Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 14 - Evidence - March 28, 2012
OTTAWA, Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples met this day at 6:46 p.m. to examine and report on the federal government's constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, and on other matters generally relating to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada (topic: the Metis in Canada).
Senator Gerry St. Germain (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: I call the meeting to order. Good evening. I would like to welcome all honourable senators and members of the public who are watching this meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples either on CPAC or the web.
I am Gerry St. Germain from British Columbia, and I have the honour and privilege of chairing this wonderful committee.
The mandate of this committee is to examine legislation and matters relating to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada generally. Today we will hold the second meeting in which we explore Metis issues, particularly those relating to the evolving legal and political recognition of the collective identity and rights of the Metis in Canada.
The early meetings on this study will consist of briefings from various government departments who will provide us with information including facts on current federal programs and services, the status of Crown-Metis relations, general statistical information and current legal issues, among other things.
This evening we will be privileged to hear from representatives of Statistics Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
Before we hear our witnesses, I would like to introduce the committee members who are present tonight.
They are Senator Nick Sibbeston from the Northwest Territories, Senator Lovelace Nicholas from New Brunswick, Senator Campbell from British Columbia, Senator Munson from Ontario, Senator Meredith from Ontario and Senator Demers Quebec.
Members of the committee, please help me in welcoming our witnesses from Statistics Canada, Jane Badets, Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics; François Nault, Director, Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division; and Cathy Connors, Assistant Director, Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division. Joining Statistics Canada on the panel is Human Resources and Skills Development Canada represented by James Sutherland, Acting Director General, Aboriginal Affairs Directorate, Skills and Employment Branch.
Jane Badets, Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada: I would like to thank the committee for inviting Statistics Canada to present to you today. I will be speaking about the Metis in Canada and the data we collect on the Metis.
I will not give you my entire written presentation. I will take a little longer than five minutes, but I think it is important that we present to you key information that we have about Aboriginal peoples in Canada, with a particular focus on the Metis. The information I will present is based on our most recent data, which is the 2006 census and the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey.
In the time that I have allotted, I cannot cover all the information, so I will highlight just a few areas. One of the key messages I will present today are that there are different ways of identifying Aboriginal peoples in Statistics Canada data, and I will highlight the different questions that can be used to identify them. I will highlight the continuing growth of the Metis population; recent work we have done on Aboriginal projections, including projections of the Metis population; and where Metis live. While they live right across this country, they are more likely to live in metropolitan areas. In terms of age, the Metis population it is a younger population than the non-Aboriginal population.
On page 3 of our presentation we see that there is no commonly accepted definition of Metis. Statistics Canada uses self-reporting to identify the Metis population. In other words, our counts of Metis are based on self-identification, that is, Canadians choosing to self-identify as Metis in one of the questions that we ask about the Aboriginal population. There are many different ways of identifying the Aboriginal population in our data. Ancestry refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of a person's ancestors; Aboriginal identity asks whether you are an Aboriginal person, that is, Inuit, Metis or North American Indian. People can also indicate if they are members of a First Nation and if they are registered or treaty Indians as defined by the Indian Act.
All of our data is self-reported. It is respondents deciding how best to answer the questions as they apply to their situation.
On slide 4 we show the number of Aboriginal people in Canada, and it does differ by the concept you use. In 2006, about 1.2 million people identified themselves as an Aboriginal person. This is somewhat lower than the number who said that they have an Aboriginal ancestry, which is about 1.7 million. Between 600,000 and 700,000 people say that they are registered Indians or members of a First Nation. The final two bars on this chart show that in 2006, 409,000 reported that they had ancestors who were Metis and about 390,000 self-identified as Metis in the census.
Those with Metis ancestry represent about one quarter of the total Aboriginal ancestry population, and those who self-identified as Metis represent about one third of the total Aboriginal identity population.
On page 5 we show the rate of growth for the different Aboriginal groups between 2001 and 2006 and we look at the factors that are playing a part of this growth and try to quantify these factors.
The Aboriginal population, as we know, is growing faster than the non-Aboriginal population. The Metis population is the fastest growing of the Aboriginal groups. From 2001 to 2006, the Metis population increased by 33 per cent. Fertility is high among the Aboriginal groups, and that is generally represented by the light blue part of the bars but, as you can see, there are other factors.
For Metis, relatively high birth rates continue to contribute to the growth, at 7 per cent, but a large part of the growth between 2001 and 2006 was not related to demographic factors but due to other factors, namely, more people are identifying as Metis over time. This is a concept that we sometimes use called ethnic mobility. It means that increased numbers over time are choosing to self-identify as an Aboriginal person. In this case it is Metis in the census.
On slide 6 we show some projections that we have done of the Metis population. The actual numbers are from 1996 to 2006. We are projecting based on two scenarios, and the scenarios differ in their ethnic mobility assumption, which are either nil or constant based on what we observed between 1996 and 2006. We assume in these projections that the difference in fertility level between Metis and non-Aboriginals is constant over time. We see that the Metis population practically doubled between the 1996 and the 2006 census. Since this population has only slightly higher fertility than non-Aboriginal people and international migration is not contributing to the growth significantly, the primary growth factor of this population over the period seems most likely to have been what we call intergenerational ethnic mobility, that is, changes in the reporting of your identity during a lifetime.
If we look into the future in our projections, if intergenerational ethnic mobility were to continue at the same rate over the coming years — and this is the broken red line on the graph — the Metis population could total over 850,000 in 2031. If, however, intergenerational ethnic mobility were nil — and this is the solid red line on the graph — the Metis population would reach just over 500,000 in 2031.
Slide 7 shows where the Metis reside in Canada. Alberta was home to the largest number of Metis, followed by Ontario and Manitoba. However, Metis made up the largest share of the population in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2006, 6 per cent of Manitobans reported that they were Metis, as did 5 per cent of people in Saskatchewan.
