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 online.

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

4:10 p.m.

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

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

We do, and I would defer to Ruth, because she's been quite involved.

4:10 p.m.

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

Ruth Nahanee

We have three units. One is called environmental governance, and that gets into identifying what authority you have under the land code with regard to environmental management, assessment, and protection. It also speaks to federal legislation and the authority of federal legislation on reserve lands. Under the land code, your first nation land is still reserve land.

Then we speak to the provincial gap, what we call the gap between federal and provincial environmental law. Then we get into environmental assessment, and we speak to environmental site assessments, phase ones, the whole environmental management plan—it's very detailed. Then we get into environmental protection.

Even though there are three units, they all speak very specifically about governance, management, planning, and enforcement in Canada.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Your time is long up, but I'm sure that you'll have an opportunity to follow up on that.

Thank you, Ms. Duncan. Thank you, witnesses.

Now we have Mr. Seeback for seven minutes.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I have a couple of quick questions.

Are there any costs to any of the first nations for these courses?

There's no cost.

I know you talked about self-learning and self-pacing. Are there any timelines for the FNLM entrants to complete any of these courses?

4:10 p.m.

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

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

The courselets, the little short ones, no. They're for users. It's meant to be that just-in-time....

In the certification program, absolutely. People will be moving through the courses as a cohort, so to speak. We're roughly estimating between two and three years to complete, if you were to do level one all the way up. But depending on your experience and your prior learning, you may not have to take that path.

We have recertification required every five years in the strategy to date.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Obviously you're providing a lot of these courses to our first nations communities.

Do you have any mechanism built in to determine whether or not they're responding to or meeting the needs of first nation communities—a feedback mechanism so they can say this course was very useful, or this course was not? Do you have that built into the structure as well?

Again, that's for anybody.

4:10 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

We actually gather statistics as well as get feedback. Elizabeth can handle that. They gather them through the source that we use as our server to host all of these—the meeting place, and the VRC.

Maybe add some statistics, Elizabeth?

4:10 p.m.

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

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

As for the online community, the virtual resource centre, and all of that usage that's been running since 2010, just for example, in this past January, we had over 4,500 hits to the site and about 150 unique users. You can get into the details further, but with respect to getting actual feedback, one of the groups that was on an earlier slide is with the national representation.

We poll our end users, ideally quarterly. It depends how long the poll needs to run. We survey them. That's how we establish our priorities for going forward for the next year, what's required, and it's also how we gather feedback.

Once they get into the certification courses, then there's a much more rigorous formative and summative feedback that's gathered as part of the requirement for accreditation.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

That's great.

I understand that the costs for the website are approximately around $3,000 per month for upkeep and everything else. Do you have any anticipation of where those costs are going to go in the future? Technology evolves, efficiencies, things like that...do you have any idea of how the cost of that will continue, or do you see it going up, going down, or staying the same?

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

There's a cost to host. Over the next three or four years, we'll be working on a way to host ourselves. Right now it's a cost that is cheaper for the group that we're using than for us to undertake it ourselves.

Our focus right now is getting the land governance courses up, writing the courselets, and getting funding for next year and that. We anticipate that after the four-year period when all of the courses, courselets, and everything has been written, we'll probably begin to host.

Elizabeth may be able to give some idea of the costs now that are for hosting. We pay out $27,000 per year to host for the company.

4:15 p.m.

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

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

Just quickly, it's hosting, warranty, and maintenance. It means they host it. They maintain it. They warranty that it will work and function the way we need it to work and function.

Going forward, I don't anticipate those costs to increase. If they do, it will be marginal. Where the costs may increase is as usage increases. As new first nations come on, and we're going from instead of 150 hits in January to 5,000 hits in January, then there will be an increased cost there. As the document repository gets larger and larger, and takes up more weight on a server, then there is going to be increased data storage costs, basically. They'll be in keeping with other sectors. It won't be astronomical.

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

Where we will find the cost going down is through acquiring the software needed to write the courselets, so that we don't need to go back to the host group to edit and make comments. We've already put that into the budget this year and for next year. It's a piece of software that Patti and Ruth are using. Again, we won't need the host to edit that for us.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

I am looking at the numbers that you, Chief Louie, gave at the start. There are 58 signatories, 32 operational, 18 new approvals, and 65 on the waiting list. There are 32 operational first nations. Is this something they're going to make use of? Or is this mostly for new entrants that are going through the process? If it's ongoing, is this something that eventually, in the future, you're going to have hundreds and hundreds of first nations communities accessing?

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

It's mainly for the operational, although for the developmental first nations that are getting ready to conduct the community vote, there are courselets and materials there to help them. The bulk of the work is to help the operational first nations.

4:15 p.m.

Chairman, First Nations Lands Advisory Board

Chief Robert Louie

If I may, Mr. Chair, I just want to make sure it's clear that there are 37 operational.