Evidence of meeting #26 for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was first.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Robert Louie  Chairman, First Nations Lands Advisory Board
  • Austin Bear  Chair, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Graham Powell  Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Elizabeth Childs  Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Patti Wight  Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Ruth Nahanee  Senior Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Daniel Millette  Manager, Strategic Planning, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Colleagues, we will now call this 26th meeting of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to order.

Colleagues, we did give enough time because we know there was some confusion with regard to location. Apparently, as well, of course, the weather is delaying transportation here, so we appreciate our witnesses for waiting patiently.

Today we have a number of witnesses here and we want to hear from all of you, so we're not going to spend a lot of time with introductions. Colleagues, of course, I know you have the notice of meeting before you.

We have witnesses from the First Nations Lands Advisory Board, as well as the First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre.

Is it you, Chief Louie, who will start out? If you want to introduce everybody, that would be great. Welcome here and thank you so much for joining us. We're looking forward to what you have to say. We know there are some experts here and we're really keen on your incredible knowledge in this field, so we'll turn it over to you and not waste any additional time.

I should just note to colleagues, I have determined, as chair, that we're going to give our witnesses additional time for their opening statements. We only have the one group of witnesses today, so we're going to allow for up to 20 minutes for the opening statements.

We'll turn it over to you. Thank you.

3:40 p.m.

Chief Robert Louie Chairman, First Nations Lands Advisory Board

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, honourable members of the committee.

My name is Robert Louie. I'm chief of the Westbank First Nation and chairman of the Lands Advisory Board. It's always a pleasure to be before you, and I'm very honoured and thank you for this opportunity for me and our group here.

Our issue at hand today is on capacity-building, and our presentation will be on capacity-building, training, and professional development, and our proposed strategy therein.

Very briefly, to put our first nations participants into context, across the country we have 58 first nations signatories to the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management, 37 of whom are operational first nations. We have had 18 new first nations approved by the minister in February to be added as new signatories. We have five first nations that were previously parked, because of being inactive. Now they have all agreed that they wish to be active and are willing to move very quickly.

We also have 65 other first nations on the waiting list that have formal band council resolutions or letters of intent, that wish to proceed. Very recently, in the month of February, Deputy Minister Michael Wernick announced that the government is looking at supporting 100 new first nations to be added into the process. We believe that has Minister Duncan's support.

As you indicated, Mr. Chairman, we have some very expert people in the room on the topic of first nation capacity-building, training, and professional development, and we wish to proceed with our submission.

Very briefly, I would then like to turn it over to the chairman of our resource centre, Chief Austin Bear, and introductions to follow thereafter.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.

3:40 p.m.

Chief Austin Bear Chair, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Thank you, Chief Louie.

Good afternoon, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon to all the honourable members of this committee. As mentioned, I am Austin Bear, chief of the Muskoday Cree Nation, Treaty 6, in what is now the province of Saskatchewan.

Mr. Chair, committee members, thank you for this opportunity to be here this afternoon. Previously, the Lands Advisory Board and the resource centre have indicated the purpose of the framework agreement and the economic development benefits for the 58 signatories for first nations at this time.

Today we would like to focus on how the resource centre works with the signatory first nations and the framework agreement to build capacity in land and environmental governance, land-use planning, and professional development.

With Chief Louie and me is Dr. Graham Powell. Dr. Powell is the executive director of the resource centre. So, if I may, I would at this time defer to Dr. Powell. Thank you.

3:45 p.m.

Dr. Graham Powell Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to introduce the members of the resource centre staff. The adviser sitting next to Chief Louie is Dr. Elizabeth Childs, capacity-building advisor to the Lands Advisory Board and the resource centre. Sitting next to Dr. Childs is Ms. Patti Wight, a member of Lheidli T'enneh in B.C. and a lands manager with experience. Next to Patti is Ruth Nahanee, senior technician on capacity-building, and then we have Dr. Daniel Millette, who deals with land-use planning.

I would ask them each to give a bit of their backgrounds so that the committee and you, Chairman, would understand the level of experience that is behind this team in preparing this capacity-building.

We'll start with Dr. Childs.

3:45 p.m.

Dr. Elizabeth Childs Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Mr. Chair, honourable committee members, thank you for having us. We're very excited to be here.

My name is Dr. Elizabeth Childs. I have a doctorate in educational technology from the University of Calgary. I work nationally and internationally with organizations looking to move to blended and online learning in their setting. I help them design, develop, and implement blended online learning strategies.

I've had the privilege of working with the resource centre and the Lands Advisory Board for more than the past 10 years.

Thank you.

3:45 p.m.

Patti Wight Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Good afternoon. I'm Patti. I'm a member of the Squamish Nation and I was the director of lands and natural resources for five years with the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation in Prince George, B.C.

I have a bachelor's degree in geography, and I've been working in the field of capacity-building and training professional development with the resource centre for the past year.

3:45 p.m.

Ruth Nahanee Senior Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Chap men wa ha7lh siyam en siyay. Greetings, dear friends.

