deline
  • Norman Wells
  • Colville Lake
  • Fort Good Hope

The following communities are in Nunatsiavut

  • Nain
  • Makkovik
  • Postville
  • Hopedale
  • Rigolet
  • Goose Bay

The following communities are in Nunavut:

  • Arviat
  • Whale Cove
  • Rankin Inlet
  • Chesterfield Inlet
  • Coral Harbour
  • Baker Lake
  • Wager Bay
  • Repulse Bay
  • Bathurst Inlet
  • Kugluktuk
  • Cambridge Bay
  • Gjoa Haven
  • Kugaaruk
  • Taloyoak
  • Hall Beach
  • Igloolik
  • Cape Dorset
  • Kimmirut
  • Iqaluit
  • Pangnirtung
  • Qikiqtarjuaq
  • Clyde River
  • Pond Inlet
  • Arctic Bay
  • Resolute
  • Grise Fiord
  • Sanikiluaq

The following are communities in Nunavik

  • Kuujjuarapik
  • Umiujaq
  • Inukjuak
  • Puvirnituq
  • Akulivik
  • Ivujivik
  • Salluit
  • Kangiqsujuaq
  • Quaqtaq
  • Kangirsuk
  • Aupaluk
  • Tasiujaq
  • Kuujjuaq
  • Kangiqsualujjuaq

The two other areas identified are Qaanaaq in Greenland and Churchill in Manitoba.

Canada's North has many definitions: defined by its peoples; defined by science as the southern limit of discontinuous permafrost; or, in a geopolitical sense, distinguishing the territories from the provinces. At AANDC, it is generally understood as including both the territories and regions of the Inuit homeland (Inuit Nunangat). The definition of North notably includes the Inuit regions of Nunavik in Northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut in Labrador, given that these regions possess characteristics similar to those in the territories.

A significant proportion of the Northern population identifies with one of Canada's Aboriginal groups – approximately 86% in Nunavut, 50% in Northwest Territories and 23% in Yukon. The relationship with Aboriginal peoples in the North has evolved differently than in the South. To begin, the Indian Act has limited application to First Nations in the territories. There are currently only two reserves in the territoriesFootnote 1, both of which are located in the Northwest Territories, and only 25 First Nations across the territories currently operate under the Indian Act.Footnote 2

Inuit have experienced a similar historical situation as Northern First Nation and Métis peoples, although substantial contact with European settlers came much later for the Inuit. In 1939, the Supreme Court decision in Re. Eskimo established federal jurisdiction over Inuit affairs. Nevertheless, with the exception of land claims legislation, federal interventions with the Inuit have largely been carried out on a policy basis rather than a legislative basis

Land Claims, Self-Government and Management of Resources

Relationships between the Northern Aboriginal population and the Crown are shaped by different legal relationships, governance structures and shared resource responsibilities. These shared responsibilities also provide unique opportunities for building a stronger economy for all Canadians, including Northerners.

In Yukon, 11 of the 14 First Nations have settled land claim agreementsFootnote 3 that follow the framework set out in the Yukon Umbrella Final Agreement. These settled claims also establish joint resource management boards, making First Nations important players in territorial development. The three First Nations in unsettled claim areas in Yukon remain under the Indian Act, 1876.Footnote 4,Footnote 5

In the Northwest Territories, there are four settled land claim agreementsFootnote 6 but only two self-government agreements, with Tlicho First Nation and Deline Got'ine. Resource management in Northwest Territories is guided by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. These regimes feature co-management structures that carry out environmental assessments and reviews of proposed development projects with implications for public and private lands and water.

In Nunavut, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement covers the whole territory and provides certainty over land ownership and resource rights to its beneficiaries. The Nunavut Land Claims AgreementFootnote 7 paved the way for the creation of the territory and its public government. The Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act establishes a joint system to oversee the way resources are managed in the Nunavut Settlement Area, and establishes the Nunavut Planning Commission (an institution of public government) as a single window for project proposals. The Act provides a system of co-management boards, tools and processes to regulate land use planning and to assess, monitor and enforce the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the terms and conditions of development projects

Co-management of Northern Resources

The management of Northern resources, through co-management boards, is an important element of the collaborative Northern governance system. Co-management boards involve the participation of federal and territorial governments, Aboriginal representative organizations and land claim beneficiaries in the development and management of land and resources and clarify roles, including in the assessment and monitoring of proposed development projects. The Northern co-management system and land claims and self-government agreements contribute to good governance, the development of natural resources and sound economic growth and environmental management in the region. Co-management boards are established by land claim agreements and implemented through federal legislation.

Devolution of Provincial-like Powers to the Territorial Governments

The existence, powers and forms of territorial governments are outlined in federal legislation – the Yukon Act, the Northwest Territories Act and the Nunavut Act. One of the key historical differences between the territories and Canada's provinces is jurisdiction over responsibilities normally assumed by provincial governments. Over the years, many of these responsibilities (education, health and infrastructure) have been devolved from the Government of Canada to the territorial governments.

Yukon was the first territory to acquire land and resource management responsibilities, implementing a final devolution agreement in 2003. Land and resource management responsibilities were transferred to the Government of Northwest Territories when the Northwest Territories Devolution Agreement came into effect on April 1, 2014.

Nunavut is the only territory without a final devolution agreement on land and resource management. On October 3, 2014, tripartite negotiations on Nunavut devolution began between the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated. Significant progress in negotiations has been made to date; however, some complex and unique matters particular to Nunavut have yet to be addressed.

2. Mandate and Role of the Minister

The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) oversees a complex and challenging portfolio, and provides leadership on the Government of Canada's relationship with Aboriginal peoples and its responsibilities in the North.

What follows is an overview of the constitutional and legal basis underpinning the Minister's mandate, a scan of the statutory authorities for which the Minister of AANDC is responsible, as well as a description of the Aboriginal and Northern components of the Department's mandate and Minister's role.

Constitutional and Legal Context

The Minister's mandate is derived from a number of statutes, primarily section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, which gives the federal government exclusive legislative authority over "Indians, and Lands reserved for Indians"; section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982Footnote 8; and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act.

Legal and constitutional rights and ensuing obligations with respect to Aboriginal peoples are not always clearly defined between federal and provincial governments. However, in most cases, Canada and the provinces have yet to seek clarity from the courts. For example, section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 provides federal jurisdiction to legislate for matters related to Indians and lands reserved to Indians. Section 88 of the Indian ActFootnote 9 provides for provincial laws of general application, in the absence of federal legislation directing otherwise, to apply to Indians on reserve. In practice, this has implications for certain policy areas such as child welfare – where the services on reserve, while supported by Government of Canada funding as a matter of policy, are delivered subject to provincial statutes and standards.

In addition, sections 92 and 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, confer provincial legislatures with authority to make laws in relation to a range of social services and education, respectively. While strictly speaking, legal responsibility for programming on reserve is not thought to directly arise from these sections, there is likely room under both federal and provincial jurisdictions to legislate for on-reserve Indians in matters of education and social services.

Section 4 of the British North America Act, 1871 – Enactment number 5 provides that the Parliament of Canada may from time to time make provision for the administration, peace, order, and good government of any territory not included in a province.

The Government of Canada funds the delivery of many province-like programs and services on reserve as a matter of policy, rather than a legal requirement. Notwithstanding that, First Nations are of the view that there is a federal fiduciary duty and/or treaty relationship, resulting in perceptions that the unique Crown-First Nations relationship would be diminished through delegation of functions to the provinces.

Aboriginal peoples residing off reserve have full access to provincial social and education programming. This context points to the need to work closely with provincial and territorial governments in developing solutions to issues facing Aboriginal populations.

Statutory Authorities of the AANDC Minister

The Indian Act remains the primary vehicle for exercising federal jurisdiction under section 91(24) of the Constitution and guiding how the Minister interacts with First Nations. The Act provides for the administration of Indian status, reserve lands, Indian moneys, Indian estates, and band governance, including elections.

In addition to the Indian Act, the AANDC Minister has authority, in full or in part, under 93 statutes, covering a wide range of subjects and responsibilities (see tab 4 for complete list). More recently, various pieces of opt-in legislation (e.g. First Nations Elections Act) have given First Nations greater control of their affairs, while other legislative pieces have addressed matters of health and safety (e.g. Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act), and accountability (e.g. First Nations Financial Transparency Act) and Northern governance (e.g. Northwest Territories Devolution Act)

Other legislative responsibilities range from implementing comprehensive land claim and self-government agreements where Aboriginal groups have assumed authority for governance. Others include land and resource management (e.g. the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement); the management of Northern regulatory regimes (e.g. Northwest Territories Waters Act); and the authority to make regulations (e.g. power to develop regulations setting royalty rates and liability limits under the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act).

Over time, First Nations have taken on greater responsibility for certain matters and have moved away from certain provisions of the Indian Act towards various alternative pieces of legislation. This includes areas such as education (e.g. First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act), electoral reform (e.g. First Nations Elections Act), and land management (e.g. First Nations Land Management Act). Some legislation has also removed the requirement for ministerial approval in specific circumstances. For example, under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, which provides tools for modern fiscal management, taxation by-laws are now approved by the First Nations Tax Commission, rather than by the Minister. However, while the Minister may have fewer operational requirements in these instances, he continues to retain full accountability to Parliament for all of the statutes for which he is responsible.

The AANDC Mandate

The Department is responsible for two mandates Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development which together support Aboriginal and northern peoples in the pursuit of healthy and sustainable communities, and to participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development.

There are also a number of agencies and commissions that fall under the portfolio, which are described in tab 5 of this briefing book.

Aboriginal Component

Broadly speaking, advancing the Aboriginal component of the mandate is two-fold:

  1. facilitating improvements in socioeconomic conditions for Aboriginal peoples so that they are better able to benefit from, and contribute to, Canada's prosperity; and,
  2. promoting recognition and reconciliation of Aboriginal and treaty rights with Canada's overall governance structure in order to secure the place of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples within the evolving Canadian federation.

Achieving progress requires complementary action on socioeconomic issues and Aboriginal and treaty rights, through effective consultation with Aboriginal peoples, provinces and territories, and other stakeholders. Collaboration with other federal departments, such as Health Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada, who also support the Aboriginal population, is another important aspect to achieve results. Clarifying Aboriginal and treaty rights is closely linked to Canada's broader economic prosperity to the extent that it can provide greater certainty for resource development, facilitate effective partnerships and foster greater Aboriginal participation in the economy.

Promoting reconciliation, redressing past injustices and addressing Aboriginal rights have played a prominent role in the past decades as part of fulfilling the Minister's Aboriginal mandate. In the mid to late 1990s, much of this was carried out through the Government's action plan, Gathering Strength: Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan, in response to the 1996 report, Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples. Launched in 1998, the action plan sought to renew partnerships with Aboriginal peoples, and strengthen Aboriginal governance.

More recently, the Government of Canada's Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, delivered by the Prime Minister on June 11, 2008, was seen as a historical step towards healing and reconciliation. The June 2015 release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Summary Report reinforce the nature of reconciliation and renewal of the relationships between Aboriginal peoples and the rest of Canada as an ongoing effort.

Socioeconomic Agenda

The bulk of the Government of Canada's investments for Aboriginal peoples has been directed to programs for on-reserve First Nations, with AANDC and Health Canada investments accounting for the majority of federal expenditures. Currently, AANDC administers approximately $7 billion annually in grants and contributions, representing approximately 82% of the Department's budget.