Slide 8 shows the Canadian cities with the largest number of Metis residents. Winnipeg had the largest Metis population, followed by Edmonton and Vancouver, and the Metis living in the 10 cities on the chart accounted for 37 per cent of the total Metis population.
On slide 9 we see that the Aboriginal population is younger than the non-Aboriginal population. The median age for the total Aboriginal population is 26.5 years compared to 39.7 years for the non-Aboriginal population. Median age is the point where exactly one half of the population is older and the other half is younger. Inuit was the youngest group among the Aboriginal groups and Metis was also young, with a median age of 29.5 years.
On slide 10 we see that the Metis living in Quebec had the highest median age, 37 years, and the lowest median age for the Metis was in Saskatchewan, at 25.5 years, followed by the median age of those living in Alberta, at 27.1 years.
On slide 11 we deal with harvesting. We have a bit of information on that and I have noted it was one of the topics that the committee was covering. We have some information from the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey that asked adults if they harvested country food in the previous 12 months. Among Metis, 15 per cent reported hunting, 40 per cent reported fishing, 29 per cent reported gathering wild plants and 2 per cent reported trapping. At the same time, 45 per cent of the Metis did not participate in any of these activities in the past year. The respondents could list more than one activity.
The survey also asked the reasons respondents engaged in these activities. For example, of the Metis who said they had hunted in the past 12 months, 91 per cent said they had hunted for food. For 65 per cent it was for pleasure. That gives you a sense of that information.
To conclude the presentation, I would like to note that we will have more updated information coming in this year. In the fall we will be releasing information from the 2011 census on languages, including Aboriginal languages, and in 2013 we will be releasing information from the 2011 National Household Survey as well as the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey.
In the appendices of our presentation I have provided some additional information about Metis that may be of interest to the committee.
Thank you. We would be pleased to answer your questions.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Badets.
James Sutherland, Acting Director General, Aboriginal Affairs Directorate, Skills and Employment Branch, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: On behalf of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to speak with you today on issues respecting the recognition of the collective identity and rights of the Metis in Canada. HRSDC maintains positive relations with many Metis organizations and views the Metis in Canada as important partners in social and economic progress.
I must say that it is a bit of a challenge to follow Statistics Canada, and I truly hope that all the statistics I mention in my presentation match exactly what is in theirs. It is a challenge in this field.
As we are all aware, the Canadian economy is undergoing significant changes. We recognize that the growth and decline of industries, and changes to the way work is conducted through the introduction of new technologies are creating new and growing skill and labour demands.
At the same time, the Canadian population is aging, with many Canadians approaching retirement. This means that, despite strong immigration and efforts to support the retention of older workers, such as the elimination of mandatory retirement ages, our labour force is going to grow much more slowly than in the past, creating demand for replacement workers.
There are emerging trends and significant evidence that suggest that the Aboriginal population — First Nation, Inuit and Metis — is the fastest growing and youngest segment of the Canadian population. Between 2001 and 2006, the Aboriginal population grew four times faster than the non-Aboriginal population and, with a median age of 26.5 years, is 13 years younger, on average, than the rest of the Canadian population. The Metis population is specifically youthful, with 25.5 per cent aged 14 and under.
Over the next 10 years, 400,000 Aboriginal Canadians will reach an age to enter the labour market, representing a significant opportunity to help meet Canada's long-term demand for workers. The young and rapidly growing Metis population represents a key opportunity for Canada; Metis people will account for a significant portion of labour force growth in the coming years, particularly in the West. Since 1996, the Metis population has experienced the largest increase compared to any other Aboriginal population, doubling from 178,000 to 355,000 in 2006.
Despite these emerging trends, the economic outcomes of Aboriginal Canadians continue to fall behind those of non-Aboriginal Canadians. While the Metis population appears to be faring better in the labour market compared to other Aboriginal groups, there is opportunity to increase employment to close the gap with other Canadians. The participation rates of Metis people in the labour force is similar to the level of non-Aboriginal people, at 67 per cent. However, the unemployment rate of Metis people is slightly higher at 8.8 per cent compared to 6.7 per cent for the non- Aboriginal population.
Meanwhile, Canadian firms increasingly face skilled labour shortages which limit their ability to meet demand for their products and services. Critical skill shortages are a reality for several industries such as mining and energy. For example, in the natural resource sectors, projected activity and planned investment will require a large supply of skilled labour in order to materialize. According to Natural Resources Canada, it is estimated that over $500 billion worth of projects in the natural resource sectors is planned in Canada over the next 10 years. Their success depends on an increase in the labour supply.
HRSDC funds a suite of labour market programming to ensure that the Aboriginal population has access to skills development and training in order to take advantage of jobs opportunities where there are skills and labour shortages.
The design and delivery of HRSDC's labour market program fits under the human capital pillar of the federal framework for Aboriginal economic development which focuses the Government of Canada's actions on priorities and initiatives that are opportunity-driven, result-focused and partnership-based. I will now highlight some of HRSDC's initiatives to create a skilled Aboriginal labour force under the human capital pillar of the framework.
Through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, ASETS, and the Skills and Partnership Fund, SPF, HRSDC is continuing to make concrete and practical progress to improve the participation of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in the Canadian economy.
The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy provides funding to Aboriginal organizations across the country to prepare First Nations, Inuit and Metis individuals for sustainable, meaningful employment, by supporting demand-driven skills development, and fostering partnerships with the private sector and the provinces and territories, and emphasizing increased accountability and results.
The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy is designed to assist all Aboriginal people prepare for, find and keep high demand jobs now and in the long term. All Aboriginal people, regardless of status or location, may access its programs and services.
Launched in April 2010, ASETS is funded at $1.68 billion over the five years ending in 2015. There are currently over 80 agreement holders with over 800 points of service across Canada in urban, rural and remote areas. These agreement holders engage in partnerships with employers and industry representatives to improve labour market outcomes for Aboriginal people.