My name is Ruth Nahanee. I'm from the Squamish Nation. My mother is from the Cowichan First Nation in British Columbia. My Squamish ancestral name is Seamia. I worked for the Squamish Nation for 21 years in the areas of land registry, land management, and resource management. I currently work with the Lands Advisory Board, as Graham stated, as a senior advisor for the last four years.

Thank you.

3:45 p.m.

Dr. Daniel Millette Manager, Strategic Planning, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Good afternoon, everyone.

My name is Daniel Millette. I'm a professional planner and professional archaeologist, and a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. I've been working in land and land-use planning on first nations land for more or less the last 20 years. Specifically, my areas of expertise are land-use planning and traditional lands.

Thank you.

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you very much for those introductions.

3:45 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

Do you allow us to go through our presentations?

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

That would be great, yes. We'll turn it over to you.

3:45 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

We use the term CBTPD for capacity-building, training, and professional development. This is the strategy that the Lands Advisory Board and the resource centre have developed over many years.

The mandate is to meet the Lands Advisory Board and the First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre's obligations under the framework agreement, specifically 39.1(e).

No other organization has the mandate or the experience under the framework agreement to assist the signatory first nations—you heard Chief Louie mention the 58, the 18 new, and eventually 100—to implement land, resources, and environmental governance and management, as well as law-making and enforcement.

The capacity-building strategy goal is to ensure the following groups have relevant and effective capacity to develop and implement their lands codes. There are five groups: community members, chiefs and councils, lands committees, lands governance directors, and the lands staff. So it's not just focused on one group, it's the entire community: the chief and council, the committee, the directors, and the staff.

Our role is to provide the skills, competencies, and tools necessary to handle the complex set of land governance and management activities required as a framework agreement signatory first nation.

Our situation is unique. It's the only approach that addresses the communities’ specific governance and management responsibilities under the framework. Our capacity-building strategy has been developed by framework agreement first nations people, as you've heard from Patti, Ruth, and others who have extensive first-hand experience in the development and implementation of community land codes.

For risk and liability, the capacity-building strategy is the only approach that helps to ensure Canada's obligations and responsibilities under the framework agreement are fulfilled, and to mitigate risk and liability for all parties through proper capacity-building and training.

The expertise that helps with our capacity-building training is unique as well. The architects of the strategy include the resource centre's CBTPD staff of first nations people, and you've heard the level of experience. We also have an advisory group of land governance directors representing framework agreement first nations—a national group, advising us—other land governance directors and land coordinators, and finally, we have recognized experts in specific content areas, such as environment, land surveying, distance education, land-use planning, law-making, and risk management.

With that introduction, we're going to get into the specifics now on the details of the strategy so I'll ask Dr. Childs to begin here and we'll begin to share the pages.

3:50 p.m.

Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

We're going to talk about the components of the strategy, and there will be more time for questions on that. I'm going to provide you with an overview, and then Patti and Ruth will go into the details of what is accomplished to date.

One design criteria for the strategy was that it needed to be a blended model. It needed to allow for flexible access—anytime, anywhere access. We needed to have flexible entry points and exit points, recognizing the previous experience of lands managers, and it needed to be self-paced for some aspects and community-paced for others. We have an “always on” approach to it; it's a 24-7 approach.

The blend is a blend between face-to-face and online learning. All the resources that we have available, and many that we'll talk about and show you later help to build our online knowledge repository. This is a growing and dynamic place for people to access their resources.

As Graham mentioned, there are five main audiences for this strategy. It's a multi-audience approach. The contents are repurposed and revised as needed by the different audiences. This both contributes to the scalability of the model, and maximizes the investment that's happening in course development.

There are also five main components of the strategy. I'll speak to each of them quickly so that you can have a sense of it. We're more than happy to link out and show you some of the online pieces as we get into the question and answer part of this presentation.

The first component is the certification program, whose audience is the lands governance directors themselves. The program has been designed based on the competencies required by lands governance directors. More than 500 tasks have been identified that lands governance directors are required to do. They fall under 15 key theme areas, and that's what this program is based on.

We have three levels of certification, as you can see on the slide. Each level has a fundamental course aspect. These are courses that are specific to the framework. Consequently, they do not exist elsewhere; you cannot buy these courses elsewhere. These are courses that are being built by framework agreement first nations experts.

The technical courses are more generic, and are courses that we are licensing or brokering from existing post-secondary institutions, because there's no point in reinventing the wheel. GIS introduction would be a good example of a technical-style course.

Each level of the certification has been designed for equivalency and accreditation within our Canadian post-secondary system. Completion of level one would result in a certificate; completion of level two, a diploma; and completion of level three, a degree. To recognize the diverse backgrounds that lands governance directors bring and the wealth of experience that they bring, the fundamental entry point is a prior learning assessment. Each individual will have the prior learning assessment and a personalized learning plan created to move through the certification program.

The next component of the strategy is the virtual resource centre. This is a secure, personalized learning environment. There's a very small image of it showing on the slide. It provides our audience with 24-7 access to templates, resources, guidelines, checklists, and samples of all aspects of lands governance. All of the resources can be downloaded by individuals, they can be modified, they can be used, and they can be shared. They all come from existing framework agreement first nations.