Although Inuit are considered to be "Indians" within the meaning of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, Inuit do not have reserves and are not subject to the Indian Act. The Department's mandate related to Inuit largely focuses on the implementation of land claim agreements.

On reserve, the responsibilities of the Minister focus in part on the administration of the Indian Act through management of reserve lands, trust monies and individual affairs, and building governance capacity. On-reserve responsibilities also include funding of province-like services such as education and housing, as well as municipal-like services such as community infrastructure, safe drinking water, income assistance and social support, and economic development. The delivery of most of these on-reserve programs and services has been devolved to First Nations, giving First Nations greater control over their own affairs. With few exceptions, such as the adoption of a federal statute on First Nations safe drinking water in 2013, the majority of on-reserve services funded by the Department are not subject to federally legislated standards

Historically, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development was one of several Ministers whose programs supported Aboriginal peoples off reserve. In 2006 however, with the transfer of the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat from the Privy Council Office to the Department, the Minister assumed an official role as the Federal interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. At that time, the Minister also became responsible for implementing the Government of Canada's Urban Aboriginal Strategy. In 2012, several urban Aboriginal programs, including the Aboriginal Friendship Centre Program, were transferred from Canadian Heritage to AANDC to foster a more aligned approach to increasing urban Aboriginal people's economic participation. As a result, the Minister has increasingly been assuming a larger role vis-à-vis the Métis, Non-Status Indians and urban Aboriginal populations.

The Minister currently leads federal policy work on Métis rights and finding practical ways to improve the quality of life of Métis and Non-Status Indians through services that are provided by colleague Ministers, such as health and skills development programs, and through partnerships with provinces and municipalities.

Aboriginal and Treaty Rights Agenda

The Minister, with the support of the Minister of Justice, plays a primary role within the Government of Canada for promoting and advancing the reconciliation of Aboriginal and treaty rights with Crown sovereignty and broader societal interests. This includes expanding the understanding and application of section 35 rights through land claims and self-government through negotiation, the implementation of historic and modern treaties, and modernization of First Nations' governance regimes

To date, 27 comprehensive land claims settlements have been ratified and brought into effect, including 18 with self-government provisions and covering 40% of Canada's land mass. In addition, there are about 100 comprehensive claims and self-government negotiations and 258 specific claims negotiations currently in progress. These agreements provide for the ownership, use and management of lands and resources that, in the case of First Nations, removing them from specific provisions of the Indian Act. A key role of the Minister is the whole-of-government coordination in supporting the effective implementation of these agreements.

Understanding of Métis section 35 rights continues to evolve, driven in part by the courts. Métis claims for lands, self-government recognition and other rights remain priority areas of focus through ongoing policy discussions, negotiation and through the courts where agreement is not possible. On October 8, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the appeal of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Harry Daniels (CAP/Daniels) case on whether the Métis and Non-Status Indians are Indians within the meaning of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Judicial decisions also continue to influence the federal government's position on Aboriginal rights, and can have significant policy ramifications. In June 2014, the Supreme Court, in the Tsilhqot'in (Roger William) decision, declared Aboriginal title on a parcel of land for the first time and indicated that provincial and federal laws can infringe title only if the infringement can be justified.

Northern Component

Under section 5 of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act, the AANDC Minister is assigned wide-reaching responsibilities in the North including:

  • coordinating the activities in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut of the several departments, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada;
  • undertaking, promoting and recommending policies and programs for the further economic and political development of Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut; and
  • fostering, through scientific investigation and technology, knowledge of the Canadian North and of the means of dealing with conditions related to its further development.

This mandate encompasses a region comprising 40% of Canada's landmass and a sparse and diverse population of approximately 116,700 people. Approximately half of the population (53%) of the three territories identifies as First Nations, Métis or Inuit. Though various departmental initiatives seek to improve the well-being of northern Aboriginal populations, the Minister's northern mandate is not exclusive to addressing Aboriginal-specific concerns and development.

The AANDC Minister leads the coordination of the whole-of-government approach to the North, which prioritizes key policy areas such as exercising Canadian Arctic sovereignty, promoting social and economic development, protecting the North's environmental heritage and improving and devolving northern governance. Many federal departments and agencies have northern responsibilities, and the Minister plays a key role as federal champion for the North in supporting collaboration and coordination in response to northern issues.

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act, under section 6, delineates the Minister's responsibilities over the administration of lands in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Significant milestones have been met in recent years in devolving land and resource management powers to the territorial governments. Yukon was the first territory to acquire land and resource management responsibilities through the implementation of a final devolution agreement in 2003. Land and resource management responsibilities were transferred to the Government of Northwest Territories when the Northwest Territories Devolution Agreement came into effect on April 1, 2014. Negotiations for the transfer of similar powers to the Government of Nunavut began in October 2014 and are currently underway

The resource management regime in the North is based on legislation that is derived from constitutionally protected land claim agreements. The regimes in the North are implemented in large part by co-management boards which are made up of representatives from Aboriginal governments and organizations, the territorial governments, and the federal government. The Minister maintains provincial-like responsibility for management of lands and water in Nunavut which includes the approval of most water licenses and land use permits issued in the territory. The Minister is also responsible for the legislation governing environmental assessments and holds some decision making powers involving environmental assessments and land use planning.

The Minister retains responsibility for the management of offshore resources including oil and gas in all three territories.

The Minister's northern mandate has specific application in Canada's three territories. The Minister also has a role through settled land claims in the Inuit regions of Nunavik (Northern Quebec) and Nunatsiavut (Labrador) which possess strikingly similar characteristics as the territories in terms of their environment, unique cultures, socioeconomic conditions and Aboriginal populations.

The Minister also plays a key role with respect to the coordination of northern science and technology, leading the infrastructure component of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, the negotiation and implementation of northern land claims and self-government agreements, helping to bring healthy food to northern homes through the Nutrition North Canada Program, supporting clean energy and climate change adaptation, reducing and eliminating contaminants in traditionally harvested foods and promoting national and international partnerships in the circumpolar North through participation in the Arctic Council

The Minister is also responsible for a portfolio of federal contaminated sites in the North. Through the Northern Contaminated Sites Program, contaminated sites are managed to ensure the protection of human health and the safety of the environment while bringing socioeconomic benefits to the North. These objectives are met by conducting remediation activities across the three northern territories on a priority basis.

3. Managing Key Relationships

Successfully implementing your responsibilities as Minister depends significantly on fostering effective and pragmatic relationships with a diverse range of partners and stakeholders. This involves balancing frequently diverse views of various groups to secure support and involvement in the development and implementation of new policies and programs. Past experience has shown that, without a strong degree of support and involvement, it is difficult to achieve desired outcomes. However, securing complete consensus is rarely possible, and you will frequently be required to make judgements about how much support is "enough" in order to advance specific initiatives.

A number of Aboriginal representative organizations work on behalf of their memberships; however, achieving internal consensus can prove difficult, with competing political and regional perspectives often leading to difficulties in accurately or predictably measuring the actual level of support or resistance to specific initiatives within a given organization. While national Aboriginal organizations have been looked to as the "voice" of their members, the cohesion and representativeness of any given organization varies from group to group and also over time. Understanding these internal dynamics within and between organizations is a key element in understanding and managing your relationship with these various groups.

Engagement with provincial and territorial governments is essential to making progress, as provinces and territories hold many of the socioeconomic levers that contribute to positive change. This is particularly true in areas such as education, health, housing and social programming, where efforts to close the socioeconomic gap among First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples and non-Aboriginal Canadians are linked to achieving comparability with provincial and territorial standards. At the same time, provinces and territories have over time taken on a greater role due, in part, to growing Aboriginal populations, as well as the recognition that addressing Aboriginal concerns is essential to the overall well-being of their respective jurisdictions.

Managing relations within the Government of Canada is equally important given the shared responsibility for Aboriginal and Northern programming across a number of departments and agencies. Ensuring a coordinated and coherent federal approach presents a number of challenges in areas such as horizontal program coordination and consistent messaging; consequently, you will need to work closely with your Cabinet colleagues to foster support for Aboriginal and Northern initiatives and policies.

Lastly, partnerships with private sector and non-government organizations also contribute to the realization of Aboriginal objectives and priorities. Increasingly, the private sector is looking for ways to do business with Aboriginal companies and communities and involve them in major development projects (e.g. through impact benefit agreements). Universities and colleges are well positioned to contribute to capacity building and policy development, while non-governmental organizations and foundations are increasingly turning their attention to social innovation in Aboriginal communities. Relations with these third party stakeholders are a growing, and increasingly key, element of moving forward on key priorities.

4. Parliamentary environment and legislative/regulatory agendas

Introduction

Management of the parliamentary environment is critical to advancement of many elements of your agenda.

Evolving government policies, court decisions, economic opportunities on reserves and in the North, together with social and political aspirations of Aboriginal people, create a need for renewed or new legislative authorities. They are also issues that receive ongoing attention in Parliament either during Question Period or through study or reports by various parliamentary committees.

Legislative Agenda and Planning Cycle

Relative to other departments, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) consistently produces high volumes of legislation. Since the 35th Parliament (January 1994), 62 bills sponsored by AANDC Ministers have received royal assent. Refer to Annex A for the list of statutes for which you have sole or shared responsibility.

The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has typically written to all Ministers twice a year to seek their legislative plans for the winter/spring or fall period. The government's legislative agenda is approved by Cabinet further to consultations between the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Ministers' Offices. Advancement of all bills will be subject to ministerial priorities, drafting timelines, consultation and parliamentary events, but lobbying efforts by supportive Aboriginal and northern groups, at the same time as political outreach with opposition parties, are factors influencing the introduction and passage of AANDC legislation. It is often helpful to brief caucuses and opposition critics on the merits of each legislative initiative in order to facilitate a smooth process in Parliament.

Parliamentary Responsibilities

When Parliament is in session, in addition to your responsibilities to manage your legislative initiatives through Parliament, there are a number of statutory (and non-statutory) reports that you are required to table in Parliament. Non-compliance in tabling a report in Parliament that stems from a statute, or pursuant to a Standing Order of the House of Commons, could lead to contempt of Parliament. Departmental Performance Reports and Reports on Plans and Priorities government wide are tabled in Parliament by the President of the Treasury Board. Refer to Annex B for a list of reports to be tabled in Parliament.

You are also accountable to Parliament for the content of parliamentary returns directed to the Department. Most of these returns must be tabled within 45 calendar days, or you could be called to appear before a Parliamentary Committee to explain why the deadline was not met. The volume and complexity of these returns has been steadily increasing during the last few Parliaments and this trend can be expected to continue. Each parliamentary supply period also sets aside a number of opposition days. Should an opposition party decide to debate a motion for which your department has the lead, you could be called to debate the motion in the House of Commons. Lastly, you will generally be responsible to respond to questions from Members of Parliament relating to your Department's files during the daily Question Period in the House of Commons.

Parliamentary Committees

Standing committees of the House of Commons cease to exist until the House reconstitutes them following a general election. Based on the current Standing Orders of the House of Commons, and the current Rules of the SenateFootnote 10, there are two parliamentary committees with which you and departmental officials will have the most contact. Some of the work of these committees has yielded contributions to the policy debate on key issues and may assist in setting the stage for future legislative or policy solutions.

Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development:

Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples:

In the context of the supply cycle, estimates are tabled at various points during the fiscal year. You will be invited to appear before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development several times during the fiscal year on referral of the estimates for committee study to defend your Department's planned appropriations as well priorities (via the report on Plans and Priorities and the Departmental Performance Report). Refer to p. 2 of Annex B for the Parliamentary Reporting and Supply Cycle. Officials are also typically invited to appear on the estimates by the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. As well, the Leader of the Opposition can identify two departments to appear before Committee of the Whole on their main estimates annually. The Minister of AANDC appeared in this context in 2013 and 2015.

Your officials may also be invited to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on any chapters included in twice-annual reports of the Auditor General involving AANDC programming. Auditor General chapters also typically involve six month follow-up reporting via Action Plans to the committee. AANDC most recently appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in 2011 on Programs for First Nations on reserves as well as in 2015 on Nutrition North Canada.

To a lesser extent, you and/or departmental officials may also be invited to appear before other parliamentary committees in the context of specific studies that they may be undertaking.

Regulatory Responsibilities

As Minister, your authority to make regulations must be clearly delegated by an Act of Parliament (i.e., the enabling act to which the regulations apply). An enabling Act will set out the framework of a regulatory scheme and delegate the authority to develop the details and express them in regulations to the Governor General in Council, Ministers or federal agencies – not Parliament.

Proposed regulations and orders are considered by the Treasury Board Cabinet Committee (Part B of the meeting agenda). On December 12, 2003, Treasury Board's role was expanded to include approving regulations and most orders requiring Governor in Council approval. The Treasury Board Cabinet Committee considers a regulatory proposal on its own merits. The Department may be asked to provide for a knowledgeable official to be present at the meeting.

There are currently 109 regulations in force, the majority for which you have sole responsibilities and stem from legislation assented to in the 40th and 41st Parliaments. Refer to Annex C for a list of regulations currently in force.

Red Tape Reduction Action Plan

An important component of your regulatory responsibilities is overseeing the implementation of six fundamental systemic reforms and two departmental-specific recommendations flowing from the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan. The systemic reforms include: a One-for-One Rule (1) and a Small Business Lens (2) to reduce burden on business; Interpretation Policies (3) to make it easier to do business with regulators; and, (4) Service Standards, (5) Forward Planning and (6) Annual Reporting to improve service and predictability.

The departmental-specific recommendations consist of: 1) simplifying reserve land and economic development programs and processes, developing service standards and re-examining policies and procedures which support the implementation of the reserve lands portion of the Indian Act; and, 2) reviewing the Department's regulatory processes, identifying service elements and implementing new service standards to improve transparency and predictability for recipients.

These reforms have been implemented between years 2012-15 and are ongoing.

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations

Established under the Rules of the Senate and the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations scrutinizes regulations and other statutory instruments based on a number of criteria approved by the Senate and the House of Commons at the beginning of each session of Parliament. These criteria deal with matters of legality and procedural aspects, as opposed to the merits of particular regulations or the policy they reflec.

Counsel to the committee examines statutory instruments, reports errors, omissions and inconsistencies and may seek advice or clarification from the Department before their consideration by the committee. The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of the Policy and Strategic Direction sector has been the departmental contact for counsel to the committee. The Department's practice has been to respond to matters that are routine and technical but to seek the Minister's decision on responses of a more substantive nature.

Annex A

The Minister has the sole responsibility to Parliament for the following Acts:
British Columbia Indian Cut-off Lands Settlement Act S.C., 1984, c. 2
British Columbia Treaty Commission Act S.C., 1995, c. 45
Canada-Yukon Oil and Gas Accord Implementation Act S.C., 1998, c. 5
Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act S.C., 2014, c. 39, s. 145
Caughnawaga Indian Reserve Act S.C., 1934, c. 29
Claim Settlements (Alberta and Saskatchewan) Implementation Act S.C., 2002, c. 3
Condominium Ordinance Validation Act S.C., 1985, c. 46
Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act S.C., 1984, c. 18
Déline Final Self-Government Agreement Act S.C., 2015, c. 24
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act R.S., 1985 c. I-6
Dominion Water Power ActFootnote 11 R.S., 1985, c. W-4
Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement Act S.C., 2011, c. 20
Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act S.C., 2013, c. 20
First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act S.C., 2005, c. 53
First Nations Elections Act S.C., 2014, c. 5
First Nations Financial Transparency Act S.C., 2013, c. 7
First Nations Fiscal Management ActFootnote 12 S.C., 2005, c. 9
First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act S.C., 2006, c. 10
First Nations Land Management Act S.C., 1999, c. 24
First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act S.C., 2005, c. 48
Fort Nelson Indian Reserve Minerals Revenue Sharing Act S.C., 1983-84, c. 38
Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act S.C., 2010, c. 18
Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act S.C., 1986, c. 23
Gwich'in Land Claim Settlement Act S.C., 1992, c. 53
Indian Act R.S., 1985, c. I-5
Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act S.C., 2014, c. 38
Indian Lands Agreement (1986) Act S.C., 1988, c. 39
Indian Lands, Settlement of Differences (British Columbia) S.C., 1920, c. 51
Indian Lands, Settlement of Differences (Ontario) S.C., 1924, c. 48
Indian Oil and Gas Act R.S.C., 1985, c. I-7
Indian (Soldier Settlement) R.S.C., 1927, c. 98
James Bay and Northern Quebec Native Claims Settlement Act S.C., 1976-77, c. 32
Kanesatake Interim Land Base Governance Act S.C., 2001, c. 8
Kelowna Accord Implementation ActFootnote 13 S.C., 2008, c. 23
Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act S.C., 2005, c. 27
Land Titles Repeal Act S.C., 1993, c. 41
Maanulth First Nations Final Agreement Act S.C., 2009, c. 18
Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act S.C., 1998, c. 25
Manitoba Claim Settlements Implementation Act S.C., 2000, c. 33
Mi'kmaq Education Act S.C., 1998, c. 24
Nelson House First Nation Flooded Land Act S.C., 1997, c. 29
New Brunswick Indian Reserves Agreement Act S.C., 1959, c. 47
Nisga'a Final Agreement Act S.C., 2000, c. 7
Northern Canada Power Commission (Share Issuance and Sale Authorization) S.C., 1988, c.12
Northern Canada Power Commission Yukon Assets Disposal Authorization Act S.C., 1987, c. 9
Northwest Territories Act S.C., 2014, c. 2
Northwest Territories Devolution Act S.C., 2014, c. 2
Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act S.C., 2013, c.14
Northwest Territories Waters Act R.S., 1992, c. 39
Nova Scotia Indian Reserves Agreement Act S.C., 1959, c. 50
Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act S.C., 2008, c. 2
Nunavut Act S.C., 1993, c. 28
Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act S.C., 1993, c. 29
Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act S.C., 2002, c. 10
Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act S.C., 2013, c.14
Pictou Landing Indian Band Agreement Act S.C., 1995, c. 4
Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Act S.C., 2014, c. 18
Safe Drinking Water for First Nations ActFootnote 14 S.C., 2013, c. 21
Sahtu Dene and Metis Land Claim Settlement Act S.C., 1994, c. 27
Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Act S.C., 1993, c. 11
Sechelt Indian Band Self-Government Act S.C., 1986, c. 27
Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Governance Act S.C., 2014, c.1
Songhees Indian Reserve Act S.C., 1911, c. 24
Specific Claims Tribunal Act S.C., 2008, c. 22
Split Lake Cree First Nation Flooded Land Act S.C., 1994, c. 42
St. Peter's Indian Reserve Act S.C., 1916, c. 24
St. Regis Islands Act S.C., 1926-27, c. 37
Territorial Lands Act R.S., 1985, T-7
Tla'amin Final Agreement Act S.C., 2014, c. 11
Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act S.C., 2005, c. 1
Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement Act S.C., 2008, c. 32
Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act S.C., 2004, c. 17
Western Arctic (Inuvialuit) Claims Settlement Act S.C., 1984, c. 24
Yale First Nation Final Agreement Act S.C., 2013, c. 25
York Factory First Nation Flooded Land Act S.C., 1997, c. 28
Yukon Act S.C., 2002, c. 7
Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act S.C., 2003, c. 7
Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act S.C., 1994, c. 34
Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act S.C., 1994, c. 35
Yukon Surface Rights Board Act S.C., 1994, c. 43
The Minister shares responsibility to Parliament with another federal minister
for the following Acts:
Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention ActFootnote 15 R.S., 1985, c. A-12
Canada Lands Surveys ActFootnote 16 R.S., 1985, c. L-6
Canada Oil and Gas Operations ActFootnote 17 R.S., 1985, c. O-7
Canada Petroleum Resources ActFootnote 18 R.S.C., 1985, c. 36 (2nd Supp.)
The Minister shares responsibility for the following Acts with a provincial government:
Alberta Natural Resources Act (Alberta) S.C., 1930, c. 3
British Columbia Indian Reserves Mineral Resources Act (British Columbia) S.C., 1943-44, c. 19
Manitoba Natural Resources Act (Manitoba) R.S., 1930, c. 29
Manitoba Supplementary Provisions Act (Manitoba) R.S., 1927, c. 124
Natural Resources Transfer (School Lands) Amendment Act (Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan) S.C., 1960-61, c. 62
Railway Belt Act (British Columbia) R.S., 1927, c. 116
The Railway Belt and Peace River Block Act (British Columbia) S.C., 1930, c. 37
Railway Belt Water Act (British Columbia) R.S., 1927, c. 211
Saskatchewan Natural Resources Act (Saskatchewan)Footnote 19 S.C., 1930, c. 41
Saskatchewan Natural Resources Act, No. 2 (Saskatchewan)Footnote 20 S.C., 1930 c. 51

Annex B

Annual Reports

Tabled within the first 30 days

  • Canadian Polar Commission Act
  • Indian Act amendment and Replacement ActFootnote 21
  • Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act

Tabled within the first 60 days

  • First Nations Land Management Act
  • British Columbia Treaty Commission Act
  • Specific Claims Tribunal Act

Tabled beyond 90 days

  • Canada Petroleum Resources Act
  • Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act
  • Indian Oil and Gas ActFootnote 22

Tabling of non-statutory annual reports

  • 13 organizations

Reviews

Tabled beyond 90 days

  • Specific Claims Tribunal Act – 5-year reviewFootnote 23
  • Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement ActFootnote 24
  • Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement ActFootnote 25

Access to Information and Privacy

Tabled beyond 90 days

  • Access to Information Act*
  • Privacy Act*
  • *16 organizations

Parliamentary Reporting and the Supply Cycle

Beginning of Fiscal Year April 1
April 1 to June 23
  • Tabling of spring OAG report
  • Tabling of Supplementary Estimates A (SEA)
  • Approval of Main Estimates and SEA Appropriation bills *
September to December
  • Tabling of Public Accounts
  • Tabling of Supplementary Estimates B (SEB)
  • Tabling of Departmental Performance Reports
  • Economic and Fiscal Update
  • Approval of SEB Appropriation bill
  • Tabling of fall OAG report
January to March 26
  • Tabling of Supplementary Estimates C (SEC)
  • Budget presentation
  • Tabling of Main Estimates
  • Tabling of Departmental Reports on Plans and Priorities
  • Approval of Interim Supply for Main Estimates and SEC Appropriation bills
Other key documents:
  • Quarterly Financial Reports
  • Monthly Fiscal Monitor
  • Annual Debt Management Strategy** and Debt Management Report**
  • Annual Tax Expenditure Report
  • Auditor General Reports**
Notes

* Minister could be called before Committee of the Whole (COW) to report on Main Estimates. 2 departments chosen by official opposition for COW are informed via the notice paper on May 1st at the latest.