There are currently seven Metis organizations from Ontario to British Columbia that receive a total of approximately $263 million over five years through ASETS: the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies, the Rupertsland Institute Métis Centre of Excellence; the Métis Settlements General Council, NWT Métis Nation; and the Métis Nation of British Columbia.
Over 96,000 clients have been served by Metis agreement holders under ASETS and its predecessor strategy since 1999. At least 33,000 people have become employed and approximately 6,600 have returned to school.
Another one of our programs, the Skills and Partnership Fund, is a partnership-based, opportunity-driven fund that supports projects aiming to encourage innovation and partnerships, to test new approaches to the delivery of employment services and to address systemic gaps in service delivery. Launched on July 16, 2010, the SPF is funded at $210 million over five years, ending in 2015. The SPF has the flexibility to respond to skilled labour shortages and is already funding projects that help address employer demand for skilled workers.
For example, SPF is providing $3.5 million to the Métis Nation of Ontario to provide training and work experience in the tourism sector to Aboriginal people living in Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Ottawa and North Bay communities. This project will also contribute to training for employment by building upon a proven, industry-focused, essential skills model called Ready to Work, which has successfully yielded employment in the tourism and hospitality sector for unemployed persons with multiple barriers. It is anticipated that 240 people will be trained, with 192 gaining employment.
There are a number of other programs delivered by HRSDC for which Metis are also eligible. The following are some examples.
First is post-secondary education. Helping students acquire skills and participate in the labour market is an important priority for the Government of Canada. HRSDC supports access to post-secondary education through the Canada Student Loans Program, which provides Canada student loans, Canada student grants and repayment assistance measures, as well as the Canada Education Savings Program, which helps families save for the post- secondary education of their children.
The extent to which Metis students are currently applying for and receiving funding from the Canada Student Loans Program is difficult to assess, given that ethnicity or Aboriginal status is not tracked by the program on a systemic basis.
Second is the Inuit employment strategy. We know that the main factors influencing entry into the labour market are the same for Aboriginal youth as for all other youth: Prior job experience and educational attainment. To address this, HRSDC leads a horizontal initiative called the Youth Employment Strategy. This strategy is an HRSDC-led, horizontal initiative delivered in collaboration with 10 other departments and agencies. It has three program streams: skills link, career focus and summer work experience, which includes the HRSDC Canada summer jobs initiative. Metis youth are eligible for all YES programs.
The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities.
Organizations are invited to apply for funding through calls for proposals. Eligible recipients include Aboriginal organizations, band/tribal councils, for-profit and not-for profit organizations, municipal governments, community- based organizations and public health and social services institutions.
Next is the labour market development agreements. The Government of Canada invests $1.95 billion annually in provincial and territorial programs for unemployed Canadians. Through these LMDAs, provinces and territories are responsible to design and deliver skills and employment training programs for employment insurance eligible clients. Every year this funding helps unemployed Canadians, including Aboriginal peoples, to upgrade their skills, get on-the- job experience, find a job or become self-employed. Through the LMDAs, provinces and territories design and deliver programs to meet their local and regional labour market needs.
With respect to labour market agreements, the Government of Canada entered into bilateral labour market agreements with all provinces and territories. These agreements transfer $500 million per year for provinces and territories to design and deliver labour market programming and last from 2008-09 to 2013-14. Labour market agreements focus funds on skills employment programming for unemployed individuals not eligible for employment insurance, or for the low-skilled employed, and target certain groups that have lower labour force participation, including Aboriginal people. In almost all jurisdictions, Aboriginal peoples are targeted priority clients under these agreements.
HRSDC provides grants and contributions funding for Literacy and Essential Skills projects to enhance opportunities and resources related to the workplace for adult Canadians in learning, literacy and essential skills.
HRSDC is also engages in partnerships to build Literacy and Essential Skills capacity of adult Canadians so they can participate in and adapt to a knowledge-based economy and society. Metis are eligible for all Literacy and Essential Skills funding.
For example, HRSDC is providing $514,000 in funding over two years, ending in 2011-12, to the Métis Nation British Columbia, in partnership with Douglas College, to adapt an essential skills preparatory curriculum for use by Metis learners preparing for employment in the trades industry.
In addition to these labour market programs and initiatives I have mentioned, since 1996 HRSDC has had in place a series of agreements with the Metis National Council as part of our effort to collaborate with Metis on program and policy issues. Let me add that HRSDC will continue to work closely with Metis organizations and other Aboriginal groups across the country to ensure our programming are adapted to their needs and support skills development and labour market efficiency in Canada.
I will conclude by thanking you again for the opportunity to be here today. Ensuring that our labour market programs and services are available and accessible to the Metis and we have the skilled workers to deliver essential services and to drive growth and competitiveness is crucial to Canada's continued prosperity.
The Chair: Thank you very much, all of you.
Senator Munson: Thank you very much for coming. All the statistics you have will be very important for us. You do not know who you are as a nation unless you have good statistics.
I look at it, and it says 2001 to 2006. You did talk about how this year we will have more statistics and next year a few more. Will we have to operate on our study based on six-year-old statistics?
Ms. Badets: The census we do every five years, and that is the most comprehensive source we have, because we can go across the whole country and get the level of detail we need, especially on smaller populations.
As well, we have another survey, our household surveys, where we collect other information about Aboriginal people. For example, in the labour force survey we have an identifier of Aboriginal, and you can get — and I think we have included in this package — some information on employment and participation rates.
In some of other surveys, such as our health survey, we have information on health as well, and would identify some Aboriginal people. The most comprehensive source has always been the census, and it has always been conducted every five years.
Senator Munson: I am very curious about life expectancy. Do you have those kinds of figures? That reflects on health and where you live, how you live and what you are doing. Are there discrepancies to the general population of the life expectancy of an Aboriginal person in comparison to the rest of the population?
François Nault, Director, Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division, Statistics Canada: We probably have some estimates of the life expectancy. For instance, for the projections we have presented just one piece of information, but you need to have some measures of the mortality. Yes, there are some gaps in life expectancy between the Aboriginal people and the Metis with the Canadian population. I believe we can probably find these estimates of the life expectancy for the Metis population.