We also have online short courses—we call them courselets—as well as specific-topic blog posts that populate onto this space. The interface itself can be customized by the individual user. They are able to add and remove content as their needs change, moving through from developmental to operational, for example.

The third component of the strategy is these online courselets. While the LG program—the lands governance certification program—has big, bulky courses, these little courselets are meant to be short, quick hits on specific topics related to land governance. They're about 30 to 40 minutes in duration. They're self-paced. They're all online. They've been designed by our framework agreement experts. They can be downloaded, and used within communities like PowerPoint presentations. They also have a wealth of attachments that go with them, which people can reuse, download, and use as templates or samples.

The fourth component is the one that I'm very excited about and that you will hear more about. It's our online community. We call it our meeting place. It's a secure space that enables all of our audiences, at different levels and in different groups, to talk, share, collaborate, discuss, debate, and basically connect with each other to build that network.

There are online discussion groups on specific topics related to land governance. There is supporting documentation and information. We also have a series of webinars that we do that are recorded and put in this space. The discussion forums are used for pre-webinar preparation, and then to carry on the conversation after the webinar in an online environment, so that we can have the opportunity to have more conversation.

Our meeting place has a full-time community moderator. This is in keeping with best practices for online communities. Together with the user needs, the moderator works to ensure that educational programming in that space is efficient, effective, and useful to the learners.

Our last component is the face-to-face part. These are face-to-face workshops. They are requested by framework agreement first nations. They are designed in consultation with each community to meet the unique needs of the community. We also now have this growing body of content that has been accumulated that we can repurpose and adjust as needed, so we're not starting from scratch each time. The workshops are designed and delivered by the capacity-building team, as well as by the resource centre staff.

That's very quickly the 30,000-foot view of the strategy. I'm going to turn it over to Ruth, who is going to speak to some of the specific components, and let you know where we are to date, so that you can get a sense of what has been accomplished.

3:55 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Ruth Nahanee

Thank you, Elizabeth.

The certification program currently has six courses written. These six courses cover governance and management, and required experts in these areas to write the courses. All courses are framework agreement and land code relevant, and address first nations governance, authorities, and management responsibilities. We now require funding to make these available online at the resource centre learning management system.

Resource centre staff are currently writing what we call the foundational courses. These three courses fully explain and expand on the framework agreement's 29 principles of governance, authorities, and responsibilities. In addition, the land code courses speak to law-making, enforcement, registration of legal interests, etc.

With regard to accreditation, our team has been having ongoing talks with several Canadian post-secondary institutions.

On the virtual resource centre landing page, we place documents, videos, PowerPoints, and charts. For example, in the human resources tool category, we have 13 documents, such as job descriptions. These samples have come from the first nations themselves, and at other times, the First Nations Land Advisory Board staff have developed templates. These documents are useful for both developmental and operational first nations in their day-to-day jobs.

The virtual resource centre landing page is constantly being populated with new documents. Our team is currently sourcing types of documents for placement in March 2012. I would like to point out that we also have some French documents on the virtual resource centre that are meant for our French-speaking signatories. With the addition of a new signatory first nation from Quebec, and the anticipation of more becoming signatories, we will be translating more material.

Thank you. Would you like to go ahead now, Patti?

4 p.m.

Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Patti Wight

Thanks, Ruth.

We currently have five introductory courselets on a number of different topics such as the environment, planning concepts, and dispute resolution. Right now they are available on the virtual resource centre for lands governance directors to download, print, and present them in their own communities to their chief and council, or to their lands committees.

An additional six courselets are planned for development this year, including surveying, law-making, environmental protection, and environmental assessment. The priorities for these topics were sourced from the feedback and surveying of the framework agreement signatories. We then used their needs to compile our list of priorities.

The meeting place is really exciting. It's being launched in the next couple of weeks and it's a fully secure Internet-based community, where all of the users come online and are able to interact and network with each other in a forum-based situation. They are able to share documents with each other on topics for both developmental and operational first nations, under areas.... For example, environment—someone is able to post a question and a moderator such as myself will go online, look at the question, and find the answer. As well, other colleagues, other signatories, or lands governance directors will be able to go online and provide responses. Then as new signatories come on, there is a repository of all of these questions and answers over a time period, so we will have this base where people are able to come online and hopefully source the answers, instead of always looking for these questions in other spaces.

One of the other exciting aspects of the meeting place is the web-based webinars, which are simply just a seminar, workshop, or presentation that's done over the Internet. We do specific topics. For example, we're currently working with Natural Resources Canada on a surveying webinar that will be posted in the meeting place. Discussions can occur beforehand as they preview the presentation, and then once it's occurred, they are able to go in and ask questions and have follow-up discussions, and all of that is recorded in the meeting place.

Another component that we're currently delivering is the face-to-face workshops. These are a number of workshops delivered by resource centre staff that are requested by framework agreement first nations on specific topics. That first nation provides their circumstance—what are their goals and their mandates—and then the workshops customize so that it fulfills their immediate needs for where they are going and what they are developing for their community.

Thank you. We look forward to answering your questions.