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Historic Meeting of Rupertsland Institute, Employment & Social Development Canada & Service Canada

April 25, 2016, Edmonton, Alberta – Research, Policy and Strategic Partnerships

The Rupertsland Institute (RLI) and representatives of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Service Canada (SC) held a highly productive meeting on Thursday, April 21st that included dialogue on a broad number of issues ranging from how the ongoing economic downturn has affected Métis people, to an analysis of the federal Aboriginal Skills Enhancement and Training Strategy (ASETS).  RLI officials articulated expectations about the upcoming ASETS renewal process and presented recommendations for the next round of the Aboriginal Labour Market Development program.

The meeting, attended by two Associate Deputy Ministers (ADMs) in addition to senior national/regional officials representing ESDC/SC was described as being “historic” by RLI officials.
Lorne Gladu, RLI Chief Executive Officer, in welcoming the government officials stated: ´In my 20 years in this field, we have never met senior officials from the ADM level at ESDC. To have two ADMs here today is a momentous occasion for RLI and the spirit of reconciliation with the Government of Canada.”

The meeting began with introductory remarks by MNA President and RLI Acting Chair, Audrey Poitras, who reminded everyone that the Aboriginal Labour Market Program started as a true partnership between the Indigenous communities and Human Resources Development Canada (ESDC) and that over the past 20 years “I have seen the relationship evolve into a paternalistic process under conservative rule and even more so in the past few years.”

President Poitras proceeded to call on the ESDC/SC to re-establish the partnership between Canada and the Aboriginal community on the basis of trust, transparency and respect.

The old spirit of partnership and openness was evident as participants candidly reviewed the challenges experienced by RLI as a result of administrative over-reach by the Government of Canada and the implementation of a “one-size-fits-all” federal management model that neglects to acknowledge the seniority, transparency and accountability which are the hallmark of the Rupertsland Institute.

Moving forward, RLI recommended that ESDC/SC engage Métis communities in a meaningful consultation process as part of the renewal of ASETS.

In light of the Supreme Court decision on Daniels and in the spirit of reconciliation with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples, the Rupertsland Institute made several recommendations for the next round of ASETS which was noted by the visiting officials.

Both parties agreed to continue the dialogue and to investigate ways to consider a “cross pollination process” that will create a better understanding between the parties.

To learn more about this meeting and Rupertsland Institute recommendations please contact:

Guido Contreras, RLI Associate Director, Research, Policies and Strategic Partnerships