The engagement will start on May 1, 2017 and will close on November 30, 2017.
Managing reserve lands is beneficial to First Nations as it enables self-determination and economic opportunities.
As part of its commitment to support First Nations governance and socio-economic development, INAC is seeking input on how the Reserve Lands and Environment Management Program (RLEMP) can better meet the needs of First Nations wanting to manage their own lands. Continuous program improvement is important to ensure that First Nation communities have the supports they need to manage their reserve lands.
To ensure that this engagement meets the needs of First Nation communities, INAC met with regional Indigenous lands managers associations in the fall of 2016 to identify key themes to guide the engagement. To find out more about what we heard, visit: What we heard in the pre-engagement sessions.
INAC is engaging with:
First Nations interested in lands and environment management
national and regional Indigenous organizations
post-secondary educational institutions and training providers
other interested stakeholders
INAC is seeking input to develop options to improve the program. This includes:
First Nations are encouraged to read and comment on these summaries to ensure that all of their suggestions and views have been gathered for consideration. These comments can be submitted electronically or in writing by October 1, 2017.
Options for further consideration will be developed and posted online in fall 2017. First Nations and Indigenous organizations (such as regional land manager associations) are strongly encouraged to provide additional feedback on these options.
What we heard in the pre-engagement sessions
To better prepare for this engagement, pre-engagement meetings were held with these groups in the fall of 2016:
National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association
Atlantic Region Aboriginal Lands Association
First Nation Lands Managers Association for Quebec and Labrador
Ontario Aboriginal Lands Association
Saskatchewan Aboriginal Land Technicians
Treaty and Aboriginal Land Stewards Association of Alberta
British Columbia Aboriginal Land Managers
The valuable feedback received helped shape this engagement. Our hope is that we can work together and focus on finding the best ways RLEMP can continue to support First Nation communities into the future.
These are the highlights of what we have heard so far:
1) RLEMP training is effective but could be further improved.
While the University of Saskatchewan is doing a great job at providing training, it would be nice to have academic training offered at more institutions across the country, including training in French.
There are not enough on-line or distance learning options currently available for students who may not be able to travel.
More hands-on training (e.g. job shadowing/mentorship/apprenticeship) is needed to help enhance the academic learning and provide real on the ground experience for new lands managers.
The networking opportunities for participants training in the Professional Land Management Certification Program (PLMCP) are very valuable and should not be forgotten.
RLEMP only provides training for one land manager per community; this does not help First Nations who lose a lands manager and does not help with succession planning.
There is not enough on-going training after land managers are certified for continued professional development.
Competency-based skills evaluations may be more effective than credential-based evaluations, particularly when it comes to prior learning assessment and recognition.
There are First Nations communities who are not eligible for RLEMP funding but who still send their lands managers on the training because they see the certification as important and useful.
More environmental management training is needed; many land managers do not feel like they know enough to do what is required.
Better coordination is required with land management and environmental management training.
2) The RLEMP funding formula should be examined and updated.
The current RLEMP funding formula is inefficient to administer and difficult to explain. Many lands managers do not understand how their operational funding is calculated.
A transaction-based formula does not capture all the work that lands managers do to help their communities.
Not all lands transactions are captured in the formula. Consideration should be given to expanding the kinds of transactions used to calculate funding, or to find a way to provide funding to recognize the other work lands managers provide.
Some First Nations do not receive enough funding to cover the costs of staffing or supporting a land management office. This is due to smaller population size, smaller land base, or lower number of transactions registered in the Indian Lands Registry System.
Better compliance and accountability tools need to be developed to ensure that funds are more efficiently used to support a lands office.
Even after the training, regional offices continue to provide substantial administrative support to some RLEMP First Nations even though they receive full operational funding.
3) Better links can be made to other lands programs or regimes.
More could be done to improve pre-readiness for First Nations who would like to join RLEMP but do not currently meet the entry criteria.