The evolution of Indigenous Services Canada
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) was established a little over a year ago. From the start, we recognized Indigenous collaboration and inclusion were critical factors in fulfilling ISC's mandate.
Talking with our partners about how we can better share information and work together is an important first step in building and enhancing the strong partnerships we need.
Over the past few months, we have made progress developing our interim governance structure. Once finalized, this structure will include how Indigenous partners want to participate in our departmental governance at the national, regional and sectoral levels.
We are also actively working on increasing Indigenous representation within the department's workforce. Indigenous employees make up 34.9% of the Regional Operations and Education and Social Development Programs and Partnerships branches, 28.0% of First Nations and Inuit Health branch regional offices, and 11.9% of the First Nations and Inuit Health branch at headquarters.
We're on the right path. Indigenous peoples, leaders and communities have given us valuable insight and feedback on standing up our department. We plan to use this insight to shape how we do our work to better serve First Nations, Inuit and Metis.
We have been engaging widely at the regional level with leaders, communities, technical advisory groups, and others, to improve the way we work together. Examples of this approach in action include:
- ISC has been engaging with national, regional and community organizations representing First Nations, Inuit and the Métis National Council, as well as Treaty Nations, self-governing First Nations, provinces and territories, experts and people with lived experience, including Elders, youth and women. Over 65 engagement sessions were held with nearly 2,000 participants.
- A Working Group on Public Service Engagement led engagement with employees and working level Indigenous partners. These sessions provided an opportunity to reflect on past practices and explore new ways of working.
- A Service Excellence Working Group has been tasked with developing a Service Strategy to take a regionalized approach to service delivery. The strategy will aim to improve the quality and effectiveness of services in collaboration with our partners.
- ISC Regional Operations and ISC First Nations and Inuit Health Offices are joining together across Canada to develop regional transformation plans, under the leadership of the Regional Transformation Working Group.
- The wide engagement ISC is also doing at the regional level with leaders, communities, technical advisory groups, and others, to improve the way we work together. These engagement sessions will contribute to the development of the ISC strategic plan for how we work with our partners.
We've also launched a new corporate look, as seen in this latest edition of our newsletter. It incorporates traditional elements of the three peoples we serve: an ulu for Inuit, an eagle for First Nations, and a fiddle for Métis. This new look artistically reflects the distinctions-based approach we try to bring to our work. The colours move from earth to sky tones, reflecting the path of reconciliation and the department's mandate to support capacity building in Indigenous communities in their path towards self-determination and self-government and to better serve the distinct needs of Indigenous peoples.
Progress has been made towards reaching our goals, but we have much more to do to push, to innovate, and to establish a culture of service excellence in our department. The focus of ISC's transformation over the next six months will be to:
- draft our mission, vision and values
- develop a service strategy
- build a new fiscal relationship
- build national, sectoral and regional partnerships and collaboration
- increase transparency
Partnerships and distinctions-based ways of working are key to delivering on ISC's ambitious mandate. Feedback from Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations will help us provide better services. That is why partnership will be the foundation for all of ISC's departmental practices.
Thank you, Merci, Miigwetch, Marsee, Qujannamiik, Nakumik.