** Reports tabled in Parliament

  • Estimates – Minister and/or officials could be called before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.
  • Departmental Reports – Minister and/or officials may be asked questions during appearance on Estimates before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
  • Auditor General Reports – Minister and/or officials could be called before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Annex C

Regulations Currently in Force

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) develops and enforces regulations under authority delegated by enabling legislation. There are currently109 regulations in force.

Of interest: New or amended regulations brought forward over the past decade.

Governor-In-Council Regulations
Minister’s Legislative Sole Responsibilities

Appropriation Acts

  • Northern Mineral Exploration Assistance Regulations
  • Prospector's Assistance Terms and Conditions Order

Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act

  • Cree-Naskapi Band Elections Regulations
  • Cree-Naskapi Land Registry Regulations
  • Cree-Naskapi Long-Term Borrowing Regulations, 1986
  • Form of Deeds Relating to Certain Successions of Cree and Naskapi Beneficiaries Regulations
  • Form of Instrument of Cession Regulations
  • Inuk of Fort George Observer Regulations

Dominion Water Power Act

  • Dominion Water Power Regulations
  • Astoria River Water Power Regulations
  • Kananaskis Falls and Horseshoe Falls Water Power Regulations

Of Interest: Regulating the development of water power on federal public lands in Canada. Statute in force since 1919.

Parks Canada: Authority on Parks Lands

AANDC: Authority on all other federal lands.

Family Homes on Reserves and matrimonial Interests or Rights  Act

  • Emergency Protection Orders Regulations

Of Interest: Establishing rules and procedures relating to application for an emergency protection order in case of family violence.

Enacted in cooperation with partners including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Public Safety Canada.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act

  • Fort McKay First Nation Oil Sands Regulations
  • Fort William First Nation Sawmill Regulations
  • Haisla Nation Liquefied Natural Gas Facility Regulations

Of Interest: Optional legislation. Regulating complex commercial and industrial development projects on reserves.

First Nations Fiscal Management Act

  • Credit Enhancement Fund Use Regulations
  • Debt Reserve Fund Replenishment Regulations
  • Financing Secured by Other Revenues Regulations
  • First Nations Assessment Appeal Regulations
  • First Nations Assessment Inspection Regulations
  • First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (Schedule to the Act)
  • First Nations Local Revenue Law Review Regulations
  • First Nations Property Assessment and Taxation (Railway Rights-of-Way) Regulations
  • First Nations Rates and Expenditure Laws Timing Regs
  • First Nations Tax Commission Review Procedures Regs
  • First Nations Tax Commissioner Appointment Regulations
  • First Nations Taxation Enforcement Regulations
  • Local Revenue Management Implementation Regulations
  • Short-term Pooled Investment Fund Regulations
  • Statistical Data Disclosure Regulations

Of Interest: Opt-in legislation enhancing property taxation, creating a bond financial regime and supporting capacity in financial management.

As of July 2015, there are 158 participating First Nations.

First Nations Elections Act

  • First Nations Elections Regulations

Of Interest: Opt-in legislation  providing regulations to carry out rules and procedures surrounding an electoral process similar to those found in federal and provincial election laws.

First Nations Land Management Act

  • First Nations Land Registry Regulations
  • First Nations Land Management Act (Schedule to the Act)

Of Interest: Opt-in legislation. The First nations Land Management Regime is replacing 34 land management sections of the Indian Act that deal with land, resources and environment.

As of July 2015, 51 of the 116 First Nations who have signed the Framework Agreement are operating under their land code.

First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act

  • First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Voting Regulations
  • First Nations Oil And Gas Environmental Assessment Regulations

Of Interest: Opt-in legislation. Enabling First Nations to manage and regulate on-reserve oil and gas activities and assume control of their capital and revenue trust moneys.

Indian Act

  • Calculation of Interest Regulations
  • Dakota Tipi Band Council Elections Order
  • Dakota Tipi Band Council Method of Election Regulations
  • Disposal of Forfeited Goods and Chattels Regulations
  • Eskasoni Band Council Elections Order
  • Eskasoni Band Council Method of Election Regulations
  • Indian Band Council Borrowing Regulations
  • Indian Band Council Procedure Regulations
  • Indian Band Election Regulations
  • Indian Band Revenue Moneys Order
  • Indian Bands Revenue Moneys Regulations
  • Indian Bands Council Method of Election Regulations
  • Indian Estates Regulations
  • Indian Mining Regulations
  • Indian Referendum Regulations
  • Indian Reserve Traffic Regulations
  • Indian Reserve Waste Disposal Regulations
  • Indian Timber Harvesting Regulations
  • Indian Timber Regulations
  • Miawpukek Band Order
  • Mushuau Innu First Nation Band Order
  • Order Exempting Bands from the Operation of Section 32 of the Indian Act
  • Property Assessment and Taxation (Railway Right-of-Way) Regulations
  • Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band Order
  • Sandy Bay Band Council Elections Order
  • Sandy Bay Band Council Method of Election Regulations
  • Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation Band Order

Indian Lands Agreement (1986) Act

  • Specific Agreement Confirmation Regulations

Indian Oil and Gas Act

  • Indian Oil and Gas Regulations, 1995

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act

  • Exemption List Regulations (environmental assessment)
  • Mackenzie Valley Land Use Regulations (Operational details for the use of land, e.g. permits)
  • Northwest Territories Waters Regulations
  • Period for Entering into an Agreement for the Purpose of Jointly Establishing a Review Panel Regulations
  • Preliminary Screening Requirement Regulations (Environmental impacts)

Of Interest: Regulating the use of land and water and deposit of waste in the Northwest Territories. Carrying out environmental assessment of proposed projects in the Mackenzie Valley.

Mi'kmaq Education Act

  • Mi'kmaq Education Act (Schedule to the Act)

Of Interest: Advancing the exercise of jurisdiction over education by Mi'kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia under the Agreement With Respect to Mi'kmaq Education in Nova Scotia (Canada's First Sectoral Self-Government Arrangement in Education).

As of July 2015, there are two participating communities, e.g.: Paq'tnkek Band and Glooscap First Nation.

Nunavut Act

  • Maximum Amount for Agreements with Governments Order
  • Nunavut Archaeological and Palaeontological Sites Regulations
  • Order Prescribing the Maximum Total Amount for Agreements Involving Leases of Residential Property
  • Order Respecting the First Legislative Assembly of Nunavut

Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act /Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act.

  • Nunavut Waters Regulations

Of Interest: Regulating the use of water and deposit of waste in Nunavut.

Territorial Lands Act

  • Canada Oil and Gas Land Regulatons
  • Northwest Territories Mining District and Nunavut Mining District Order
  • Northwest Territories Mining Regulatons
  • Nunavut Mining Regulations
  • Order authorizing certain employees of the Government of Canada to acquire interests in territorial lands in the Northwest Territories (Order No. 1, 1998)
  • Order Authorizing Federal Employees to Acquire Interests in Certain Lands in the Northwest Territories (Order No. 05, 2001)
  • Order Authorizing Federal Employees to Acquire Interests in Certain Lands in the Northwest Territories (Order No. 1, 1999)
  • Order Authorizing Federal Employees to Acquire Interests in Certain Lands in the Northwest Territories (Order No. 1, 2001)
  • Order Authorizing Federal Employees to Acquire Interests in Certain Lands in the Northwest Territories (Order No. 2, 1998)
  • Order Authorizing Federal Employees to Acquire Interests in Certain Lands in the Northwest Territories (Order No. 3, 1999)
  • Territorial Coal Regulations
  • Territorial Lands Regulations
  • Territorial Dredging Regulations
  • Territorial Land Use Regulations
  • Territorial Quarrying Regulations

Of Interest: In Nunavut and NWT – Regulating exploration, discovery, development and mining of mineral resources and coal resources; disposition of Crown land; authorization of exclusive rights to dredge for minerals in the submerge bed of any river; land use (access) and extraction of quarry material.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act

  • Westbank First Nation Land Registry Regulations

Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act

  • Assessable Activities, Exceptions and Executive Committee Projects Regulations
  • Decision Body Time Periods and Consultation Regulations

Of Interest: Regulating activities that are and are not subject to an environmental assessment under the Act, a single  process for considering the potential effects a proposed development may have on the Yukon's environment.

Yukon Surface Rights Board Act

  • Yukon Surface Rights Board Act (Schedule 1 of the Act)

Governor-In-Council Regulations
Minister’s Legislative Shared Responsibilities

Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act

  • Arctic Waters Experimental Pollution Regulations, 1978
  • Arctic Waters Experimental Pollution Regulations, 1979
  • Arctic Waters Experimental Pollution Regulations, 1982 (Dome Petroleum)
  • Arctic Waters Experimental Pollution Regulations, 1982
  • Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Regulations

Of Interest: Regulating to prevent pollution of areas of the arctic waters adjacent to the mainland and islands of the Canadian arctic. Shared responsibilities with Natural Resources Canada and Transport Canada.

Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act

  • Canada Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Regulations

Canada Petroleum Resources Act

  • Environmental Studies Research Fund Regions Regulations
  • Frontier Lands Petroleum Royalty Regulations
  • Frontier Lands Registration Regulations
  • Lancaster Sound Designated Area Regulations
  • Order Prohibiting the Issuance of Interests at Lapierre House Historic Site in the Yukon Territory
  • Order Prohibiting the Issuance of Interests at Rampart House in the Yukon Territory

Of Interest: Regulating for the purposes of safety and the protection of the environment as well as for the production and conservation of oil and gas resources. Shared responsibilities with Natural Resources Canada.

Statutes through which AANDC fulfills its northern petroleum resources mandate, and NRCan fulfills its frontier oil and gas mandate in the south – jointly with Atlantic provinces in the east coast offshore.

Regulations Made By the Minister
Minister’s Legislative Sole Responsibilities

First Nations Elections Act

  • Order Amending the Schedule to the First Nations Elections Act

Of interest: As of July 2015, three First Nations have adhered to the new legislation and associated regulations: 1) Madawaska (NB); 2) Micmacs of Gesgapegiag (QC); and, 3) English River (SK).

First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act

  • Order Amending Schedule 2 to the First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act

Of interest: As of July 2015, one First Nation has entered the moneys management component of the Act – Kawacatoose First Nation (SK).

Indian Act

  • Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order

Of Interest: Revoking the application of section 74 (election provisions) of the Indian Act and a conversion to a local community electoral system.

Since 1997, over 70 First Nations have converted to holding elections under their own community election system.

5. Departmental portfolio

The portfolio of the AANDC Minister includes a total of 56 boards, agencies, commissions, and individual positions, reflective of the broad sweep of ministerial responsibility in northern and southern Canada.

Three are listed in the Financial Administration Act and are listed in the Public Accounts and require tabling of annual reports in Parliament:

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station (Polar Knowledge Canada) was established in 2015 under the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act to conduct world-class cutting edge Arctic research and to strengthen Canadian leadership in polar science and technology. This new federal organization incorporates the work of the former Canadian Polar Commission. Its nine members are appointed by the Governor General in Council on the recommendation of the AANDC Minister. Richard Boudreault is the Chairperso.

The Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008 under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. It contributes to the truth, healing and reconciliation process as part of a comprehensive response to the Indian residential schools legacy. In June 2015, the mandate of the Commission was extended six months to allow the Commission to conclude its final report, which is expected on December 17, 2015. Justice Murray Sinclair is the Chairperson, the Commissioners are Wilton Littlechild and Mary Wilson.