Senator Munson: That would be very important, as we travel across the country, to have an understanding of that picture. It is a long way down the road in a report, but how to come up with new and innovative ideas of dealing with just health, eating habits and all of those things. Everything from diabetes to you name it.
I might come back on a second round but, Mr. Sutherland, I do have a question. Every year you talk about the funding of $1.95 billion for unemployed Canadians, and every year the funding helps unemployed Canadians, including Aboriginal peoples, to upgrade their skills, on the-job-training, find experience and become self-employed. There is probably a simple answer to this question, but my understanding is that there are thousands of jobs, skilled jobs, that are going wanting in Newfoundland. The oil industry is crying out to have people come and work there. They just cannot find skilled labourers. Is there a portable aspect of this where, for example, if you are a Metis youth and you are being trained at one of these centres and you are part of an incredible growth of Metis youth, the government would be prepared to move someone after they are trained to another place to work and have them come back to their home? For example, where I come from, in Atlantic Canada, there are thousands of men and women who leave northern New Brunswick or Cape Breton every week and go to the oil sands and work for three weeks and then come home for one week. They go back and forth. They go to where the jobs are, but they have skills. Will there be a program in place to help Metis youth, and those middle aged and older?
Mr. Sutherland: Our programming does not include a mobility component to it in and of itself. However, our experience has been, because we focus a great deal on partnerships with the industry, that our contribution often goes toward the training of the skills of the individuals, and then the companies quite often arrange it. We are most successful when the companies arrange that. Given that many of the significant economic opportunities are in remote areas, it is a very common practice to have people taken by the company into those areas.
I am not aware of any that are quite as distant, for example, as the east coast to the oil sands, but closer to those areas, in the North, in the territories, quite often there will be fly-ins into a camp and then back home, in an activity similar to what you say.
Senator Munson: I will be here for a second round, I think. I am very curious now, because we are just starting this study, and I get excited when I see all this new information. It is another road of discovery.
Senator Meredith: I had the same question as Senator Munson regarding the statistics and the fact that they are dated, but I am happy to hear that more up-to-date statistics will be made available soon. In terms of a follow-up on his question and whether you have some data that you might be able to share with us as you are collecting that could help with our study as well, if you could provide that.
My question is for Mr. Sutherland. It takes me back to youth and the fact that you and Ms. Badets' presentations talked about the young people and the growing population, and you also commented on that as well. One of the things that struck me is that you talked about the training amounts that are being spent, $1.8 billion, I think, on the second page of your presentation, with respect to 96,000 clients have been served by these organizations. However, one glaring thing that jumps out at me right away is that approximately almost 57,000 of those individuals who were trained did not find jobs. Can you let us know what happened to that segment? You talked about 33,000 becoming employed and 6,000 returning to school.
I am always looking at return on investment and how we are spending dollars and if we are getting the proper return. That is also something of concern to this committee as we look at fiscal restraints and what have you. I am wondering if somehow you can elaborate for me and if you have data on what has transpired with those individuals in terms of the organizations that you are partnered with. One of the things that is always glaring, especially in urban centres, is sometimes there are agencies that are putting forth clients, but they are really not there.
Mr. Sutherland: There are two component parts to that answer, and the first one is little historic. When I go back to 1999 when we started, there was a history before that, and the Government of Canada was actually running a lot of these programs ourselves. The decision was made that it would be more effective if we had the Aboriginal populations more in control of the programming and the return on our training dollars would be higher. That has been an evolutionally process, where we have learned as time has gone on.
As we entered the new program, the ASETS program, in 2010, we gave even more control to the communities. It is a very devolved program where the communities are the asset holders who represent the communities and determine their own priorities and where they will train people. We found that the more they focus on the priorities and the opportunities in their communities, the greater the return has been and the more successful they have been.
We have a program ending this week that has focused very much on that, where you have a partnership on Aboriginal people and companies that tie the two together, and it was directly targeting training to employment, and the success rate on that is very high, much more so than what you will see on the ASETS data. Going back to this history, as they have taken on more control, they have been more successful.
The second part of the answer is that within the Aboriginal population, quite often we are dealing with individuals who might have multi-barriers to actually achieving employment. Quite often you might see a piece of data or a statistic that says someone has received an intervention, has had one interface with us, either through one of our programs or through our ASET stakeholders, and has not gotten a job out of it. Has that been a failure? Quite often we are building the foundation of those people. Maybe it has not worked that first time through, but a foundation has been built that they can take advantage of at a later time with further training.
I would say our success rate with clients or Aboriginal people, Metis, who are ready for a job and just need that one specific bit of training to get into a position has proven quite successful, particularly more recently. Then, as the barriers have been more, as more interventions have been needed, it becomes more difficult to count them. I would say just looking at those numbers may look much more negative than they should be, particularly in the communities who see people improving over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, that is just not how our measurements work.
Senator Meredith: I thank you for that with respect to the YES program. Currently, how are the clients or the partnering organizations promoting this to youth to ensure that they are aware of the training that is available to them and the fact that HRSDC is there to support them to ensure that they are brought up to par? We have heard others appear before us talking about the fact that a lot of these youth are not graduating from high school and cannot properly read a manual, and this is part of the training as it relates to an employer being able to hire these young people.
Mr. Sutherland: We have a network across all of Canada, so there is not an Aboriginal person, Metis, First Nation, Inuit, who does not have a door they can go through. We have devolved this to not every community, because we have 84 agreements across the country, but everywhere is covered. As part of the agreement with them, they are supposed to allow and encourage doing promotional work in the community themselves. They are closer to the communities and the youth within that community than we would ever be. Since the population is so young, the largest portion of their client is just youth by default. When we go and talk to our partners on this, they quite often have youth specific initiatives. The majority of them probably are in some ways youth oriented, but they also have youth specific, so there is a fair bit of marketing within the communities. I would imagine that in most either Metis or First Nation or an Inuit communities, the individuals are aware of that.
