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.

9:10 a.m.

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

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

We are tracking all of the projects we're funding. That includes all the partnerships. Partnerships, however, let's keep in mind, are actually between the indigenous community and the promoter or the mine or whatever it is that you have taking place. But we are definitely monitoring, through the reporting they provide to us, how the project is developing and evolving over time.

Partnerships will vary in scope, as we can all imagine. Some of them will have longer tenures, will last longer. They will establish a basis going forward. A mine can be in operation for decades, but if you're dealing with something that's more limited in time, the partnership will be for that moment. At least they can get access to some of those jobs, whereas right now, in some cases, they don't even have access to those jobs, because everything comes from the south, as we were saying.

We're trying to support, through the projects that are funded but also through the trade training that's getting done in the asset network, and trying to provide opportunities for at least some of the members of those indigenous communities to access some of those jobs as much as we can.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

I know this study is about capacity building and retention of talent. What is the capacity of your department? Now that you have an extra $2 billion, what will be the capacity of your department to head out to our most vulnerable people who are looking for jobs, our aboriginal population?

9:10 a.m.

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

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

Basically, we're trying to make sure that they have the capacity to address the issues, as opposed to us. We want to enable them and support them, as opposed to doing it locally for them. Most of the funding we're talking about, the vast majority, is actually going out of the department into the indigenous organizations that are providing the training and trying to support some more projects when we have the next round of proposals coming forward.

What we're doing, in essence, is making sure that they have the capacity internally to actually develop those opportunities by themselves.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Do they have the capacity? Do you know?

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Sorry, MP Waugh, but you are out of time.

We're moving to MP Jenny Kwan.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

Thanks to the officials for their presentation.

This study is about capacity building and retention. I know from reading the information and from your presentation, that there's a focus on youth in particular. I also wonder whether or not with the programming there is a focus for people who may be beyond the age 30 limit, people who are perhaps more established in the communities but who could use support in building their capacity and skills training.

9:15 a.m.

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

Karen Campbell

Yes. Under the new program, we've really worked with indigenous partners to ensure there's that maximum flexibility so they can address their local labour market needs. We have made sure that there's greater flexibility to work with youth. There's no age restriction. These are meant to be complementary supports around staying in school and supporting their learning throughout so that all the systems in communities can work better together. As well, organizations are able to work with existing people in the community who may or may not be employed already and who need to improve their skills to move into new roles, for instance, in community governance or to take advantage of opportunities, and so we are ensuring that that full spectrum of human capacity, of human capital, in communities, can be supported.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

On the issue around retention, what specific programming is in place to help retain skilled individuals in the communities so that they can remain part of that community for the longer term?

9:15 a.m.

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

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

That's a very good question. The programs we're talking about are designed to help people access the labour market. They're not designed so much to help communities to retain people in their communities. It's a valid consideration and we're actually looking forward to the work with communities, because that's an important question. But we're very much focused on providing training and support for people to gain access to the market, to start at least with this.

February 7th, 2019 / 9:15 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

I would think that retention is going to be really important, especially for the more rural and remote communities. As you build the capacity and as people have that capacity if they leave that community, then you're always chasing after the dog, so to speak. Engaging with the local communities to see what work needs to be done and how to do that work most effectively I would think is an important goal as well.

I come from an urban setting where all kinds of people have tremendous challenges as well. There are many levels to skills training. I'm curious to know what level of skills training, including life skills, is provided in the programming. To what extent is that provided? Again, the idea is to meet the needs of the local community as opposed to how we define what that might be.

Can you expand on that issue of life skills training?

9:15 a.m.

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

Karen Campbell

Absolutely. The organizations from the program have the flexibility to provide a full suite of training, including life skills, essential skills, and in some cases some of those pre, pre-skills which are very fundamental and foundational, for people who are very far from the labour market. The new program allows time with 10-year agreements in additional funding where they can take individuals who require multi-year multiple interventions to move along. As well, they are able to provide what we call wraparound supports, whether these be referrals or specific pieces that are required to help individuals to complete their training and then engage in the labour market.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Do you fund bringing people from outside the community into rural and remote communities to provide the training? Those communities may not have the necessary resources in place there. This way you could enhance their training but also bring in outside resources.

9:20 a.m.

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

Karen Campbell

That is up to the organizations themselves. Whether training resources or others, it is eligible if they find they are able to bring them into the community. The flexibility is there for organizations to design their training as they need to. Typically many organizations find it far more useful to bring people into the community to be able to provide training like that on site than to send people away. It's more disruptive to have to move, and it's often more costly. They look at these opportunities and will bring in people to provide training in communities.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Of the additional money going into ISET can you advise how much is expected to go directly to community-based service providers?

9:20 a.m.

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

Karen Campbell

The numbers I gave are all the grants and contributions money and that's all to organizations. That is not the department's money.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

I see. So none of that money will be used for ESDC internally.

9:20 a.m.

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

Karen Campbell

No. Those are the grants and contributions envelopes that go to indigenous organizations to provide employment and skills training.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

I see.

Is any amount of those funds being leveraged with other levels of government, for example, or is there a matching component from, let's say, an employer who gets into the programming and the employer provides a certain contribution in payments to the trainee? Is there any such requirement?

9:20 a.m.

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

Karen Campbell

Under the ISET program there is not a requirement. However, the majority of organizations are very skilled at ensuring they have that continuum across the board so they're able to find them. Under the skills and partnership fund there is a requirement for resources, whether direct investments or any kind of support to learners. That's one of the distinctions between the programs and the way they work.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

You have about 15 seconds.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Okay, thank you very much.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

You'll get another round.

We now move to MP Will Amos.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Thank you.

Thank you very much, Mr. Gauthier and Ms. Campbell. We appreciate your being here today, since you were the only officials who could make it.

As you know, the riding of Pontiac is on Algonquin land, so I'm going to frame my questions in a way I think the Algonquin people would want me to.

Can you explain? When I'm looking at these two programs, the skills and partnership fund and the indigenous skills and employment training program, why is it that the department runs these? I feel as though the band council of Kitigan Zibi would say, “Just give us the money. We will train, thank you very much. We will retain, thank you very much. We will capacity build, thank you very much.” Why is it that it's done out of Ottawa?

9:20 a.m.

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

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

If I can, it's not necessarily done out of Ottawa.

Basically we provide the funding locally to organizations. Your community probably does have currently a service provider that is indigenous. It's probably APNQL serving them, providing service in terms of skills development and employment training. We're basically providing support to various organizations that offer services to different communities.

Communities do have the ability to come to us and say they would like to do it themselves. We are very open to setting up agreements directly with different communities, if that's what they wish to do.

It's much more being supportive and providing them the means to actually do it. It's developing their capacity as opposed to the department's capacity that we're talking about here.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

That's helpful to understand. I appreciate that.

Could I request that information be provided to this committee, just by way of example—I think it would be an interesting case study—so that we can find out what the community of Kitigan Zibi has in the way of a partnership?