The Indian Oil and Gas Canada Co-Management Board was established in 1996 to co-manage the Indian Oil and Gas Canada (IOGC) operations. The IOGC was originally set up in 1987 to manage oil and gas resources on reserve lands. The Board is co-chaired by an AANDC Assistant Deputy Minister, Sheilagh Murphy (Lands and Economic Development) and Dean Manywounds of the Alberta Tsuu T'ina Nation. Sheilagh Murphy and Strater Crowfoot, CEO and Executive Director of the IOGC, are federal employees on the Board. One other member is appointed by the AANDC Minister. The remaining six members are appointed by the Indian Resource Council.

Quasi-Judicial

The AANDC Minister is named in the Specific Claims Tribunal Act as the responsible Minister for the Specific Claims Tribunal, which was established in 2008 to help ensure fairness in the way specific claims are handled. In this capacity, the AANDC Minister tables the annual report of the Tribunal in Parliament. The AANDC Minister also jointly recommends, with the Minister of Justice, Order in Council appointments of Superior Court judges to the Tribunal. The Honourable Harry A. Slade, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, has been Chairperson since 2009. See separate note under Early Issues on the five-year review of the Specific Claims Tribunal.

Northern Organizations

There are 38 northern organizations (boards, panels) many of which were created out of land claims agreements or legislation. Most are co-management boards that require the signatories to the land claims agreements to jointly nominate and appoint members. Some are appointed by federal Order in Council, some can be appointed directly by the AANDC Minister, and others are appointed by the other signatories.  

Each territory has several organisations pertaining to environmental impact and renewable resources, land use and water, and dispute resolution and arbitration. There are also two boards responsible for caribou management (Porcupine Caribou Management Board in Yukon and Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board in Nunavut). Boards in Nunavik, Quebec, and Labrador are also counted among the northern boards. Filling positions for the northern boards, in particular, requires consultation and agreement of multiple parties, which can take months before an appointment is ready to be considered by Cabinet (Order in Council appointments) or the AANDC Minister (ministerial appointments).

The Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board was set up in 2010 to help guide the direction and activities of the program. It was established to engage Northerners in providing informed advice on what's working with regard to the Nutrition North Canada program and what improvements could be made. 

Southern Organisations

There are a total of eight boards in the south including the aforementioned Indian Oil and Gas Co-management Board. Many are national in scope such as the First Nations Financial Management Board, the First Nations Tax Commission, and the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board.

The First Nations Financial Management Board was established in 2006 under the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act. The Board is intended to assist First Nations in strengthening their local financial management regimes. It also provides certification to support borrowing. Three of its members are appointed by the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association, the remaining members by federal Order in Council on the recommendation of the AANDC Minister. Harold Calla has been Chairperson since December 2010.

The First Nations Tax Commission was also created in 2006 under the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act. The Commission regulates and streamlines the approval of property tax and new local revenue laws of 158 participating First Nations. It also builds administrative capacity through sample laws and accredited training, and reconciles First Nation government and taxpayer interests. One member is appointed by the Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, the rest by federal Order in Council. Manny Jules has served as Chief Commissioner since 2006.

The National Aboriginal Economic Development Board is another advisory board, established in 1993. The Board brings together 13 First Nations, Inuit and Métis business and community leaders from all regions of Canada to advise the federal government on ways to help increase Aboriginal economic participation in the Canadian economy. The current Chairperson is Clarence Louie, Chief of the successful Osoyoos First Nation in British Columbia.  

There is one regional board of note located in British Columbia. The British Columbia Treaty Commission is responsible for facilitating and monitoring treaty negotiations among First Nations in the province as per section 5 of the British Columbia Treaty Commission Act. One of its key activities is the allocation of negotiation support funding provided by the federal and BC governments to the more than 40 First Nations participating in the British Columbia treaty process. Two Commissioners are appointed by the First Nations Summit, one Commissioner is appointed by the federal government (AANDC), and one Commissioner is appointed by the Government of British Columbia. The Chief Commissioner is appointed jointly by all three parties. The current acting Chief Commissioner is Celeste Haldane.

Individuals

In addition to individual appointments of Administrators and Deputy Commissioners in the North, the AANDC Minister also recommends for Order in Council appointment the Treaty Commissioners in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Commissioners are mandated to facilitate discussions between Canada and Treaty First Nations on treaty-related issues, develop partnerships in a treaty context, and undertake public awareness initiatives that promote the importance and relevance of treaties. George Lafond is Saskatchewan Treaty Commissioner. James Wilson is Manitoba Treaty Commissioner

In total, the above responsibilities comprise 389 positions, of which 96 are Order in Council appointments, 175 are ministerial appointments, and 118 are appointed by external parties.

See Annex for a complete listing.

Northwest Territories Treaty Management and Resource Management Boards

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Gwich'in Arbitration Panel Gwich'in Land Claim Settlement Act (6.2) Ministerial 8 4 2 4 by Gwich'in Tribal Council; 2 by Government of Northwest Territories
Gwich'in Land and Water Board Gwich'in Land Claim Settlement Act and Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (54.2 & 54.3) Ministerial 5 3 All 0
Gwich'in Land Use Planning Board Gwich'in Land Claim Settlement Act and Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (36.2 & 36.3) Ministerial 5 3 All 0
Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board Gwich'in Land Claim Settlement Act (12.8) Order In Council 13 (6 members, 6 alternate members and 1 chair) 4 All All jointly appointed by Government of the Northwest Territories and the Governor General (on the recommendation of the Minister of INAC)
Inuvialuit Arbitration Board Inuvialuit Final Agreement (18.3; 18.5; 18.6) Order In Council 11 not required 5 3 by Inuvialuit and 3 by Industry
Inuvialuit Environmental Impact Review Board Inuvialuit Final Agreement (11.22) Ministerial 7 Not required in IFA; the Board itself stipulates a quorum of 4 4 3 by Inuvialuit
Inuvialuit Environmental Impact Screening Committee Inuvialuit Final Agreement (11.5 & 11.6) Ministerial 7 Not required in IFA; Board by-laws and procedures stipulate a quorum of 4 4 3 by Inuvialuit
Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (112.1 & 112.4) Ministerial No less than 7 - currently at 9 5 All 0
Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (99.2; 99.2.1; 99.4; 104) Ministerial 20 (5 appointees, and 5 members from each of the Gwich'in, Sahtu, and Wek'eezhii Land and Water Boards) 3 18 2 appointed by Tlicho Government to the Wek'eezhii Land and Water Board. (Members of regional Land and Water Boards automatically become members of this board)
Sahtu Arbitration Panel Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (6.2.2 & 6.2.5) Ministerial 8 4 0 8 jointly by all Parties: INAC, Government of Northwest Territories, Sahtu
Sahtu Land and Water Board Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (56.2 & 56.3) Ministerial 5 3 All 0
Sahtu Land Use Planning Board Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (38.2 & 8.3) Ministerial 5 3 All 0
Sahtu Renewable Resources Board Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land claim Agreement (13.8.3) Order In Council 13 (6 members, 6 alternate members and 1 chair) majority of members 0 All jointly appointed by Government of the Northwest Territories and the Governor General on the recommendation of the Minister of INAC
Tlicho Dispute and Deputy Dispute Resolution Administrators Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement (6.2.1) Ministerial 2 1 0 2 jointly by all Parties: INAC, Government of Northwest Territories, Tlicho
Wek'eezhii Land and Water Board Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement and Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act Ministerial 5
(MVRMA 57.2)
3
(MVRMA 57.4)
3 Chair appointed by Minister and Tlicho Government
Wek'eezhii Renewable Resources Board Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement Ministerial 9 (maximum) 3 2 2 to 4 by Tlicho Government; 2 by Government of Northwest Territories; Chair jointly appointed by INAC/ GNWT/Tlicho
 

Nunavut Treaty Management

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Nunavut Impact Review Board Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (12.2) Ministerial 11 (9 members + 2 alternate members nominated by Makivik) 5 7 + 2 alternates 2 appointed by Government of Nunavut
Nunavut Implementation Panel Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (37.3) Ministerial 4 No Quorum Requirement 1 2 by NTI; 1 by Government of Nunavut
Nunavut Planning Commission Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (11.4) Ministerial 11 (5 to 9 members + 2 alternate members nominated by Makivik) No Quorum Requirement All 0
Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (21.8); NWNSRTA (4.99) Ministerial 3 to 11 (currently at 5) No Quorum Requirement All 0
Nunavut Water Board Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (13.2); NWNSRTA (4.14) Ministerial 11 (9 members + 2 alternate members nominated by Makivik) No Quorum Requirement All 0
Nunavut Wildlife Management Board Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (5.2) Order In Council 11 (9 members + 2 alternate members from Makivik) 5 members physically present 4 (1 Chair and 3 members) 1 member each appointed by Nunavut; NTI; Kitikmeot I.A.; Kivalliq I.A.; and Qikiqtani I.A., plus 2 alternates appointed by Makivik
 

Yukon Treaty Management

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Yukon Dispute Resolution Board Umbrella Final Agreement (Chapter 26) and Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act Ministerial 3 2 0 3 jointly by all Parties: INAC, Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon Government
Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board Umbrella Final Agreement (Chapter 2, 2.23.2.2 and Chapter 12) and Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act Ministerial 7 A majority of the members holding office or 4 members, whichever is greater. All 0
Yukon Surface Rights Board Umbrella Final Agreement (Chapter 8), Yukon Surface Rights Board Act, Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act Ministerial 3 to 11 (currently at 5) At least half of the appointed Board members All 0
Yukon Training Policy Committee Umbrella Final Agreement (Chapter 28), Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act Ministerial 5 3 1 3 by Council of Yukon First Nations; 1 by Government of Yukon
 

Quebec Treaty Management

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Cree-Naskapi Commission Cree-Naskapi Act, Part XII, 158.(1,2) Order In Council 3 3 All 0
Eeyou Marine Region Impact Review Board Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement (18.2.6 & 18.2.21) Ministerial 5 3 4 Chair appointed by Minister in consultation with Government of Nunavut & Grand Council of Crees Designated Organization. 1 member appointed by Government of Nunavut
Eeyou Marine Region Planning Commission Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement (8.4.5) Ministerial 5 (minimum) Not required by NILCA All Chair appointed by Minister in consultation with Government of Nunavut & Grand Council of Crees Designated Organization
Nunavik Marine Region Impact Review Board Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (7.2.6 & 7.2.21) Ministerial 5 3 4 Chair appointed by Minister in consultation with Government of Nunavut; 1 member appointed by Government of Nunavut
Nunavik Marine Region Planning Commission Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (6.4.5) Ministerial 5 Not required by NILCA; Board by-laws and operating procedures stipulates quorum of 3 All 0
 

Atlantic Treaty Management

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Nunatsiavut Dispute Resolution Board Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Ministerial 5 No quorum requirements 0 All jointly by INAC/Newfoundland/Labrador and Nunatsiavut; Chair picked amongst members and appointed by Board
 

Other INAC Program Boards

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Barren Grounds Caribou Management Agreement Ministerial 13 to 15 8 1 member + 1 alternate 8-10 (community representation) 4 (government representation)
Canadian High Arctic Research Station Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act Order In Council 9 members, including Chair and Vice-Chair 5 members All 0
Environmental Studies Research Funds Management Board Canada Petroleum Resources Act (78.1) Ministerial 12 8 1 public member for the North 10 appointed jointly by INAC Minister and NRCan Minister;
1 public member for the South appointed by NRCan Minister
First Nations Financial Management Board First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act Order In Council 9 to 13 Simple majority as defined by ss. 22(2)(a)(ii) of the Interpretation Act 10 3 solely by Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada
First Nations Market Housing Fund Indenture of Trust Ministerial 9 6 3 6 appointed by Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation
First Nations Tax Commission First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act Order In Council 10 Simple majority as defined by ss. 22(2)(a)(i) of the Interpretation Act 9 1 solely appointed by University of Saskatchewan
Indian Oil and Gas Canada Co-Management Board of Directors Indian Oil and Gas Act; MOU signed by former Minister Irwin and the Indian Resource Council (IRC) on June 3, 1996 Ministerial 9 5 1 6 appointed by the Indian Resource Council; 2 permanent federal members.
Mackenzie River Basin Board Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement Ministerial 19 (13 members + 6 alternates) 7 members or alternates 1 4 appointed by the Yukon Government; 3 each appointed by the governments of Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories ; 2 appointed each by Health Canada and the Saskatchewan Government; 1 appointed by Environment Canada
National Aboriginal Economic Development Board Order in Council 1990-374 Order In Council 13 5 All 0
Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board Memorandum to Cabinet and Treasury Board Submission authorizing Nutrition North Canada program Ministerial 5 to 7 Board's Terms of Reference do not address "quorum" All 0
Porcupine Caribou Management Board Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement Ministerial 17 (1 Chair, 8 members + 8 alternates) 5 1 (Chair) 1 member + 1 alternate both jointly appointed by INAC and Environment Canada. Remaining 15 appointed by various parties.
 

