First Nations Communities in Distress

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with First Nation communities is struck by their diversity in terms of, among other things, size, language and culture, geographic location (urban, rural, remote), and levels of well-being. It is this latter dimension that is the focus of this essay. In particular we are interested in those distressed communities on the extreme end of the well-being continuum. To state that individuals living in these communities experience conditions that are the very worst in Canada… Read more

A Legacy of Excellence: Best Practices Board Study Aboriginal Healing Foundation

In collaboration with the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF), the Institute On Governance undertook a best practices case study of their Board to identify the key factors that have led the AHF Board to perform at its current high level, in order to inform and inspire other boards, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to improve their performance. Of particular interest is the manner in which this board has fused aboriginal values and worldviews with mainstream good governance practices.

Improving Health Governance in First Nation Communities: Model Governance Policies and Tools

Prepared in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations for the Second Annual First Nations Health Manager’s Conference, this practical publication opens with an introduction on governance and a primer on policy, before describing five model governance policies on topics such as: the relationship of a health authority to the First Nation Council; the roles and responsibilities of board and staff; a code of conduct; and the conduct of board meetings. The paper also provides three governance tools: one on… Read more

Policy Brief No. 31: How to Improve First Nations Housing

This policy brief explores the current state of housing in Canada’s First Nations and its underlying governance challenges. Looking at international experiences, as well as effective First Nation housing programs already in place across Canada, it recommends a new option for dealing with the current housing crisis. The proposed “accreditation” system would address the underlying political dynamic of on reserve housing, and offer qualifying First Nation communities a reduced reporting burden and financial incentives from both the government and the… Read more

Friendship Centre Movement: Best Practices in Governance and Management

Commissioned by the National Association of Friendship Centres, this research paper focuses on eleven themes relating to best practices in governance and management. The IOG identified these themes through a literature search of non-profit organizations, and subsequently conducted case studies on Friendship Centres across the country that had best practices fitting these themes. The publication includes a chapter on each best practice, as well as a concluding chapter, which identifies some common themes and suggests two areas of further focus… Read more

Environmental Protection: Challenges and Prospects for First Nations under the First Nations Land Management Act

The First Nations Land Management Act, which sets out a sectoral self-government regime, is attracting increasing interest from First Nations across Canada. Originally developed for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, this paper outlines the jurisdiction in environmental management that First Nations under the Act would assume, contingent upon reaching an environmental management agreement with the federal government. It then explores options for how the regulatory function flowing from these agreements might be exercised.

In Praise of Taxes: The Link between Taxation and Good Governance in a First Nations Context

This paper makes the case that broad-based taxation by First Nations governments would enhance their governance practices. The study relies on comparative government and public finance literatures as well as interviews with First Nations that have already imposed some form of taxation. It examines both the advantages of taxation and the ‘curse’ of revenue that does not arise from broad-base taxation – such as oil or natural resource wealth.

Managing the Relationship between Elected Leaders and Staff: A Team Approach

This discussion paper was developed by the Institute and the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association (AFOA) to help focus attention on the critical issues embraced by the AFOA Canada 2008 National Conference,Aboriginal Management and Leadership – Working Together Towards Prosperity. The document is organized around five key questions: (1) why the relationship between political leaders and staff is important; (2) particular challenges this issue holds for Aboriginal communities; (3) what the nature of this relationship should be; (4) potential tools and… Read more

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