School of Policy Studies Graduate Research Papers

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    Raising Literacy in the First Nations' Adult Population in the Context of Labour Market Participation
    (2017-11) Trankovskaya, Anna
    Have you ever struggled to understand a simple job posting? Ever been ashamed of not being able to read as an adult? Luckily for me, I have not. But there are thousands of people in an industrially-developed country like Canada, who have to live with this every day, especially among the Indigenous population. Low levels of literacy in First Nations adult population impede their ability to be employed, receive competing remuneration, have an adequate standard of living, and be actively involved in the community. The purpose of this report is to bring to the forefront the problem of low adult literacy among the First Nations population. More particularly, the paper aims to:
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    Policy Perspectives on First Nations Issues : A Compilation of Essays by Master's Students in the School of Policy Studies, Queen's University
    The papers in Policy Perspectives on First Nation Issues provide a unique and timely snapshot of some of the most pressing policy issues facing Indigenous peoples in Canada, the Government of Canada and all Canadians. Written as part of the Masters of Public Administration (MPA) or the Professional MPA (PMPA) at the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, the student authors conducted in-depth research, going far beyond their course requirements. Most of the papers were written for a Directed Reading Course; one paper was written for a Masters Research Project; and one was written out of interest in the issue. The papers were supervised by Don Drummond and Bob Watts with support by Dr. Rachel Laforest, MPA Program Director, and were edited by Ellen Kachuck Rosenbluth. The inspiration for the essays was the importance of current discussions between First Nations and the Government of Canada on a Government-to-Government relationship, a new fiscal relationship and closing socio-economic gaps. The papers were informed by those discussions and the background challenges that led to the discussions. In turn, it is hoped that this collection might ultimately support the process with the aim of improving the well-being of Canada’s First Nations people.
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    Indigenous Affairs Third-Party Policy - Can it be Improved?
    (2017-11) Sunday, Vaughn
    The Aboriginal peoples of Canada have had a long and checkered past with regard to their fiscal relations with the Government of Canada. The paternalism that has marked this relationship has existed since the 1800’s when church and state used residential schools to try to assimilate the Native people of Canada. The reserve system imposed a stationary lifestyle on Native peoples. The Government was to provide food and lodging on reserves rather than allow the Native people to live off the land. By removing the freedom to move about, Natives had to adjust to living a stationary life rather than following the game or moving the village every five years or so. The Territories of First Nations became far smaller than what they formerly enjoyed because the reserves created boundaries which were not there before contact. Instead the various Tribes had their own system of recognized Territory where a river or landmark might be the end of one Territory and the beginning of another. The elected system was forced onto the First Nations in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. This foreign system of governance, which received funding from the Federal Government, created a reliance on the outside government to provide services to the community. Because the Federal Government controlled the purse strings, the reserve had limited powers to do as they wished. Today, it is widely understood that there is never enough money for First Nations to do all that they wish to do and, in most cases, there are funding shortfalls for such things as building and road maintenance and staffing for local governance. Many of the funding formulas used by the Federal Government have not changed since the 1980’s and 1990’s while some areas within a First Nation community are not funded at all. The education formula, as an example, had been capped since the 1990’s resulting in on-reserve children getting funded at $7,000 per year compared to over $10,000 per year for those off reserve. As a result, the First Nations of Canada are challenged financially to manage their communities and control their budgets as a whole. The current Trudeau government has formally uncapped the education funding and has created a fund for Indigenous languages and culture. This is welcome news to the First Nations of Canada. A significant area of contention between the Government and First Nations involves the Default Prevention and Management Policy (DPMP), which was designed to assist in the delivery and control of federally-funded programs. There are 143 First Nations involved in one of the three levels of intervention under the DPMP. For those in the first level, a Management Action Plan is developed by the First Nation and accepted by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). This plan is meant to assist the First Nation in getting out of deficit. There are 74 First Nations nationally that fall under this section of the policy or 51.7 per cent of those involved. The second level involves a recipient-appointed advisor who works with the First Nation to ensure that there is no recurrence of the problem. There are 61 advisors in place nationally or 42.6 per cent. of those involved in third-party policy. Finally, there are eight First Nations involved in the Third-Party Funding Agreement Management or 5 per cent of the total. These managers are appointed by INAC and ensure the administration of INAC funding. It is by far the most intrusive part of the INAC policy as the fund managers work directly within the First Nation. By region, BC and Alberta have only 8 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively, of their First Nations involved in third-party, indicating good management practices. By contrast, Manitoba is over-represented with 46 or 32 per cent nationally. Ontario is next with 31 First Nations or 21 per cent nationally that are involved in the Third-Party policy. This paper will focus on the Third-Party Management system with an aim to explore the problems of third-party management and possible approaches for improving the policy for First Nations affected by it.
