Category Archives: 2017: IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue

Upcoming Live Webcast: Engaging Indigenous Governments and Businesses in the Canadian Economy


The IPAC Saskatchewan Regional Group is pleased to invite you to a live webcast:

Engaging Indigenous Governments and Businesses is the Canadian Economy


KellyKelly Lendsay - Indigenous Works Lendsay, President and CEO of Indigenous Works, asks “Why do First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities continue to be excluded from the mainstream economy?” Canada’s GDP could grow by $270 billion and social remedial costs reduced when Indigenous peoples attain the same levels of education and employment. The benefits to be gained on all sides are clear, yet there remains a great divide between Indigenous businesses and organizations and corporate Canada.

Indigenous Works has just completed baseline research that provides new insights into the current state of relationships between major Canadian businesses and Indigenous peoples.  Kelly Lendsay will present the study’s findings, and discuss the role that all governments and others can play in bridging the divide and fostering beneficial partnerships.

Webcast moderated by: Christian Kittleson, Associate Partner – Ernst & Young – Victoria Practice Lead – Government & Public Sector Advisory

June 28, 2017

Second Floor Boardroom 210 at 2 Research Drive, University of Regina

IPAC Sask Annual General Meeting: 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Webcast: 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Networking and refreshments to follow

Hors d’oeurves will be served. Cash bar.

$10 non-member, free for members.  Pay at door (cash only).  Registration required by June 26, 2017 to

Please note that the IPAC Saskatchewan Regional Group Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be taking place just prior to the webcast at 3:30 pm.  Non-members are welcome to attend the AGM but cannot vote.  The webcast will begin promptly at 4:00 pm.

Indigenous Works logo


Book Review – Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours)

Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours) by Harold R. Johnson

University of Regina Press, 2016

Firewater CoverOver the last several years, the University of Regina Press has published a number of books dealing with the history of and current challenges facing Indigenous Peoples. From Clearing the Plains to The Education of Augie Merasty to Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours), U of R Press has brought forth three national bestsellers that present stories of both abject horror and ultimate hope for the future. In honour of 2017: IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue, we are presenting reviews of these important works.

Released in 2016, Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours) is Harold Johnson’s testimony to a problem he passionately and in a deeply personal way argues has taken and is taking a devastating toll on the lives and communities of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Johnson writes from the perspective of a Cree Crown Prosecutor working in Northern Saskatchewan with direct experience of the problem. The book is a direct and clearly heartfelt plea for Indigenous People (and indeed all Canadians) to take a deep and serious look at the role of alcohol in their lives. The book also asks for a re-examination and re-definition of the stories that have been told (and are being told) that continue to create beliefs that no longer serve a healthy purpose in the lives of Indigenous Peoples.

“This small book is a conversation between myself and my relatives, the Woodland Cree.  Its purpose is to begin a discussion about the harmful impacts of alcohol consumption and to address the extreme death rate directly connected to the use of alcohol in our Northern Saskatchewan communities.”

Harold R. Johnson

I must state for the record that I am not an Indigenous Person; indeed, I am kiciwamanawak. This is the first book in which I have encountered this Cree term for Non-Indigenous People. Firewater is full of Cree vocabulary like this along with traditional narratives that Harold Johnson utilizes to illustrate how powerful stories can be in defining both a people and an individual. This use of Cree terminology and traditional stories is a key element of Firewater that made the book such a powerful read for me.

As I was reading, it was never far from my consciousness that I was consuming this book as kiciwamanawak and that I would have to take great care to try and suspend some of the ingrained stories that I hold dear that have shaped my own beliefs and with which I live my life. In the end, I discovered some new facts not only about an important issue for the future of Saskatchewan but also something about myself – something about stories and the power they have over our destinies. Although I am kiciwamanawak, the book became deeply personal to me in a way that I could not have imagined when I first picked it up. Indeed, I have read and internalized Harold Johnson’s words and I believe that they are tremendously helpful. I hope to use them in a good way.

“I speak, however, only to my people, the Woodland Cree.  I have no right to speak to anyone else.  But if you hear my words and if these words help you, then take them and use them in a good way.  If you cannot use them in a good way, then leave them here.”