With respect to the high school education, that is where we step in. We do not do K to 12 education. We do some post-secondary, and we do a lot of skills training, but we do not do the K to 12. That is a gap we face. If they leave high school or they drop out or do not finish K to 12, then that is an issue for us. The more successful that is, the less we actually have to do.
Senator Meredith: Finally, I have a question with respect to collaboration with these agencies. My colleague Senator Munson raised this as well with respect to employers. You train individuals on the West Coast or in Alberta, but you look at the East Coast having requirements for labour instead of looking at importing labour from other countries, which is the collaboration I believe needs to take place. Is that something HRSDC is putting forth with your partner agencies; that if you train individuals here for jobs on the East Coast, somehow there is a connectivity or best practices linking with other agencies? Is it about providing the particular individual that has been trained, has the experience and wants to be able to relocate to work in another province?
Mr. Sutherland: We have two examples of how we do that to a certain extent. When I mentioned the collaboration agreement we have with the MNC, we also have that with the Inuit and AFN. That allows us to bring representatives from all the asset holders across the country together so there is an ongoing dialogue amongst them. Opportunities will be known because they have their own partners at a more regional level. I would say that that probably is an area that needs to be developed further. Because it is one of our pillars moving into ASETS as of 2010, the national partnership aspect needs to be beefed up even more.
Alongside that is our Skills and Partnership Fund, which is not tied to a particular community. It is an applicant- based process. We have had many applications over the last two years and we assess a certain number of them as national projects. We might have a project with a particular industry representative that is looking for jobs across the entire country because they are a large corporation looking everywhere, and an Aboriginal organization. We also have the Aboriginal Human Resource Council that plays a role like that as well. It is a coordinator and facilitator for these types of opportunities across the country.
Senator Meredith: To interject, does that also have a component of mentorship where you take individuals who are being trained in a certain field and place them with potential employers across the country or in various sites on a two- or three-month basis to get practical experience?
Mr. Sutherland: With respect to the geography and where someone might go for that experience, I am only aware of one or two projects that do that on a more national type level, but on a more regional or provincial level that is a common occurrence. I do not know if you would call it mentorship, but the individuals who are training quite often are put on the job site when we have the partnership. Partnership is critical for success in many of these things. When you have an employer who wants someone, they quite often are giving that opportunity of bringing the person on to the job site, giving them training and also the opportunity to work there and learn. That is where, again, our greatest success has been, when you have that partnership between the training and the industry. That is what our Aboriginal organizations do.
If you look at it that way, we may be weak from the East Coast to the Prairies, but within the Prairies I would say we are strong that way.
Senator Sibbeston: I take it, Mr. Sutherland, that the only federal program identified specifically for Aboriginal people is the first one that you mentioned, which is the ASETS program; is that correct?
Mr. Sutherland: Both the ASETS program and the Skills and Partnership Fund are Aboriginal specific within HRSDC.
Senator Sibbeston: I noticed you mentioned quite a number of other programs and some you just say that Metis are eligible and in a number of cases you show where Metis organizations receive some of the program. In those where you do not identify what the Metis get, is it because it is not possible to retrieve that information specifically about the Metis?
Mr. Sutherland: Yes. In many of our programs we do not collect that kind of information on the participants as a data requirement. If it is just youth programming in an urban setting, we may not require it. I know for the learning programs that that is not part of the data entry that our partners or the individuals would be doing. It is just not a requirement that we ask for those programs.
Senator Sibbeston: A general impression one could get from your presentation is wow, look at all these programs that Metis are benefiting from, but in many of them you simply show that the Metis are eligible. It may be that they are not even getting any of the programs, but the impression you give is that the federal government has a whole suite of programs which are benefiting Metis people.
Mr. Sutherland: We generally have four types of programs which have a different range of specificity and I will outline them. We have our specific targeted programs, which are the ASETS and SPF. We then have the programs of general application that are available to everyone. If a Metis individual wants to access it they have just as much entitlement to access it as anyone else. Then we have our provincial transfer agreements, where Aboriginal people are specifically targeted and we work with the provinces to ensure that they identify Aboriginal people, Metis, as a group that needs working.
The final group that I will mention, which it is mentioned in at least one of the programs I outlined, is where we make strategic choices on how we use the funding in a program. In the literacy and essential skills program I talked about, we actually went out and had an Aboriginal-specific call for proposal. We said we are taking a portion of this money and it will be targeted towards Aboriginal populations. That does not mean the entire amount of money available to that program was used in that way, but a portion was set aside because that was seen as important at that time.
When I say a suite, yes, not every program is targeting Aboriginal people specifically and you are right, the story could make it look better than it is. However, I would say when you look at those four types three of the four actually have Aboriginal people often, if not always, identified as a critical component and a target audience.
Senator Sibbeston: Have you information on the programs that are provided or monies provided to the N.W.T. Métis Nation? If you do not have it, can you please provide it to the committee because I am very much interested to know just what the Métis Nation is doing in the Northwest Territories because there are mines, diamond mines in particular, that really need labour. I suspect that they are involved in some way in assisting the preparation of workers at these diamond mines but I am not sure. I suspect that that is where the program would be targeted because that is the area where there are employment possibilities and there are many Metis people in the North who would benefit from such a program.
Mr. Sutherland: For the Northwest Territories Métis Nation, the program has been providing services in the South Slave Region, including Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and Hay River since 1999. Training and skills development are focused in mining, oil and gas and other primary industries based in the region. In the past it was primarily spent on student training in trades and colleges and is now shifting to demand driven.