Treaty Commissioners

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Saskatchewan Treaty Commissioner Memorandum of Agreement and Treasury Board Submission Order In Council 1 N/A 1 1 by Governor General in Council
Manitoba Treaty Commissioner Memorandum of Agreement and Treasury Board Submission Order In Council 1 N/A 1 1 by Governor General in Council
British Columbia Treaty Commission British Columbia Treaty Commission Act Order In Council 5 2 1 1 jointly appointed by INAC, the government of British Columbia, the First Nations Summit Resolution; 2 appointed by the First Nations Summit Resolution; 1 appointed by the government of British Columbia
Yukon Commissioner and Administrator Yukon Act Order In Council 2 N/A 2 2 by Governor General in Council
Northwest Territories Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Northwest Territories Act Order In Council 2 N/A 2 2 by Governor General in Council
Nunavut Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Nunavut Act Order In Council 2 N/A 2 2 by Governor General in Council
 

Other INAC Boards

Board Authority Type of Appointment Total Membership, as per Authority Quorum as per Authority Members appointed by INAC Minister or by Governor General on recommendation of INAC Minister Number of members appointed Jointly or by other means
Specific Claims Tribunal Specific Claims Tribunal Act Order In Council Maximum of 6 full-time or combination or full-time/ part-time up to 18 No quorum requirement Appointed by the Governor General Jointly nominated with Justice Canada
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement Order In Council 3 No quorum requirement Appointed by the Governor General Nominated by Justice Canada w/consultation from the Assembly of First Nations

6. Overview of sectors

 

Colleen Swords - Deputy Minister

Hélène Laurendeau - Associate Deputy Minister

 

Treaties and Aboriginal Government

The Treaties and Aboriginal Government Sector (TAG) is responsible, on behalf of the Government of Canada, for the negotiation, settlement and subsequent implementation of comprehensive, specific and special claims, as well as self-government agreements. TAG's responsibilities also include policy development and expert advice on Canada's obligations in respect of duty to consult. TAG also administers the Department's and the Minister's statutory responsibilities under the Indian Act related to elections and by-laws, and undertakes policy and legislative initiatives to build and support stronger First Nation governments. TAG is also responsible for discussions with First Nations on pre-1975 treaty issues.

To accomplish this, all comprehensive claims, self-government and treaty negotiations are managed geographically under three Negotiation Branches (West, Central and East). The implementation of settled agreements and consultation and accommodation responsibilities are managed out of Implementation Branch. Specific Claims Branch has a pan-Canadian focus and conducts negotiations across Canada. These Branches are supported by a Policy Development and Coordination Branch and a Business Management Unit. 

The Sector oversees related research, policy development, funding support, approval and implementation activity, including implementation legislation. It also requires engaging and coordinating federal interests in all aspects of the process, including departmental level relations with other federal interests, engaging the provinces and territories, and ensuring the appropriate involvement of regional management, claimants and other Aboriginal groups, and other stakeholders. In addition, the Sector provides professional leadership/support with respect to the conduct of negotiations and/or discussions with Aboriginal groups on behalf of other government departments (OGDs), where negotiation or consultation with affected Aboriginal groups is essential to the furtherance of specific projects/initiatives being pursued by those OGDs.

 

Policy and Strategic Direction

The Policy and Strategic Direction (PSD) sector is responsible for shaping a coherent departmental agenda for advancing Aboriginal and Northern issues.  In fulfilling this responsibility, PSD works closely with other sectors, central agencies, other government departments, and key stakeholders.

More specifically, PSD:

  • coordinates and leads the development of strategic advice on Cabinet and legislative initiatives, on Budget and Speech from the Throne processes, and on cross-cutting policy issues. The Sector also supports senior management in policy discussions on a wide range of issues through various committees;
  • works within the Department and with the Department of Justice to coordinate departmental advice on policy and program implications to inform Crown litigation strategies;
  • leads the Department's research agenda, statistical analysis and strategic planning;
  • supports the Department's participation and contributions to international organizations and federal-provincial/territorial multilateral fora;
  • serves as the principle lead in coordinating the Department's relationship with national Aboriginal organizations, including through the management of funding relationships with Aboriginal Representative Organizations; and 
  • works with Métis and Non-Status Indian organizations in support of their governance capacity and socio-economic development.

 

Education and Social Development Programs and Partnerships

The Education and Social Development Programs and Partnerships Sector is responsible for social and education programs.

The Sector works to strengthen both policy and program management functions, including program compliance and national consistency, and to monitor program performance and effectiveness for two of the Department's largest program areas: Education and Social Development.

ESDPP's mandate is twofold:

  1. to provide First Nation men, women, children and families with the supports necessary to help them achieve education outcomes comparable to those of other Canadians; and
  2. to assist First Nation individuals and communities to become more self-sufficient; protect individuals and families at risk of violence; provide prevention supports that allow individuals and families to better care for their children; and support greater participation in the labour market.

The Sector works closely with eight regional offices (seven south of 60o and the Yukon) and the Regional Operations Sector.

Education programs are delivered in collaboration with partners including First Nation regional education organizations and provinces. Other federal departments, particularly Employment and Social Development Canada, are also partners in funding and delivering education-related programs.

Social programs are delivered in collaboration with First Nation organizations, provinces, territories and other federal departments.  These partners include Health Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Public Health Agency of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, the Assembly of First Nations, and others.

 

Chief Financial Officer

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sector is responsible for providing leadership and ensuring effective management of departmental resources within the legislative mandate. The CFO Sector also provides strategic advice, oversight, and support to the Deputy Minister and Senior Executive Team to ensure integrity and sound financial controls and management in the planning and operations of the Department. The Sector supports services through policies, directives and other activities in the areas of financial planning and analysis, accounting and reporting, contracting and procurement, assets and materiel management.

In addition, the Sector provides information management and technology services, structures and controls within the Department, building the capacity of the Department and its people to use IM/IT reliably, securely, and cost-effectively, as well as providing key business solutions.

The Sector is accountable for providing grants and contributions advisory and support services through policies, directives and other activities, including the development of national funding agreements models and guidelines; the establishment of funding agreement service standards; the management of the Grants and Contributions Information Management System; and national monitoring, compliance and reporting.

 

Lands and Economic Development

The Lands and Economic Development (LED) Sector consists of three branches and a special operating agency, Indian Oil and Gas Canada (located in Alberta), that work together to promote Aboriginal economic development; lead the federal administration of reserve land; and support environmental protection on reserve.

The Sector is responsible for programming and initiatives to strengthen Aboriginal entrepreneurship, to help unlock the economic potential of Aboriginal lands and natural resources, and to effectively fulfill the Government of Canada's fiduciary responsibilities under the Indian Act for First Nation lands and resource management, as well as oil and gas management. The Sector also leads federal procedures and reforms related to additions to reserve, undertakes research and analysis to support policy development, fosters partnerships with stakeholders, including Aboriginal financial institutions, and supports enhanced access to capital for Aboriginal communities and businesses.

LED is driven by the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, which provides a comprehensive approach to economic development that reflects the significant, real and growing opportunities for Aboriginal people in Canada.

With support from LED, Regional offices across Canada implement LED's programming and services and carry out the administration of the Crown's statutory and fiduciary obligations under the Indian Act.

 

Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat

The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat ("the Secretariat") is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that was established under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2007 to resolve claims of physical and sexual abuse and other wrongful acts suffered by former students of Canada's Indian Residential Schools.

Residential school claims are resolved through the Independent Assessment Process, which is a neutral, claimant-center process that aims to bring a fair and lasting resolution to the harms caused by the residential schools. 

The Secretariat is the administrative body that manages the Independent Assessment Process. It reports to the Chief Adjudicator (Dan Shapiro) who is appointed by the Oversight Committee and is approved by the courts. The Executive Director also reports to the Deputy Minister on specific financial and human resources authorities.

The Secretariat assists claimants and claimant counsel in preparing for hearings. It determines the eligibility of applications, coordinates the collection of mandatory documents from the parties, schedules and arranges hearings, and supports adjudicators and the Chief Adjudicator. The Secretariat is also responsible for outreach to communities, maintaining partner/stakeholder relationships, and the Group Independent Assessment Process program which provides contribution funding for healing activities.

The Secretariat maintains offices in Gatineau, Regina, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, including hearing facilities in Vancouver and Winnipeg.

 

Resolution and Individual Affairs Sector

The Resolution and Individual Affairs (RIA) Sector has two distinct business lines: 1) implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and 2) various programs provided to individual First Nation people, including registration under the Indian Act, the provision of "status cards" and wills and estates.

For the residential schools part of its activities, RIA is responsible for the effective implementation of the Settlement Agreement and its various components, including the Common Experience Payment and Independent Assessment Process compensation programs, and the management of partnerships with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Court Monitor, the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, church representatives, and Aboriginal organizations. The Settlement Agreement is expected to be largely implemented by 2019-2020.

With respect to its other business line, RIA is responsible for managing registration under the Indian Act, including the implementation of Bill C-3 registration, as well as the creation of the Qalipu Band in Newfoundland and Labrador. The sector also leads the work on issuing "status cards" to registered Indians, including the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS). Finally, RIA is responsible for managing the statutory duties described in the Indian Act relating to wills and estates and Indian monies.

 

Communications

AANDC's dual mandate, for both Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, requires the Department to communicate across a wide variety of channels to a diverse range of audiences. The prevalence of social media as a means of public discussion, as well as the speed with which information and views are developed and disseminated, present unique opportunities as well as challenges to the communications function.

In this context, the Communications Branch is an integrated corporate function, working in constant and close collaboration with the Minister's Office and the Deputy Minister's Office. It ensures transparency and accountability in departmental operations by communicating the Minister's and the Department's objectives, programs, services, and results in a coherent manner.

