This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #19 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was provincial.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Marion Lefebvre  Vice-President, Aboriginal Governance, Institute on Governance
Laura Edgar  Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

11:50 a.m.

Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

Laura Edgar

I don't know if I can answer the question in terms of what resources are available. I think someone from the department would be better placed for that. Certainly, those under the First Nations Land Management Act have the opportunity to manage zoning requirements better and to put in regulations around health and safety for things like gas stations to ensure there aren't emissions that there shouldn't be and things like that. The act allows for the first nation to develop regulations on that front. I can't answer in terms of resources.

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

I have a brief question for you.

Earlier, you talked about this regulation and its introduction. You talked about political interference. Can you tell us more about that?

11:50 a.m.

Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

Laura Edgar

This isn't something specific to first nations. This can be any small community where this becomes an issue. The familiarity of everyone can allow for undue influence on processes and decisions around enforcement and things like that. The more you can separate the regulator and the operator and have a regulatory framework that clearly spells out the steps that need to be taken, the less opportunity there is for individual members to try to influence an outcome.

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Do I still have a minute?

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Yes.

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

I'd like to know if lawyers were called on to validate some of your legal viewpoints when your report was drafted, so as to support your objectives.

11:50 a.m.

Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

Laura Edgar

We were asked to look at it from a broader regulatory perspective. It was not a legal analysis.

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Thank you.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Thank you.

There are a few seconds left, if anybody has any follow-up questions.

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I have a follow-up question.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Make it a short follow-up.

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I think you mentioned this, but there is potential for each first nation to develop and enact its own rules—if they have a first nation final agreement and they opt into the land management act system. Isn't there a potential problem in capacity, and then you don't have national consistency for every first nation?

11:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Aboriginal Governance, Institute on Governance

Marion Lefebvre

I think you're aware that those agreements generally, like this legislation, require adherence with the broader regulation as the baseline for—

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

But there is no federal regulation. That's what you said.

11:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Aboriginal Governance, Institute on Governance

Marion Lefebvre

Usually those agreements, for example, in provinces will at that juncture be applicable to the prevailing provincial legislation. You're absolutely right. It doesn't provide for the opportunity of uniformity. It only provides for, at this point, comparability or above, based on the legislation the signatory to the treaty chooses to exercise. It does not guarantee uniformity between these various administrations.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Thank you.

Mr. Seeback, you have five minutes.

December 8th, 2011 / 11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to go back quickly to something people have been discussing a little bit today under the FNLM regime. You talked about it in your paper, and I was actually able to find it online. You talked about EMAs, and they seem to be a large impediment. Maybe I'm just not understanding what you're saying. What do you propose would be the replacement to EMAs under the FNLM regime?

11:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

Laura Edgar

I'm not sure I actually have a proposal.

When we did this paper, we were not looking at the administration of the act and its process. We were looking, again, at the regulatory options for first nations as they move forward. So I'm not sure I have an option for you there.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

You do talk about certain other approaches to the environmental regulations, and you talk about the regulatory gap. Is there any analysis at all on what the cost would be if the federal government tried to step in and fill those gaps?

11:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

Laura Edgar

No. Our paper did look at some of the costs of implementing a comparable provincial regime, in terms of the cost to have an inspector, how many—I think it was about 60% more in support staff to support that inspector—and those kinds of things. We did look at the huge cost of the inspection and enforcement options of it, but we didn't look at it in terms of how it would play out across the country.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

What were some of the costs, then, when you looked at it on the provincial scale?

11:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

Laura Edgar

For example, in Ontario—and this is, again, four years ago—the salary level for inspectors ranged from $63,000 to $75,000 annually, with benefits on the top. Saskatchewan's range was similar at $59,000 to $72,000. Then there were the travel costs associated with inspections. They varied from $500 per inspection to $1,500 for a fly-in community. So the costs associated are not inconsiderable. And that was with one particular function.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

That's water, right?

11:55 a.m.

Vice-President, Partnerships and International Programming, Institute on Governance

Laura Edgar

That was water, in Ontario only. Because of the expertise required, these are not inexpensive positions to fill and to support.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

You say in your paper as well that there's some disagreement as to whether provincial laws related to land use can be applied on reserve. I take it that has some constitutional and other legislative hurdles. Can you expand any further on that?