Evidence of meeting #136 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was capacity.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Karen Campbell  Director, Program Policy Division, Indigenous Affairs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development
Jean-Pierre Gauthier  Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development
Yves Robillard  Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, Lib.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Oh, okay.

9:40 a.m.

Director, Program Policy Division, Indigenous Affairs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Karen Campbell

The Auditor General was talking about results reporting and what the department did with those results. I don't want the impression that it was about their financial reporting, because that's very much a different accountability structure.

February 7th, 2019 / 9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Yes, I can see how difficult it is to say that this dollar went in and here is what result came from it. I can see, when it all becomes mixed around, how hard it is to tie the two things together.

There is another thing I'd be interested in knowing, particularly in the case of Rupertsland, which is a very interesting organization. One thing I've had a bit of feedback on from a number of people is that they've had an agreement with Rupertsland.... It's as though they're an apprentice, and Rupertsland says it will cover their tuition and your books.

That happens the first time they go, but it's a four-year program—you go for two months out of the year. The first time everything works fine, but then they seem to become lost in the system, and in the second, third and fourth years the funding doesn't come around again. When they go in, Rupertsland says, “We're not sure. It's a new person; something has changed.”

Is there an appeal process that these individuals can go through? Can they appeal to your organization saying they received an email from Rupertsland saying they would cover tuition and books for all four years, and they covered it for the first year, but they've been having trouble with the second, third and fourth years?

Is there an appeals process of any sort?

9:40 a.m.

Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

We sometimes get cases such as this brought to our attention. Issues in terms of tuition is one that I remember we had as well. It was something similar.

We will inquire, but it's not the kind of relationship that we have. We're not sitting in appeal of their decision.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Is there no appeal process?

9:40 a.m.

Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

We can engage, ask questions and reach out to try to facilitate, but we're not at a decision-making level, at the end of the day. We won't reverse the decision. We just try to make sure that what needs to be done gets done. If it's just a matter of people having to transmit the file over again and so forth, sometimes by just asking questions you resolve the issue.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

The Kee Tas Kee Now are involved in everything from pre-kindergarten stuff all the way to...I think one of their students is going to Harvard right now. It's the whole gamut all the way through.

Is that typical? Do the funds provided by the ISET end up in the day care and the preschool stuff, or would you be funding the guy going to Harvard as well?

9:40 a.m.

Director, Program Policy Division, Indigenous Affairs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Karen Campbell

There are clear parameters around what the funding can be used for. Organizations that receive it are quite familiar with these.

The situation you're talking about, however, arises in a case in which these organizations provide a whole range of services through various funding sources and through different accountabilities. In that way they're able to provide the best resource to their community and to their citizens.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

How many people work for your organization here in Ottawa?

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP Viersen, we'll just make it really quick.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

I need these long minutes. Those are the long minutes.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

I think we're even on that one.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Okay.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We've flipped the page.

With the indulgence of the committee, I have a couple of questions. Maybe you don't even have to reply. You could send the information to us, or if it's available and you know it....

How many of your employers of SPF require a grade 12 education? Typically, in Manitoba just about 100% of employers require grade 12. If you look at graduation rates—of great interest to MP Waugh and me, as former school trustees—you see this becomes a huge barrier.

Can you give us an impression of what the graduation rate is? A band has both members on the reserve and 70% off. What is the graduation rate of students who complete on reserve versus students who complete off reserve?

ESDC has funds for training. Those funds were frozen from 1999 until 2015 or 2016. Could you give an indication of how much that was and how much it is now?

9:45 a.m.

Director, Program Policy Division, Indigenous Affairs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Karen Campbell

Those funds for the entire strategy were $292 million, starting in 1999.

In 2016-17, we received additional money in the budget, $5 million for year one and $10 million for year two, to look at some pilots through innovative approaches while we were pursuing active engagement around the future of the program.

Additionally, the department found through internal resources enough money to make the total an additional $50 million which went into the program for those two years. That wasn't money in the strategy, in fact. Those were time-limited resources. Also, when the budget announcement in 2018 provided new resources, they were able to stabilize those time-limited resources and then provide additional money at year five. It's about $100 million more.

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

That should make a difference.

The public believes that the unemployment rate for indigenous people is within a few percentage points of the national average. However, if you're not fully engaged in looking for work, you fall off of the statistics. Can you give us an impression of how many people are looking for work, indigenous people on reserve versus in an urban setting? I think the word is “underemployed” or “non-engaged”. These are individuals who want to work but don't have an opportunity, and then statistically we lose them.

How many people would actually like to be in the workforce in Canada but unfortunately are not? Do you want to provide that in writing?

9:45 a.m.

Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Sorry about this. I like statistics.

Finally, we have this situation for apprenticeship where many bands send members off to get trained. Apprenticeship requires a work component, and in that work component, they'd have to go to where the work is, which often, in my experience, is in central Canada. In Manitoba and Ontario, they come from isolated reserves with few opportunities, so they'll have to go to an urban centre for the work experience.

Does the department provide wraparound services for the apprenticeship work component so that they can get out and do that?

9:45 a.m.

Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

It is an eligible expenditure, so depending on—

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Ineligible or eligible?

9:45 a.m.

Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

It is eligible; they can do it. They assess the case. Again, they have a customized plan for each individual. If it involves wraparound services while the person is in Toronto, for example, giving some hands-on work experience, it is possible for them to use the resources they have to provide those services and that support.

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

That would have to come out of the pool of money that they get.

9:45 a.m.

Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

All right. That's it for me.

I wish to thank you so much for your participation. It sounds like you have increased your activities. On the ground, I've heard good things. As a general comment, of course, there are always things that need to be improved. We see from graduation to employment, it's obviously dramatically improved. Continue your good work.

On behalf of the committee, thank you so much for being flexible and coming to our committee.

9:45 a.m.

Director General, Indigenous Programs Directorate, Department of Employment and Social Development

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

It has been our pleasure.