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    First Nations Education: Increasing First Nations PSE Attainment
    (2017-11) Matchett, Taylor
    In the culmination of what was previously an endless stream of barriers put before the Indigenous peoples of Canada, the federal government is finally addressing the need to establish a fundamentally different relationship with the country’s First Nations population. To do this, the Prime Minister of Canada has committed to work with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to forge a Government-to-Government relationship with First Nations. Together they will make moves to close the numerous and persisting socio-economic gaps that exist between First Nations and the general Canadian public, and to establish a reformed and improved fiscal relationship. Moving forward to effect real and positive change for First Nations will require a great deal of transformation in the approaches currently being taken in key areas such as health and wellness, child welfare, justice, and education.2 It is important to note that the reforms needed are not superficial; a 2015 report issued by the Assembly of First Nations highlighted that in the past 18 months four separate international human rights organizations demonstrated that Canada was in violation of its human rights obligations by failing to address the gaps in socio-economic outcomes experienced by its Indigenous population.3 While the areas affecting First Nations in Canada are far-reaching and substantial in number, it is important to analyze each issue deliberately and with meaningful attention to detail. Most importantly, however, the highest value must be placed on recommendations and insights provided by members of First Nations communities themselves as they are best suited to determine what solutions will work best in their individual circumstances. For the purposes of this paper, it is the need for reforms in First Nations’ education that will be considered. More specifically, the gap in enrolment and retention in post-secondary institutions between First Nations’ and the general Canadian public will be examined, with a particular focus on highlighting the practices and innovations that have yielded positive outcomes in recent years at post-secondary institutions in Canada. Prior to turning the attention to those best practices, however, some consideration must be given to understanding the reasons why improving post-secondary education outcomes for First Nations is so imperative, and, importantly, to articulating the severity of the situation at this point so as to further encourage the attempts that have been made thus far. To do this, the concept of education as a socio-economic indicator will be explored, followed by a consideration of the value of reaching the level of post-secondary education for First Nations in comparison with the general Canadian public. The persisting gaps experienced by First Nations that are fostered by the education system at different levels will be highlighted, followed by a review of the best practices and innovations being used at post-secondary institutions within Canada. The report will conclude with a number of recommendations for improvement in several key problem areas. Finally, a note on terminology that will be used over the course of this report: With the absence of available data for some topics concerning First Nations people, there are times when the report refers to data collected that is, instead, describing a trend within the Indigenous population more generally. This will be evident by use of the word ‘Indigenous,’ or by explicitly specifying that the information is describing First Nations people if it is. Further, with the focus of this report on exploring methods to increase enrolment and retention in post-secondary education, the terms ‘post-secondary education’ and ‘tertiary education’ will be used interchangeably.
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    Reconciliation with Indigenous People Through Business and Opportunity
    (2017-11) Loft, Kristen Sara
    True reconciliation cannot occur without acknowledging and addressing the socio-economic gaps between Indigenous people and other Canadians. A nation-to-nation relationship may not be possible under the current socio-economic situation without the support of industry and corporate Canada, provincial and federal government agencies, financial institutions, educational institutions, and local Indigenous governments. Increasing opportunities for Indigenous business to develop and grow would allow for the ability to create self-sustaining communities and create meaningful partnerships within communities. The federal Liberal government has committed to creating a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people in Canada and to reconcile the relationship with Indigenous people by implementing the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations in the Calls to Action and the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the impacts of public policy on Indigenous economic development and wealth creation, and the role they have in business and opportunity for Indigenous peoples – specifically within First Nation communities. This will be done by exploring the current realities of Indigenous people with respect to their socio-economic situation; education policy; their correlation with the Canadian labour force; the impacts of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The paper will identify barriers to Indigenous business and make recommendations for a path forward to reconciliation through business and opportunity. While the issues affecting Indigenous economic development and economic policy are multi-faceted, the importance of reconciliation through business and opportunity are monumental. Roughly one-quarter of all Indigenous people in Canada live on a reserve. For the most part, they are members of a First Nation and considered “status or registered Indians” under the Indian Act. Irrespective of location, status First Nations people make up roughly half of all Indigenous people in Canada. Unlike other identities, status is legally regulated under the Indian Act (CCPA, 2016).