Chasing Paper: Forms over Function in First Nation Administration
May 3, 2021 | Caitlin McAuliffe
Currently, it is required that First Nations report on several criteria after securing financing such as grants, contributions, subsidies and loan guarantees from the federal government. This can include providing financial reports, tracking program outcomes or meeting specific indicators in the guideline or funding contracts outlined by the respective government department or funding agency (FedDev Ontario 2018). This reporting takes time and resources.
Most recently, to shift structures and create a new relationship based on mutual accountability with Indigenous peoples, the government has split the Indigenous Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) into two entities: Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). However, unrealistic reporting requirements, lack of communication and support for First Nations data collection and self-governance continue to persist (United Nations 2018).
The following paper explores the reporting relationship between First Nations and federal funders. First, it aims to assess what is being done with the data requested by funders and how it is used, by providing a case study analysis on Nipissing First Nation. It outlines discrepancies and challenges faced by the community while examining funders’ accountability and transparency. As well, it shows how Nipissing First Nation can use this data for internal planning and decision making. Second, the paper outlines best practices in data governance, partnership agreements as well as data collection models and tools, exploring the theoretical, practical, political and legal issues that many Indigenous communities face. It concludes with brief recommendations, however, it also recommends that a more in-depth analysis on reporting requirements and funding agreements be undertaken.