Harold R. Johnson

I could go on and restate the facts outlined in the book (as many other reviewers have) regarding how alcohol and its use is causing dire problems in the lives of Indigenous (and also Non-Indigenous) Peoples across Saskatchewan and Canada. I could quote the statistics regarding accidents, violence, and death that Harold Johnson provides. But those cold, hard facts are only the foundation of the book and a way to scope and size the problem. What I think is much more important about Firewater is the argument that weaves its way throughout that stories and the way that they have been adopted and have formed a set of beliefs about alcohol is the core problem that needs to be addressed. Johnson presents the case that these stories and the beliefs that they perpetuate are the real root of the problem and that Indigenous Peoples need to take back control of their stories in order to find a better, healthier way forward. This strikes me as a very compelling argument for all people whose lives are being negatively impacted by alcohol (or any other negative influence for that matter). We all need to become mindful of and take back control of the stories that we believe and hold dear.

“We can live any story that we want.  We can live a romance, or a tragedy, or a comedy, or a mystery, or a fantasy, or a fable, or a fairytale.  We can decide which story we want to be in and tell it to ourselves.  The only limit on our ability to choose our own story is the story into which we are born.  We have all been raised in a particular story.  When we recognize it as story, it loses its power.  This is especially true of victim stories.  All of what we refer to as ‘society’ is the story that we tell ourselves about ourselves.”

Harold R. Johnson

There is a message here for all people – what stories are we living out in our lives? Do they serve a healthy and uplifting purpose? Even if we believe that we are living out healthy stories, are we actually living consistently with them? For example, Harold Johnson cites the behaviour of legal teams that fly into Northern Saskatchewan to deal with alcohol-related problems, subsequently putting people in jail, and then getting back on a plane loaded with booze for their trip back home. As a result, there is also a message here for all kiciwamanawak public servants who are tasked with attempting to deal with and help contribute solutions to the problems that are facing Indigenous Peoples – deeply consider the stories that we are living by and whether or not they are also part of the problem.

Book review by Christopher Malnyk, IPAC Saskatchewan Communications Chair.


The following is an interview with Harold R. Johnson on his book Firewater from CBC Radio’s “The Next Chapter”:



Learning to Learn: Civil Servants and the Real Challenge of Reconciliation

Dr. Ken Coates

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples has emerged – at long last – as a national priority. The Government of Canada under Prime Minster Trudeau has made improving relations with Aboriginal Canadians a “whole of government” commitment. The underlying issues are numerous and substantial, ranging from widespread poverty, housing crises in many communities, cultural loss, to local economic development and major issues with local infrastructure.  For federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments there is a substantial list of urgent needs and conflicting priorities.  For Indigenous governments, many with growing administrative responsibilities and increased financial resources, the challenges are even more pressing.


The national commitment to reconciliation places major responsibilities on the backs of the country’s civil servants. Indeed, substantial and sustained reconciliation is impossible without the deep engagement of the civil service with the rebuilding of relationships with Indigenous peoples. Given the fundamental importance of government social service programs, community infrastructure development, policing, environmental assessment, fire protection and safety, education and health services, and other areas of engagement, civil servants clearly play a significant role in working with Indigenous communities and enhancing quality of life outcomes.  At this point, where many civil servants have limited engagement with Indigenous issues, the basic reality is that the profession needs to learn how to learn about Indigenous peoples, communities and public policy issues.

In many governments, particularly those (like the Government of Canada) that have adopted a “whole of government” approach to Indigenous affairs, many civil servants have some responsibility for Indigenous issues. These are important obligations.  Successful civil servants contribute substantially to the resolution and management of vital issues that range from health care provision and road construction to resource development and constitutional affairs. At the same time, civil servants who are poorly prepared for work with communities, who do not understand cultural protocols or appreciate the nature and responsibilities of Indigenous governments, add to inter-governmental difficulties and slow development projects.

Civil servants, many finding their work intersecting with numerous Indigenous communities, face the challenge of developing cross-cultural skills, an understanding of the affected Indigenous peoples and the managerial abilities needed to engage effectively with diverse communities. They need to be alert to the fast changing political and legal developments in Indigenous affairs while also being aware of the legacy of generations of paternalism and colonialism that shapes Indigenous understanding of the role and values of the Canadian civil service.  Working successfully with Indigenous organizations, in other words, can be difficult and professionally risky, particularly if a particular government unit involved does not have a history of successful collaboration and outreach.