There is also a functional reporting relationship between the Director General of Communications and the Communications Managers in regional offices. The Communications Branch reports directly to the Deputy Minister and is headed by a Director General with the support of the Associate Director General and two Directors.

The Branch includes a newly formed Digital Communications Directorate, which supports the government-wide effort to develop a web-first communications approach and to implement Canada's Open Government requirements.

 

Human Resources and Workplace Services

The Human Resources and Workplace Services Branch (HRWSB) provides services at the corporate and regional levels in the areas of Human Resources (HR), Values and Ethics, Conflict Resolution, Ombudsman Services, Complaints and Disclosure, Accommodation, Security and Occupational Health and Safety.

Provision of corporate human resources services include development and implementation of corporate strategies and frameworks, policies and procedures, and comprehensive monitoring programs in the following areas of responsibility: Corporate and Operational Classification and Staffing, Aboriginal Resourcing, Labour Relations, Learning and Development, and Employee Well-Being. The Branch also serves as the point of contact for bargaining agents and supports management in relation to third-party complaints filed at various Boards and/or Tribunals.

HRWSB also houses the Centre for Integrity, Values and Conflict Resolution, which promotes values-based leadership and an ethical workplace, and offers a range of services from informal conflict resolution and ombudsman services, to the formal harassment complaint process and disclosures under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

The Branch also provides services to the Departmental Executive Group and Senior Management in the integrated delivery of HR Planning Systems and Reporting, Classification, Resourcing and Recruitment, Compensation and Benefits, Performance Management, Talent Management, Labour Relations, Official Languages, Employment Equity Services, and Special Projects related to the Executive Community of the Department.

 

Audit and Evaluation

The Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive (CAEE) provides the Deputy Minister with independent insight and assurance on the extent to which departmental risks and operations are appropriately managed and deliver intended results for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Northerners.The CAEE advises senior management on management control frameworks, the Corporate Risk Profile (as the Chief Risk Officer), the Management Accountability Framework of the Department, and on all aspects of the Performance Measurement Framework. The CAEE is the key point of contact within the Department with respect to the work of the office of the Auditor General.

The Audit and Evaluation Sector produces independent audits of the Department's management practices and controls, and evaluations of the relevance and performance of AANDC programs. Audit and evaluation reports as well as management responses and action plans are published on the departmental website.

The CAEE is Secretary to the Departmental Audit Committee, chaired by and composed of external members, and to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee, chaired by the Deputy Minister.  

The Audit and Assurance Services Branch conducts independent audits of the Department's programs, services, management practices and controls. A three-year Risk-based Audit Plan is updated annually. Internal audits provide assurance to the Deputy Minister on controls, risk management and governance.

The Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch provides an evidence-based, neutral assessment of the relevance and performance of departmental programs to support policy and program decision making and expenditure management. Formal Performance Measurement strategies ensure that information on results is available.

The Assessment and Investigation Services Branch (AISB) manages complaints, investigations and forensic audits. AISB works with a network of Allegation and Complaints coordinators in regions and sectors.

The Risk Management and Communications Liaison Centre provides risk advisory services, risk management training and develops the AANDC Corporate Risk Profile.

 

Corporate Secretariat

 

The Corporate Secretariat provides an array of executive supports and services to the Minister's Office, the Deputy Minister's Office and the Department as a whole. The Corporate Secretariat also provides strategic and operational support to the Department on access to information and privacy, and manages the 4,500-piece Aboriginal Art Collection. 

Working closely with sectors and regions, the Corporate Secretariat:

  • reviews and provides final quality control related to briefing notes and correspondence to the Minister and Deputy Ministers;
  • ensures strategic, horizontal coordination of briefing material for the Minister's and Deputy Ministers' trips and meetings with Aboriginal and northern organizations, provinces/territories and other groups;
  • coordinates key ministerial planning documents, coordinates the preparation and approval of appointments, and processes executive invitations;
  • coordinates matters relating to the Minister's portfolio and serves as a central organizing function for delegations of authority;
  • ensures that the Department is compliant with the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act;
  • manages, develops, preserves and promotes the Aboriginal Art Collection and supports the economic development of Aboriginal artists; and
  • supports and manages human resources and financial and administrative services for the Minister's Office and the Deputy Minister's Office.

 

Legal Services Unit

The Legal Services Unit provides specialized legal advice and support to the Department in relation to departmental initiatives, policies and programs. The Legal Services Unit is located at Headquarters with a sub-office co-located with the Treaties and Aboriginal Government Group in Vancouver. The Legal Services Unit is part of the Aboriginal Affairs Portfolio of the Department of Justice Canada, which is headed by the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Aboriginal Affairs.

The Senior General Counsel is a full member of the Department's Executive Committee and various management committees, and as such, provides legal advice and offers comments of a policy or strategic nature. As Head of the Legal Services Unit, the Senior General Counsel brings forward legal concerns and risk management advice relating to matters within the Department's purview. The Senior General Counsel also provides the primary organizational interface between the Department and Justice Canada. This includes communicating an understanding of departmental policy initiatives, objectives and timelines, which in turn allows the Department of Justice Canada colleagues at Headquarters and regional offices to better understand departmental business lines and service requirements.

Counsel in the Legal Services Unit assess the legal risk of specific initiatives within the broader policy context, identify solutions to legal problems and work with departmental  officers to develop strategies to cope with real or potential legal issues. Counsel review documents such as Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submissions and Memoranda of Understanding for legal accuracy and to ensure legal risks are stated appropriately where necessary. They also brief Department of Justice Canada officials and the Minister of Justice with respect to departmental initiatives and policies.

 

Northern Affairs Organization

The Northern Affairs Organization leads government-wide efforts to implement Canada's Northern Strategy, as well as to implement its related initiatives, such as the construction of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. Sustainable economic development, an improved regulatory system, environmental protection, and providing Northerners with more control over their economic and political destiny, will contribute to increased employment and prosperity among Northerners.

In particular, the Northern Affairs Organization is responsible for:

  • promoting political and economic development in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
  • managing contaminated sites and subsidizing the cost of nutritious perishable food through Nutrition North Canada;
  • exercising province-like management of the resources, land and environment of the North in Northwest Territories and Nunavut, where federal responsibilities have not yet been devolved;
  • negotiating devolution of federal responsibilities for land and resource management to the territorial governments;
  • implementing aspects of AANDC's legal obligations arising from treaties, land claim and self-government agreements; and
  • advancing circumpolar interests, such as Canada's Arctic sovereignty, climate change and Arctic Council adaptation and environmental protection, and supporting Canada's involvement in the Arctic Council.

Regional Offices

Regional Operations

Regional Operations Sector at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is responsible for the delivery of national programs and services for the regions south of 60o. The Sector is also responsible for managing three national programs: Governance Capacity, Community Infrastructure, and Emergency Management.

Governance Capacity

Governance Capacity provides funding for band governance and administration; funding to eligible First Nation, Inuit or Innu employers to support pension and benefit plans; core funding for Tribal Councils; and targeted funds to governance capacity development projects. This funding is intended to support Aboriginal communities and institutions in the implementation of strong and sustainable governments.

Community Infrastructure

Community Infrastructure works with First Nation governments to support affordable and adequate housing; the provision of clean, safe and reliable drinking water and the effective treatment of wastewater on First Nation lands; the provision of safe schools; and other community infrastructure essential to healthy, safe and prosperous communities such as roads and bridges.

Emergency Management

The Emergency Management Assistance Program supports the health and safety of on-reserve First Nation residents as well as their lands and critical infrastructure. This program promotes a four pillar approach to emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. AANDC promotes efficiency by accessing existing resources and services of provinces/territories and emergency management partners to address on-reserve emergencies and reimburses these partners for eligible expenses.

Regional Offices

7. First Nations protocols, culture and traditions

First Nations in Canada (map)

A map demonstrating where First Nations communities are located in Canada. The map shows the status of each First Nations community in 2012. There are 564 communities under the Indian Act, 34 under the Land Management Act and 38 under self-government. The largest number of First Nations communities is in British Columbia with the fewest in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Brief History and Context

  • The relationship between the Crown and First Nation people in Canada is one which has been in near constant evolution since it was first established centuries ago.
  • It has been impacted by commercial and economic pressures, by shifting alliances and external threats, as well as by policies of protection and subordination.
  • Initially created to manage the military alliances, the Indian Department has been transformed over time into the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, managing not only Canada's relationship with First Nations, the Inuit and Métis, but also all of Canada's North.
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada continues to change to meet the needs and challenges faced by Canada's Aboriginal people.

First Nation Languages

  • There are over 50 spoken First Nation languages in Canada; however, only about five to six languages are most commonly used.
  • The Algonquin language family reports the highest number of speakers, including:
    • Cree which is spoken in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec;
    • Ojibway and Oji-Cree which are spoken in Ontario and Manitoba;
    • Innu/Montagnais which is spoken in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador; and
    • Mi'Kmaq which is spoken in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
    • Dene, which is part of the second most spoken language family (Athabascan), is spoken among First Nations in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Social Customs

Styles of Address

  • While there are no specific elements relating to the style of address, it is advisable to acknowledge that the event/ceremony is being held in the territory of the local First Nation community (e.g. for an event in Ottawa, acknowledging that it is being held in the traditional territory of the Algonquin people).
  • It is a common practice to use a few words of a First Nation language during a meeting or ceremony (e.g. "miigwetch" for thank you).
Precedence
  • Depending on the nature of the event, and those who are in attendance, the precedence should be in line with Grand Entry traditions for that particular area/culture.
  • If the event is of a military/commemorative nature, it could be suggested that First Nation veterans precede all Chiefs.
Traditional Dress
  • The wearing of traditional dress is largely to the discretion of the organizers of the event, meeting or ceremony. For very formal and high-level events, such as those of a ceremonial nature with the participation of VIPs (Prime Minister, members of the Royal Family, etc.), representatives should be given the option to wear their traditional dress including regalia, headdresses and button blankets. At other times, business attire should be expected.

Titles

  • Titles of individuals vary according to the community, group or organization they represent.
    • Most leaders of a First Nation are called « Chief ».
    • Some leaders of a First Nation that are of a different historical grouping are called « Grand Chief ».
    • Leaders of regional or provincial organizations are called « Grand Chief »
    • The leader of a national organization is called « National Chief ».
    • It is always advisable to confirm the specific title with the community/organization in question.

Elders

  • An Elder from the community of the region in which the event is being held should be invited to present a prayer or a blessing to open and possibly close the event.
  • Smudging is usually only reserved for a very specific event, such as negotiations and unique discussions. In the case of a prayer/blessing, it is recommended to provide a specific length of time for the prayer/blessing.
Gifts and Offerings
  • Gifts are sometimes exchanged between lead states people at a meeting and are considered a sign of willingness to work together and of thanks.
  • An offering of tobacco is usually made to an Elder prior to the start of a meeting and symbolizes the exchange of a spiritual medicine for the Elder's guidance and teachings during the meeting. Not all First Nation Elders expect this offering.
  • The protocol is to offer tobacco to an Elder following a prayer. The Department usually keeps a supply of ceremonial tobacco for this purpose.

Social Customs – Ceremonies

Ceremonies

  • In ceremonies where First Nations are central participants, it can be expected that representatives will request that sacred objects be included such as drums, feathers, and eagle staffs. Provisions should be made to accommodate these sacred objects as much as possible and be displayed in a prominent manner during the ceremony.
  • If eagle staffs are to be included, it is advisable to request that the First Nation provide a stand for the staff.