I would like to emphasize on our ASETS agreements that it is the ASETS themselves in collaboration with the communities that identify the priority areas. If that agreement in the Northwest Territories says that the jobs are available in that area, then we would expect them to make linkages. There is an expectation on our part that they will approach the industries and tell them they can train people and ask if they will give them jobs, and then we also talk to the industry as well.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: You mentioned that there are different types of Aboriginal people and one is Metis ancestry and the other is Metis identify. How does a Metis self-identify, and what are the criteria?
Ms. Badets: We have different questions to identify Aboriginal people. One is ancestry and the question on the census refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of a person's ancestors. Then the identity question is a self-identity, and it is whether they are an Aboriginal person who is Inuit, Metis or North American Indian.
It is self-reporting. We do not give a definition of Metis because there is not a consensus of who a Metis is. Similarly, we do not say who is Inuit or who is North American Indian or First Nations.
When they respond in the census, it really is how they feel and if they self-identify, or if they feel in their ancestry that they feel Metis. That is how we collect the information and how it is presented.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: The reason I am asking the question is you mentioned that the self-identified Metis is doubling in population. Is this because they self-identify?
Ms. Badets: On page 5, we look at the reasons for the growth. There are some demographic reasons and it is what we call natural increase, essentially fertility. We do know that fertility is higher among Aboriginal populations. However, if you look on that slide, 7 per cent was because of natural increase, but 26 per cent was because of what we are calling other reasons. It is what we call ethnic mobility, people for whatever reason saying from one census to another, "I am now an Aboriginal person'' or, "I am now Metis.'' There could be many reasons. It could be increasing recognition of rights, or it could be that people found out about their background and that is who they feel. We do not know exactly the reasons, but we have monitored it over time.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: Okay. You do not have the proof.
Ms. Badets: No, but the census itself —
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: That is what I am trying to get at.
The ones you used on these, Statistics Canada, was it a long form census?
Ms. Badets: For 2001 and 2006, yes, it was the long form.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: The next one we will get will be a short form census?
Ms. Badets: In 2011, yes, we had the short form, but we do not have the Aboriginal question on the short form. We have very basic demographic questions and questions around language. You could get some questions in language, and we could pick up Aboriginal languages. However, those questions on self-identification or ancestry are on what we now call the National Household Survey. You probably know all about this, read it in the papers, that it is different this time and was conducted on a voluntary basis. We have not yet released the results of that survey. We are working on evaluating and assessing that survey.
Senator Greene: I have one question to clarify on page 20, the labour force characteristics. What is the difference between unemployment rate and supplementary unemployment rate?
Ms. Badets: I will read you the definition we have been given. The supplementary unemployment rate combines to the official unemployment rate those who are no longer searching for work because they think work is not available — so it is the discouraged workers — those waiting for recall or replies and a portion of part time as well. It is a variety of reasons. It is a little complex sometimes. This is the labour force survey and this is the more up-to-date information that we have.
Senator Raine: The participation rate plus a supplementary unemployment rate should equal about 100?
Ms. Badets: That I do not know, I would have to —
Senator Raine: What is the participation rate then?
Ms. Badets: That is the rate at which —
Senator Raine: I am sure there is a reason for all these categories.
Ms. Badets: We have to think for a minute.
Mr. Nault: I think the participation rate is essentially the proportion of the population that is working or looking for work.
Ms. Badets: Of the population 15 and older.
The Chair: You possibly could get clarification and get back to us, would you please?
Ms. Badets: We certainly could.
The Chair: Thank you.
Senator Raine: What I read into that is, for instance, in the Metis, 82 per cent of them are either working or looking for work. Therefore 18 per cent choose not to look for work. If you are working and looking for work, I would like clarification on how these numbers.
Ms. Badets: It is complex. I am sorry to hesitate but we will certainly provide all of those definitions to you.
Senator Raine: The important thing is if we could break out. Nowhere do we see an analysis of what the barriers are in terms of those people who are not looking for work, why they are not, why they have given up or maybe they are independently wealthy.
It would be interesting if we could get that.
Ms. Badets: We will certainly clarify those.
Senator Raine: Thank you.
My other question is for Mr. Sutherland. I appreciate the information you have given to us on the various training programs. We have just finished, as you may know, a study on Aboriginal education K to 12 on reserve. In doing that study, we found pretty good statistical evidence that when Aboriginal people finished grade 12 they actually did go on to a very high level of success in post-secondary. That was very encouraging, but what was discouraging was that many Aboriginal people or children dropped out quite early.
I guess when you say at one point HRSDC supports access to post-secondary education through Canada Student Loans Program, are there any programs specific to Aboriginal youth that would hold out hope? We found that some Aboriginal youth dropped out of school because they felt even if they graduated they would never have the money to go to college or to go on. There seemed to be a barrier that discouraged them from working hard to graduate.
Mr. Sutherland: With respect to the Canada Student Loans Program, they are loans and you have to qualify for them. The populations would be eligible to them as for criteria set out by the program. I could get you the criteria. It is not my area of expertise whatsoever.
With respect to First Nations on reserve, they have access to the post-secondary education program that Aboriginal Affairs would run. Again, I would suggest that they would be much better to give those details than I would.
While I cannot speak to the perceptions of the population within our programming, we actually do allow for post- secondary education up to three years — both at colleges and universities — to be covered by our ASETS programs. In addition, the Metis specifically have established an endowment fund in at least one of their agreement holders, where they have put a portion of their ASETS money into an endowment fund that was matched equally by another source of funding, so it is doubled up. We have allowed that to happen so there is an ongoing source of money to either be used in a pure endowment fund where just the interest is used, or a quasi-endowment fund where they draw down upon both the interest and capital until maybe they expect a new agreement to come into place.
Senator Raine: In working with your partners, I received just the other day a progress report from Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert and they can see they will have a problem of labour shortage. They have gone to the First Nations in the area to recruit and to get involved with the students at the high school level. They have a First Nations school coordinator working in their company, who is working with the schools to inform the kids at the ages of 14, 15 as to what opportunities there are and what the path should be.
Is there any funding through HRSDC to provide that kind of assistance to corporations or incentives, if you like, that they do that?