Canadians look to their governments to provide role models for the effective application of national and sub-national policy priorities. This was the case with bilingualism, with the federal civil service setting the standard for the development of inclusive French-language services.  Federal and provincial governments showed the way on Canadian multiculturalism, both by hiring employees from diverse backgrounds, building awareness of cultural differences into their service delivery models, and promoting multi-cultural engagement generally.  The civil service should be, but is not in the main, using government innovation with information technology to pave the way for greater technology application across the country as a whole.  The civil service can shape the national character, but it is not inevitable that they will do so.

The country will – and should – look to the Canadian civil service for leadership on reconciliation. The political arm of government can address most of the ceremonial and high profile elements of rebuilding relations with Indigenous peoples. The civil service is called to convert promises and commitments into core government actions.  This will necessitate greater employment of Indigenous workers, new styles of collaboration and consultation with Indigenous communities, widespread integration of Indigenous issues into program and departmental activities, and outreach to Indigenous organizations.  Staff training and professional development should involve much more engagement with Indigenous governments and communities and not just conversations about Indigenous issues.  Civil servants need to visit Indigenous settlements or urban facilities so that they get a personal sense of the achievements and challenges facing the communities.

There is a test for the civil service and it is one, sadly, where progress has been slow. For more than a generation, Indigenous leaders have argued that they should be recognized as an additional level of government.  Many Indigenous communities are functioning as governments. Indigenous administrations, typically reporting to a Chief and Council, manage government funds, hire and train staff members, develop policies, raise income (including taxes in some instances), supervise the construction and maintenance of infrastructure, and provide a variety of community-level services.  Their work shares a fair bit in common with municipal or regional governments, but also with elements of provincial/territorial and even federal responsibilities.  In other words, Indigenous administrations look like governments, act like governments, and have civil service employees, like all governments.

The Canadian civil service, through its professional associations, conferences, and organizations, has to reach out to their Indigenous colleagues, to share resources, to learn from each other, and to improve collective understanding of Canadian governance issues.   Some organizations have reached out and broadened their understanding of government and the civil service to incorporate Indigenous communities, although the engagement has typically been through the discussion of Indigenous issues more than active participation with Indigenous civil servants and governments.  This is, for the Canadian civil service, an early and obvious test of their openness to real reconciliation.  Treating Indigenous governments and their employees as part of the Canadian civil service community – not coopting them culturally or institutionally – but as professional colleagues whose work intersects and whose presence in the country is a force for good and effective governance.  Civil services cannot encourage reconciliation between Indigenous and other Canadians unless it takes the first step and reaches out to Indigenous governments in an effort to find and expand common ground.

Little real cross-cultural learning will take place if civil services deal with Indigenous peoples and communities as a “problem” or interact with Indigenous governments only at a conceptual and policy-level. Working at the policy level with Indigenous issues is categorically different than interacting with Indigenous colleagues, visiting their communities, and partnering on policy development.   The Canadian civil service can lead reconciliation in Canada, but it will require a commitment to learning from Indigenous Canadians and an acceptance of Indigenous governments as being integral to the governance system in Canada.

Dr. Ken Coates is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan and is a Munk Senior Fellow, Macdonald-Laurier Institute

2017: IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue Interview with Dr. Marie Delorme


Dr. Marie Delorme

This week, ImPACt SK talks to Dr. Marie Delorme about her perspective on IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue.  Dr. Delorme is CEO of The Imagination Group of Companies. She serves on the RCMP Foundation Board, River Cree Enterprises Board, the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, the Alberta Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy, and The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. She is also an advisor to two Universities.

She has received the Indspire Award in Business and Commerce; and was named as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Dr. Delorme has also received the University of Calgary Dr. Douglas Cardinal Award; Alberta Chamber of Commerce Business Award of Distinction; Calgary Chamber of Commerce Salute to Excellence Award, and Métis Nation Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.

Dr. Delorme holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University, and PhD from the University of Calgary.  Her research focuses on inter-cultural leadership.

ImPACt SK:  Dr. Delorme, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us about your perspective on and your experiences with the call for Reconciliation and Dialogue within Canadian society.  To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself and how the legacy of Residential Schools in Canada has impacted your life?