Feasts

  • Feasts can involve sharing of food, natural resources, one's labour, and hospitality.
  • Refusal may result in loss of face for one who offers, so if invited to a family's home or to a community feast, politely accepting what is offered is best.
  • Gift giving was traditionally a matter of sharing resources, but a thoughtful token of respect is appreciated (value depends on the means of the recipient).

Cultural Customs

Smudging

  • A 'smudge' is smoke used for ritual cleansing. Smudging is a ceremony traditionally practiced by some Aboriginal cultures (not all) to purify or cleanse negative energy, feelings or thoughts from a place or a person. Sacred medicines such as cedar, sage, sweetgrass or tobacco are usually burned in an abalone shell.
  • The shell represents water, the first of four elements of life; the medicines represent gifts from mother earth and the burning represents fire (the next two elements).
  • The person puts their hands in the smoke and carries it to their body, especially to areas that need spiritual healing (mind, heart, body). The smoke represents air, the final element.

Sweatlodge(a.k.a. Purification Lodge)

  • Some First Nations use a ceremonial sauna used for healing and cleansing. It is made of a wooden framework covered by blankets or skins, about 1.5 meters high and large enough for eight people to sit in a circle on the ground. Hot stones are placed in a shallow hole in the centre of the lodge.
  • An Elder or Medicine Shaman from the community pours water on the stones to produce steam and participants may spend an hour sweating in the lodge. The lodge combines the four elements: fire, water, air and earth.
  • Ceremonies include offerings, prayers and reverence. At times, excessive exposure to the heat of the lodge may have health effects.

Respected Characteristics and Teachings

Teachings

  • Many First Nations follow the teachings of the 7 fires: Humility, Honesty, Love, Truth, Respect, Bravery, and Wisdom.

Medicine Wheel

  • The Medicine Wheel has four quadrants and symbolizes the interconnection of all life, the various cycles of nature, and how life represents a circular journey.
  • The number four is sacred to many First Nations peoples of North America and can represent many things: the four seasons,
  • the four parts of a person (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual); the four kingdoms (animal, mineral, plant and human); and the four sacred medicines (sweetgrass, tobacco, cedar and sage). Hence, you may see the medicine wheel presented in several different ways.

Conclusion

  • We recommend you always ask about a First Nation community you are meeting with, in order to know their specific customs, traditions and protocols.
  • Acknowledge that the event/ceremony is being held in the territory of the local First Nation community.
  • Not giving a tobacco offering to an Elder who is part of the event may be seen as an insult.

8. Inuit Culture and Traditions

Inuit in Canada

In 2006, the Inuit population estimated at 50,485 (Source: Statistics Canada) Approximately 78% of Inuit live in 53 communities in the four Inuit regions.

Description - Inuit in Canada – map

A map from 2006 on Canada's North that shows Inuit population in the 53 communities within the four northern regions: Inuvialuit, Nunavut, Nunatsiavut and Nunavik. The total population of these 53 communities is about 50,485.

About 3,115 (6%) of Canada's Inuit live in Inuvialuit which is in northern Yukon and in northern Northwest Territories.

About 24,635 (49%) of Canadian Inuit live in the province of Nunavut.

About 9,565 (19%) of Canadian Inuit live in Nunavik, which is in Northern Quebec.

About 2,160 (4%) of Canadian Inuit live in Nunatsiavut, which is in Labrador.

About 11,005 (22%) of Canada's Inuit live outside of the land claims settlement regions.

Brief History and Context

  • Prior to the 1950s, many Inuit still lived in small, autonomous, nomadic groups in Canada's Arctic.
  • Inuit survived by hunting, fishing and gathering.
  • By the 1950s, Inuit were being settled into permanent communities.
  • Schools, medical care, trading posts and access to southern food staples became more readily available.
  • With such an abrupt immersion into modernization, Inuit have had to adjust to balancing traditional beliefs and customs with expectations and modern structures brought by outsiders.
  • There are still people alive today who were born and raised on the land and are unilingual Inuktitut speakers.
  • All four Inuit regions have comprehensive land claim agreements and have permanent membership on the Arctic Council.

Social Customs

  • Usual greeting: a smile and handshake.
  • Clarity of intentions, friendliness and sympathy are good starters.
    • Aggressiveness and forwardness will result in caution and reserve .
  • Strong emotions are not usually displayed publicly.
    • Inuit usually smile and are attentive out of politeness, but stronger emotions may run beneath the surface.
    • Emotions are often expressed subtly through tone of voice or facial expressions (lifting of eyebrows to say 'yes' or crinkling of the nose for 'no').
  • In unfamiliar social or professional situations, Inuit may seem withdrawn – they prefer to initially observe the situation to determine what behaviour is expected.
  • Traditional storytelling, mythology, singing and dancing remain important parts of the culture.
  • Family and community are very important.

Language

  • Throughout Inuit Nunangat (which means 'the place where Inuit live'), Inuktitut is spoken; however, each region has its own dialect(s).
  • There are two written styles of Inuktitut: syllabics and roman orthography.
  • "Thank you" can be written in a variety of ways, dependant on the dialect:
How to say "thank you" in four Inuktitut dialects
Dialect (region) Roman orthography Syllabics
Uqqurmiut (southern Baffin Island) Nakurmiik! ᓇᒃᑯᖕᒦᒃ
Aggurmiut (northern Baffin Island) Qujannamiik! ᖁᔭᓐᓇᒦᒃ
Inuvialuit (Western Arctic) Quana ᖁᐊ ᓇ
Inuttitut (Nunatsiavut Region) Nakummek! ᓇᒃᑯᒥᒃ

Inuit Elders

  • Elders play a strong role in the family and the community and are acknowledged with respect.
  • Elders are regarded as culture-bearers, not a measure of chronological age, but a function of the respect accorded to individuals who exemplify the values and lifestyle of the culture.
  • Traditionally, Inuit Elders would offer traditional words of advice when needed. It is custom that younger people not ask too many questions to an older person. Although this may have changed for the younger generation, many still respect these values.

Respected Characteristics

Characteristics that were once a matter of survival on the land and in the camps are still revered today:

  • Self-reliance, innovation, resourcefulness, perseverance, patience, fatalism (acceptance of what we can't control), tact, and humility.
    • Frustration and anger are considered immature responses.
    • Boasting is ill-mannered and may be considered a put-down to others.
  • Sharing of food, natural resources, one's labour, and hospitality.
    • Refusal may result in loss of face for the one who offers, so if invited to a family's home or to a community feast, politeness in accepting what is offered is appropriate.
    • With modernization these values are still important, but are less clear.
    • Gift giving was traditionally a matter of sharing resources, but a thoughtful token of respect is appreciated (value depends on the means of the recipient).

Authority and Leadership Customs - today

Preserving traditional values with today's socio-economic systems can be challenging:

  • Due to the value placed on individual independence, direct requests may seem rude and aggressive and may place others in an uncomfortable position.
    • Direct refusals are also considered rude and aggressive.
  • Exertion of authority (e.g. as store managers, government leaders, directors, etc.) over others requires adaptation.
    • Possibly why there is high turnover in these types of jobs.
  • Non-interference, i.e. freedom to lead lives without dictation from others.
    • Hierarchy can lead to discomfort in exercising authority over fellow Inuit.
  • Inuit leadership is an exercise in taking initiative and leading by example rather than delegation.

Conclusion

  • Inuit continue to maintain their unique culture within their distinct homeland
  • Despite modern influences and conveniences, Inuit have retained their language, core knowledge and beliefs.

9. Métis Customs, Culture and Traditions

The Métis – Where they live (map)

Note: The 2011 National Household Survey data includes all individuals who self-identify as Métis. This population is larger than those individuals who would form part of the Métis community that could meet the threshold for Aboriginal rights under section 35, who are predominantly located in Ontario and the western provinces.

Description of Métis Identity population map

A Métis identity population map based on the 2011 National Household Survey. It is broken down by province and is based on individuals who self-identity as Métis. This population is larger than those individuals who would form part of the Métis community that could meet the threshold for Aboriginal rights under section 35, who are predominantly located in Ontario and the western provinces.

  • In Nova Scotia there are 8,885 Métis, which is 1% of the province's population.
  • In Prince Edward Island there are 370 Métis, which is 0.3% of the province's population.
  • In New Brunswick there are 4,210 Métis, which is 0.6% of the province's population.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador there are 7,100 Métis, which is 1.4% of the province's population.
  • In Quebec there are 35,465 Métis, which is 0.5% of the province's population.
  • In Ontario there are 77,825 Métis, which is 0.6% of the province's population.
  •  In Manitoba there are 75,345 Métis, which is 6.4% of the province's population.
  • In Alberta there is 50,230 Métis, which is 5.0% of the province's population.
  • In Saskatchewan there are 90,850 Métis, which is 2.5% of the province's population.
  •  In British Columbia there are 64,525 Métis, which is 1.5% of the province's population.
  •  In Yukon there are 705 Métis, which is 2.1% of the province's population.
  • In the Northwest Territories there are 2,765 Métis, which is 6.8% of the province's population.
  • In Nunavut there are 115 Métis, which is 0.4% of the province's population.

Brief History and Context

  • The Métis are a people of North American Indian and European ancestry who coalesced into distinct peoples emerging with their own distinct identity, language (Michif), culture (song, dance, dress, national symbols, etc.), traditions and way of life.
  • The Métis in western Canada identify as the 'Métis Nation' and were recognized as such by others. Throughout its history in western Canada, Métis people have stood up to defend their lands, rights, interests, and way of life, as Canada evolved as a country.
  • Today, the Métis people continue to advocate their rights and interests through national representative organizations such as the Métis National Council and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; and, their respective provincial affiliates.

Métis Territory

  • Métis were traditionally a nomadic people, and followed the buffalo and the fur trade. They did not have a recognized land base in the same manner that the First Nations have had since the creation of the reserve system in the mid-1850s.
  • In fact, with the creation of the reserve system, Métis were not allowed to live on First Nation reserves or in the neighbouring communities – so they lived along the sides of roads, resulting in the name "road allowance people
  • While many of the Métis individuals in the East, Quebec and Ontario, assimilated into the various local communities, the Métis in the West created very distinct societies, especially around the Red River Basin (Manitoba).
  • Alberta is the only place in Canada where the Métis managed to hold a land base in Canada – these are known as the Métis Settlements.

Social Customs and Symbols

  • Customs and protocols will vary greatly from province to province and from community to community.
  • Some Métis customs are similar to First Nation ceremonies.
    • All ceremonies are opened and closed with a prayer, usually given by an Elder.
    • However, certain elements common to First Nation ceremonies, such as smudging or pipe ceremonies, may not be present at Métis ceremonies.
  • Common elements present at most Métis ceremonies include fiddle music, the Métis infinity flag, the "sash", and art with visible beadwork which are all rooted in Métis history and represent aspects of the distinct Métis culture.

Conclusion

« Métis have full status as distinctive rights-bearing peoples whose own internal practices are entitled to constitutional protection under s.35(1) »

Powley, para. 38
  • Métis are distinct Aboriginal peoples with their own identity, culture and rights.
  • At ceremonies and meetings, it is customary to acknowledge Elders first, followed by Métis leaders that may be present.
  • It is customary that, when the Métis National Anthem is played, Ministers and guests stand to pay their respect.
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