Mr. Sutherland: For the most part, we focus on people once they have finished their first go at high school, you might say, let us say 15 years of age and over who either have not finished or have finished and need supplemental training. We would not normally be encouraging or supportive of a program where our money is used that way. We focus on the people who have left the school environment, although we are happy when they go back to complete; we do support that to a certain degree.
We do have agreements — and the ASETS could do this as well — with companies where they do something similar within the larger population as opposed to the actual population in the schools. They will go to communities and educate them as to what the opportunities and the requirements are for that job. That is actually something very common at the beginning part of many of our SPF projects.
Senator Patterson: Thank you for your presentations. I have some pretty technical questions for Mr. Sutherland, not that Statistics Canada was not interesting. If they cannot be answered, perhaps they can be answered later.
The ASETS program you described seems to be regional in character, and I am wondering if those regions include Northern Canada. Perhaps you might be able to provide us with some details on whom those agreement holders are, if that is possible.
Mr. Sutherland: I would be more than happy to do that. I do not have the list with me now. We do cover 100 per cent of the country. All the territories have their own ASETS, and we have First Nation, Metis and Inuit ones, depending on the population base in that particular territory.
Senator Patterson: The ASEP program, Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership — with which I am familiar in relation to mine training especially — I believe was very successful and led to real jobs at the end of training. I know that it has sunsetted this year, I believe, after five years, or it is about to sunset.
Mr. Sutherland: On Saturday, yes.
Senator Patterson: Did SPF, the Skills and Partnership Fund, replace the ASEP program or follow it, at least? As I understand, they are both kind of industry-partnership driven. What I am interested in is if you can tell me what the budget of ASEP was over five years. We know the SPF budget is $210 million over five years.
You talk about $500 billion in mining projects over the next 10 years. You have had experience with SPF; it is now going on two years old. What has been the rate of take-up? How many people applied and how many were accepted? To be honest, I am wondering, it seems like a fairly small amount of money when you look at the scope of the growth of mining and the high commodity prices, $40 million or something per year for all of Canada. Do you see what I am getting at?
Mr. Sutherland: Yes. The SPF did not replace ASEP. That program was ending. Its natural life ends as of March 31, 2012. However, the best component parts of that program were added to both ASETS and SPF. Basically, with certain small limitations with respect to size of project, anything that was done under ASEP could be done under SPF.
I do not have the actual amount of money that ASEP had over its life span off the top of my head, so I will get that for you. They did not take the money from ASEP and add it to the SPF. There was no correlation between those two amounts, but we are definitely moving forward with our SPF with a strategic approach to look at the sectors such as mining and energy and how ASEP was successful and tying in how SPF will work on that. We have had two calls for proposals on ASEP so far, and it was very popular. I think we had over 300 applications, proposals from various proponents.
To date, about 40 projects have been funded. They are very different than the ASEP projects to date. We have had to be very strategic on what we were deciding on. I could have spent five or six times the money if I had accepted all of those projects.
There are certain criteria that have to be met. The fund is intended to be used by Aboriginal organizations, so the proponent must be an Aboriginal organization. There is a partnership component to it. The stronger the partnership component, the more likely we are to be accepting of it and wanting to pursue it. We use SPF in many ways to lever private industry to contribute as well.
Senator Patterson: I saw an announcement recently in New Brunswick that there was a mine training project that involved the province, an Aboriginal organization and I believe the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, ACOA. Are you also delivering programs or money through regional economic agencies? Or is that something separate?
Mr. Sutherland: To date, we have not had any agreements through any of the regional economic development agencies. We do interface with them quite regularly. I would think that under the framework there is a governance structure that allows us to interface with them regularly and look for some synergies and ways to work together, but to date, nothing has been specific on that, no.
The Chair: I have a question in regards to this. Is there any way that your department is looking at going in and pre- training people, knowing that something is possibly coming? If you have a major diamond find in the territories or a major pipeline going in somewhere, is there any way of going in in advance and training welders and machine operators? We have some pockets of unemployment that are 90-some per cent in the Aboriginal communities. It is horrific.
I am not speaking just about Metis now, but is there any thought to doing things like that, jumping ahead of the project so that when the project does come, you are not scrambling to train people because you have them trained on the ground already?
Mr. Sutherland: My expectation would be that the ASETS should be doing that as part of its strategic long-term planning and even annual planning.
With respect to other program areas, SPF specifically, that is something we would be encouraging and supportive of. In some ways, we do have to keep in mind that we do not want someone to finish training three or four years before the job arrives; you cannot get too "pre.''
However, yes, many of the projects under the ASEP program in the past were for projects that were not going to open up until they were trained. There is a training window, and we need to be there before the jobs arrive or it does not help the companies or the individuals.
Senator Demers: The chair just asked a question that I will ask differently. It was a good question, by the way. When Senator Raine asked you a question, you said you would get back with the statistics.
The unemployment rates between 2008 and 2010 have grown and the population is growing. You talked about the programs that are in place to be able to help. If you have programs that are working, you should have less people unemployed, and we seem to have more people unemployed. We have had a lot of young men and women appear at our hearings who are leaving school but who have no — if I could use the word — hope. Where do we stand? This is up to 2010 and we are in 2012 now. Where do you see the future of those young men and women?
Mr. Sutherland: With respect to after K to 12, it will be important for us to have the projects on the ground and the success. One thing we have been focusing on is the partnerships with the industry because if they are willing to hire someone, their neighbour will see they are hired, and benefits will come out of that. Would I like to see a decrease in the percentages of unemployed people? Yes.
Something we have experienced, to a certain degree, is that those who are close are getting employed — the ones who need that simple intervention. However, when you have multiple barriers or when multiple interventions are required, such as literacy, numeracy, or housing, we do not have many levers with respect to those. You can train someone, and they might have a job, but if they have other factors acting on them, it may not be as successful in the long run. That is why with the framework, it is necessary for all departments to work together with the provinces and communities to ensure that all these things are taken and looked at as a whole.