Dr. Delorme: The dark legacy of the residential schools has far reaching impacts on all Canadians, as the objectives of this ill-conceived system were to dismantle families and assimilate Indigenous people into the dominant culture. When families and social systems are disrupted; when political and faith-based laws and policies encourage racism and isolation, every member of society is touched in some way. As a young person, I was aware that society did not readily accept Indigenous people. Being the child of a white mother and Métis father; and thus belonging to a group that did not fit with either culture, brings unique challenges relating to identity and self-esteem.

ImPACt SK:  As you know, IPAC has deemed 2017 to be the National Year of Dialogue for Renewing Relationships with Indigenous People.  With respect to public service professionals (whom IPAC represents), one of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was to “…call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations.  This will require skills-based training and intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”  In your consulting practice, you’ve worked with many different public sector institutions.  Why do you think that it is vital to successfully address this particular Call to Action?

Dr. Delorme: Although UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and TRC have been extensively covered by media, as was the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report published in 1996, there is a general lack of awareness amongst most Canadians. We live in an era of news sound bites and messaging in 140 characters. Unfortunately, this leaves little room for the important in-depth conversations necessary to fully understand the history of Indigenous peoples. It is important for those in public service to understand how the past impacts the present and to develop cultural competencies. Educating public servants is one step in developing respectful government-to-government partnerships and ensuring that culturally relevant and respectful policies and programs redress the legacy of residential schools and make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous people.

ImPACT SK: Are there any examples of reconciliation and good relationships that you have seen that can serve as lessons for all of us working in the public service?  What are those lessons?

Dr. Delorme: Federal and provincial governments have entered into agreements and memorandums of understanding with Indigenous governments. Those relationships that focus on education are particularly important to ensure that Indigenous children receive the same opportunities as all children and have access to the same kinds of supports as all Canadian youth. There are some great examples across the country where communities have taken control of their education system. When history, language, and culture informs curriculum, children develop a solid foundation for learning. Corporate Canada and NGOs are discussing the TRC Calls to Action. Partnerships for economic and community development exist in great numbers across the country; these partnerships flourish when the relationship is mutually beneficial in every sense.

ImPACt SK: In terms of building new relationships, what do you think is required of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous public service professionals for them to be supportive of each other in the spirit of Reconciliation? What will it take to get there?

Dr. Delorme: It took generations to get where we are today; hopefully the process of reconciling does not take generations. The formula is simplistic but the process is complex. The new relationship must be based on first acknowledging the past and the inter-generational impacts of over 100 years of ill-conceived policies, laws, and social experiments. Apologies have been made and some reparation established. But the real work is just beginning in recognizing Indigenous constitutional, legal, and human rights; and to engage in mutually respectful and cooperative partnerships.

ImPACt SK: In your experience, what are the opportunities or the barriers to building new relationships? How will we know when we are on the right track in building these positive relationships and when we are not?

Dr. Delorme: We will know that progress is being made when the most critical issues facing many Indigenous people are addressed. These include low levels of high school and post-secondary completion; inadequate housing and crowded living conditions; lower income levels; health indicators that are lower that national averages; and high youth suicide rates.

ImPACt SK: How do you think that these new relationships can lead to positive collaboration and partnerships?

Dr. Delorme: See above

ImPACt SK: You have worked in both large organizations and small ones and have consulted in both the private and public sectors.  Do you see any particular type of organization or sector as having made significant progress with respect to Reconciliation and new relationships?

Dr. Delorme: Generally, the organizations that are engaging with Indigenous communities are those who have regional economic or political interests. It is not surprising that the resource, financial, and utility sectors have mandates, policies, and processes relating to engaging with Indigenous people. Supreme Court and lower court decisions dating back almost 2 decades have focused on the duty to consult. That duty is triggered if there is a chance that there may be an adverse impact on a community’s rights and traditional uses. It is not surprising then that almost every project impacting the land, air, and water affects the interest of at least one Indigenous community.

ImPACt SK:  What do you think First Nation, Metis and Inuit governments need and expect from new relationships in order to help them grow and achieve excellence in the delivery of programs and services to their citizens / members?

