As government, it’s our job to help make life easier for Albertans. Reducing red tape by one-third is something Alberta’s government committed to from the get-go. While we were given 3 years to accomplish this, I am very proud to say Indigenous Relations met this milestone in one year.
With hard work and careful analysis, staff and leadership revamped some core programs and processes to cut costs and speed up approvals. Eliminating needless red tape has allowed Indigenous communities and industry to focus on what they do best: supporting families and creating jobs.
It’s no secret that too often government processes are overly complex. Conversations with industry and Indigenous communities shed light on government’s need to streamline the consultation process when there is a legal duty to consult.
An updated guide – The Government of Alberta’s Proponent Guide to First Nations and Metis Settlements Consultation Procedures – was released in January 2020. The guide outlines a more cost-effective and efficient application process for industry when consultation is required. This means they are better prepared to address the concerns of Indigenous communities during the consultation process.
A smoother consultation process drives better outcomes for Indigenous communities and industry. These changes help get more people in Alberta working – more quickly – in natural resource development and the sectors that support it. It’s a big win for everybody. Alberta’s Aboriginal Consultation Office processes approximately 7,000 applications each year, for a total of about 13,000 activities on the ground.
We also made changes to the Indigenous Consultation Capacity Program. Now grant applications only need to be reviewed every 3 years instead of each year. This makes it easier for Indigenous communities to focus on consultation, not government red tape. As part of this change, we also reduced the number of reporting requirements to simplify and speed up the process.
Changes to the First Nation Development Fund (FNDF) are also making it easier for Indigenous communities to access funding and deliver programs. The FNDF supports job readiness and job creation in First Nations communities, as well as community, social and economic development. These supports lead to spin-off benefits in communities across the province.
Grant funding to eligible communities will now be paid each month, as opposed to quarterly. Providing funding monthly helps Indigenous communities to respond to needs as they arise, with more flexibility and greater autonomy.
I am extremely proud of Indigenous Relations’ accomplishment of reducing regulations by one-third. And we did it in a year! The good work we do at Indigenous Relations is rooted in the strong relationships we are developing with Indigenous communities in Alberta. Streamlining processes to better support these relationships – whether business or community related – will go a long way towards supporting our ultimate goal of reconciliation, as partners in prosperity.
Rick Wilson was sworn in as Minister of Indigenous Relations on April 30, 2019.