I know I have been focusing to some degree on the industry side of the partnerships, but we are not holding partnerships as being only with companies. The more people we have working together collectively to overcome those barriers, the more successful we will be. One of the catalysts has been companies and the economic drivers — the major projects that have been popping up in Canada, particularly in mining, energy and forestry in remote areas. Many of the communities in the worst shape are close to those opportunities. It will probably be an extended period of time before we get the success we want to see, but you start getting the small successes and our belief is that they will lead to the bigger ones in the long run.
Senator Munson: We seem to be dancing around a few statistics here. You are very exact when you talk about harvesting country food: hunting 15 per cent; fishing 40 per cent; gathering wild plants 29 per cent; and trapping 2 per cent. Are there any statistics that show us where the Metis are working? What are the demographics? Are 13 per cent working in mining or are 10 per cent working in agriculture? That is important for us to know.
Ms. Badets: We have that information — whether it is an occupation or an industry that they work in.
Senator Munson: Do you have those statistics?
Ms. Badets: Yes.
Senator Munson: I would appreciate having them.
The Chair: Did you ask about where they are living as well?
Senator Munson: No, but I will ask that. It is important because it goes back to my original questions about seeking out work and having the skills to do that sort of work. Do we have any statistics on whether there is a specific area of skills training that is most prominent? I believe that was sort of answered. Mr. Sutherland, maybe you could answer that. Are there areas where you are doing skills training? Is that where they want to work?
Mr. Sutherland: That will vary across the country. For Metis, I would have to see whether if I have anything that specific. We can tie the statistics we have with the type of training opportunities that are demonstrated by our asset holders. At the moment, we are seeing across the larger realm of our programming is that the opportunities seem to be in the natural resource sectors, such as mining, fisheries and energy. We have certain focuses in other sectors as well, such as digital jobs and others.
I do not have a breakdown of what a particular asset in a particular community is doing. We could go back and look to see what that community is doing, but we would have 84 different answers.
Senator Meredith: I digested all your numbers here and I have a couple of questions. One of them was around how you will gather the data to accurately reflect the growing population and what the industries they are engaged in. One of them was mining and the other was oil. Obviously, there are always improvements to really quantify. Senator Lovelace Nicholas asked whether the short census would be used going forward, and you have indicated that they will not have certain questions on that. How will you collect the precise data that you will need to ensure that you are capturing the information needed, particularly as they relate to the Metis and the Aboriginal population as a whole? As a government, we want to ensure that our services are being targeted and focused on the individuals we are trying to reach. Not having the proper data could skew things in terms of our resources. Elaborate on that for me, please.
Ms. Badets: Certainly. On the census, the Aboriginal identifier question is not there, but it will be on the National Household Survey coming out in 2013. We ask detailed questions on occupation, major field of study, education, labour force and industry. As well, this is the fourth time we have done the Aboriginal peoples survey. We did this survey in 1991, 2001, 2006 and 2012. The focus on that survey will be on education and employment; and there will be a number of topics. This is the opportunity where we look at First Nations living off reserve, Metis and Inuit. It is a supplementary survey where a number of topics are discussed and probed in detail. That is another source.
I included this table on unemployment rates and participation rates from the labour force survey. That is more current but of course we know that labour conditions change. As well, we have Aboriginal information and Metis as well, depending on the sample size. It is a rich source of information and is more current. There are a number of sources, depending on the questions and the area of interest in the next couple of years that people will have.
Senator Raine: My question is on the trend line that we see in this graph — the one that talks about having a constant ethnic mobility. What are the pundits in Statistics Canada guessing about which way that will go? Obviously, something has been happening. A lot of people are much more proud to declare themselves as Metis now than they used to be. Do you have any way, other than waiting until 2013 or later, to discover that trend line?
Ms. Badets: That is always the case with our demographic projections based on certain hypotheses we have on fertility, self-identification and mobility. We did not see much difference between different scenarios in fertility with the Metis, but this shows that it is really on self-identification. The dotted red line, for example, is if the trend we have seen up until now continues. If the increasing numbers hold true, increasing numbers will identify as Metis. That was based on trends we have seen today. If that does not continue is shown by the solid line. We will know as we get more data as to what direction that is taking.
The Chair: My researcher from the Library of Parliament would like to know if you can provide more details behind the data on harvesting country food. For example, you mentioned 91 per cent of the hunters hunt for food. That is going to be an issue that we will hear when we go out in the field: the question of harvesting by the Metis. There have been several court cases, and I believe there are some cases pending. If you could get that information to us, Ms. Badets, I would appreciate it.
Ms. Badets: Yes, we have that on hand, so we will get that.
The Chair: I want to thank all of you, from Statistics Canada and from HRSDC. Mr. Sutherland, you said something that I think I should take issue with: elimination of mandatory retirement. They are putting me out to pasture in November. Do you have any influence with the Prime Minister? James Sutherland sounds like a Winnipeg name.
Mr. Sutherland: I have family there, but not myself, and I think this is where a wise bureaucrat would say I will stay quiet.
The Chair: We have one more thing to deal with. We will proceed with a quick piece of business.
You will recall at a previous meeting we discussed a budget for our Metis study. I am happy to report that this afternoon in the chamber my motion for a specific order of reference for the Metis study was adopted by the Senate. We are therefore in a position to adopt the budget for the Metis study. A copy of that is before you. It effectively encompasses the suggestions made during the last budget discussion, including reducing the number of senators for fact-finding to keep our costs as low as possible. Are there any questions about the budget?
If there are none, I would like to invite a member to move adoption of the budget to ensure that Senator Campbell can live up to our expectations at the Internal Economy Committee. Could I have a motion?
It was moved by Senator Demers, seconded by Senator Raine.
All those in favour?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Opposed, if any?
There is no side in this place. We are serving a constituency.
If there is no other business, the meeting is adjourned.
(The committee adjourned.)