Dr. Delorme: Indigenous people in Canada are not a homogeneous group. Hundreds of distinct cultures, languages, ways of knowing and being mean that the relationship is built with each group in a way that respects their unique protocols and practices. However, some fundamental ideologies for those relationships include core principles of respect, equality, and the preservation of Indigenous languages and culture. Foundational to this process are renewed nation-to-nation relationships between federal, provincial, and Indigenous governments.

ImPACt SK: To what extent are you hopeful that Reconciliation and Dialogue will lead to a better future in Canada?  What makes you feel this way?

Dr. Delorme: Hope for the future lies in lessons from the past. Against all odds Indigenous people have survived. This speaks to great resilience in the face of unimaginable suffering. I see a future where survival is replaced by thriving. Where racism is replaced not by tolerance but by embracing and celebrating diversity. Where language and culture inform the fundamental identity of our young people. Today, despite the social and economic disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in our country, there is another story that is rarely told. Over 30,000 of our people are in post-secondary institutions; over 40,000 are entrepreneurs; we are academics, scientists, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and business people. This is the future I envision. This is reconciliation.

ImPACT SK: Dr. Delorme, thank you once again for taking time to talk to us here at ImPACT SK.  We greatly appreciate you sharing your experiences and thoughts with us as we move forward into this new era of Reconciliation and Dialogue.

IPAC National Officially Announces the 2017 National Year of Dialogue


January 10, 2017

A nation-wide initiative bringing Canadian public administrators together with First Nation, Metis and Inuit government officials and leaders for shared learning is being launched this week by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC).

The National Year of Dialogue for Reconciliation and Renewed Relationships is a series of national and regional events to create opportunities for colleagues to learn from one another, to talk about what a renewed relationship could mean, and to establish new networks and working relationships. Events will also contribute to the fulfillment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action for the education of public servants.

“As Canada celebrates its 150th year, this is a meaningful way to contribute to the unfinished business of Confederation – by acknowledging the progress being made, learning from the past, and helping to develop better future working relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments.” – David Morhart, President

“IPAC is pleased to be able to bring its unique strengths, commitment, pan-Canadian network of public administrators, and academic and private sector partners to support the development of improved relationships with Indigenous governments and organizations: relationships built on respect, cooperation and partnership.” – Robert Taylor, Chief Executive Officer

IPAC is Canada’s leading network of municipal, provincial/territorial and federal public servants, academics, and other partners who care about public service excellence. A non-profit, strictly non-partisan organization, with 19 volunteer chapters located in every province and territory across the country, IPAC supports public administrators at all levels of government to do a better job at what they do – through training, conferences, scholarly research and the promotion of best practices and innovation through publications and prestigious awards.

More information about the National Year of Dialogue, including a list of coming events is available at:

Or contact:

Catherine MacQuarrie, Senior Executive in Residence

Indigenous Government Programs, IPAC

JSGS Public Workshop: The Relationship Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People

On March 7, 2017, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy will be holding a public workshop on The Relationship Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People at the University of Regina campus.  In the spirit of 2017: IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue, we proud to promote this workshop to all IPAC Saskatchewan members interested in learning more about the past, present, and future relationships between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada made the following Call to Action which this workshop supports:

“We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations.  This will require skills-based training and intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”

Post-Secondary Education in Canada: A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

On December 12, 2016, Vianne Timmons (President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina and Peter Stoicheff (President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan) published a policy brief titled “Post-Secondary Education in Canada: A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada” through the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

The brief outlines what universities across Canada (in particular the universities of Regina and Saskatchewan) are doing to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action dealing with post-secondary issues facing Aboriginal people:

  • “We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”
  • “We call upon the federal government to eliminate the discrepancy in federal education funding for First Nations children being educated on reserves and those First Nations children being educated off reserves.”
  • “Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.”
  • “We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation.”


On June 2, 2015, Justice Murray Sinclair released the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action.  It was a landmark moment in truth telling and reconciliation between Aboriginal1 and non-Aboriginal people in our country, and one at which many Canadians joined those who had already been mobilized around supporting Aboriginal peoples in Canada.   

Many universities responded to the Calls to Action by making public statements and looking inward at their institutions.  This introspection was necessary and needs to continue. But most importantly, there needs to be action taken on multiple fronts in universities across Canada.

Simply put, one cannot dispute the post-secondary educational gap that exists between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal youth – a gap that has been caused in many cases by funding deficiencies as well as deeply rooted social and economic issues within Aboriginal communities resulting from Canada’s treatment of Aboriginal people over the past 150 years.  According to the 2006 Census, a significant difference in university completion rates was noted between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adults.  This had not changed much by the 2011 Census. It reported less than half (48%) of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 had a post-secondary qualification. By comparison, about two thirds (65%) of non-Aboriginal people in the same age group had a postsecondary qualification, a difference of 17 percentage points. The policy issue is how universities in Canada can become part of the solution that addresses the deeply rooted social and economic challenges faced by many Aboriginal people.

— Introduction to “Post-Secondary Education in Canada: A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada”


IRPP Releases Report on Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the Possibility of Reconciliation

irpp_logoOn November 17, 2016, the Institute for Research on Public Policy released a report by David Newhouse entitled Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the Possibility of Reconciliation.  The report highlights an independent view of progress that has been achieved since the 1970’s, what will be required for true reconciliation to occur, and the importance of Canada’s public leaders to spearhead reconciliation efforts.

Reconciliation is now a Canadian political project that is moving from words to action. Its origins are in the 1998 Statement of Reconciliation, delivered by Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Jane Stewart in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The statement framed reconciliation as an “ongoing process” and “a process of renewal.” It has taken almost two decades — from the 1998 Statement of Reconciliation, to the 2008 Statement of Apology for Indian Residential Schools, to the December 2015 release of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) — for this project to become an important part of the Canadian public policy landscape.

The framing of the recommendations of the TRC as calls to action was a brilliant move that created a policy frame for Canadians, their governments and their institutions to use to guide concrete efforts toward reconciliation. A large number of governments, agencies and organizations are now taking steps to address particular calls to action within their mandates.

Should we be optimistic? I believe that, more than at any other time in Canadian history, we should. Of course, huge challenges lie ahead. Tackling them means we will have to confront our history, our governance processes and our understandings of Indigenous peoples and their capacity to govern themselves. The challenge rests with public policy-makers and educators, in particular.

— David Newhouse from “Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the possibility of Reconciliation”

The following infographic summarizes the main pillars of reconciliation (Source:



Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future

In July 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report.  The following link is to a summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.


Public servants, administrators, and leaders throughout Canada who are interested in better understanding the history of residential schools, the impact that these schools had on Indigenous peoples, the ongoing legacy of this history, and what should be done for our collective future should take the time to familiarize themselves with the content of this report summary.

Together, Canadians must do more than just talk about reconciliation; we must learn how to practice reconciliation in our everyday lives — within ourselves and our families, and in our communities, governments, places of worship, schools, and workplaces.  To do so constructively, Canadians must remain committed to the ongoing work of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships.  – Truth and Reconciliation Final Report

Renewing relationships with Indigenous Peoples: IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue 2017


Municipalities, provincial governments, federal departments, universities and others are mobilizing across the country in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and the commitments of political leaders to enter into new and better relationships with Indigenous peoples: relationships built on recognition, respect and partnership.

IPAC will contribute to the development of these relationships with a year-long focus on dialogue and learning in 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The nation-wide project consists of a series of regional dialogues between public servants, administrators and leaders of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit government and institutions, focussed on one key question: How can we, as a public administration community, transform ourselves and in the spirit of reconciliation, support better relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments and people?

The goal is not simply to have an event, but to create the foundation for ongoing relationships through shared learning, collaboration and partnership.

In particular, the National Year of Dialogue aims to achieve or make substantial progress toward:

  • Greater awareness by public servants across all governments about the issues and challenges facing Indigenous peoples, and why
  • Better understanding by non-Indigenous public servants about their professional roles and responsibilities in regards to Indigenous peoples
  • Greater awareness within the Indigenous community of IPAC and the role it can play in helping build relationships and networks, and in sharing expertise
  • Opportunities for future projects and partnerships.

The aim is to have one dialogue session in every province and territory organized and hosted by IPAC Regional Groups, their local universities and private sector partners, as well as a national event held in association with IPAC’s National Conference in August 2017 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.


The IPAC Saskatchewan Regional Group will be participating in this initiative throughout 2017.  ImPACt Sask will be publishing articles, interviews, and stories of interest throughout 2017 that will shed more light on this important year of dialogue.