Reconciliation strategy

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), including the Canadian Coast Guard (Coast Guard), recognizes that fisheries, oceans, aquatic habitat, and marine waterways are of great social, cultural, spiritual, and economic importance to many Indigenous peoples. For this reason, we have a key role in the transformation of the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. With this in mind, the we are committed to building renewed nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

As part of this commitment, we have developed the DFO-Coast Guard Reconciliation Strategy.

The strategy is a whole-of-department, long-term roadmap for advancing meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It describes our approach to how it plans to advance reconciliation in fisheries, oceans, aquatic habitat, and marine waterways.

As a guidance document to help employees understand why and how reconciliation matters in their day-to-day work, the strategy is intended to help ignite a culture change within the Department and beyond. It includes a reporting tool to hold the Department publicly accountable for completing actions and achieving results that support reconciliation.

While it was originally developed internally based on federal policy directions, feedback obtained through past and current engagement and consultation with Indigenous peoples and departmental stakeholders, and feedback from federal departments and agencies, it is important to acknowledge that the strategy is a living document—it is evergreen and will continue to evolve as it adapts to feedback from Indigenous partners and departmental stakeholders, and builds upon achieved successes and experience. We will work directly with Indigenous partners and departmental stakeholders in the evolution and implementation of the strategy.

The strategy includes a vision, concrete actions, principles to guide the implementation of the actions, and anticipated results. Each section attempts to answer key questions about reconciliation at DFO and Coast Guard.

Vision

Questions this section intends to address: What does reconciliation look like in the DFO and Coast Guard portfolios? Why does reconciliation matter to employees?

We recognize that reconciliation is not a destination to be reached—it is an ongoing journey and ever-evolving relationship. This means that all sections of the strategy, including the vision, are evergreen and subject to change as we continue to build its relationship with Indigenous peoples.

The vision describes what reconciliation could look like in fisheries, oceans, aquatic habitat, and marine waterways. It includes the DFO and Coast Guard commitment to reconciliation and three proposed long-term objectives.

Commitment

DFO and Coast Guard acknowledge that reconciliation is a long-term commitment.

Our commitment to reconciliation is rooted in the Government of Canada’s commitment to build renewed nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationships with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

The DFO and Coast Guard commitment is to recognize and implement Indigenous and treaty rights related to fisheries, oceans, aquatic habitat, and marine waterways in a manner consistent with section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the federal Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples

Long-term objectives

We have been faced with how to interpret what the federal commitment to reconciliation means in their portfolios.

The strategy sets out three proposed long-term objectives and short interpretations of what each objective could mean. These proposed objectives are not final, nor are they intended to be an attempt to define what reconciliation means to Indigenous peoples. Rather, these objectives are meant to give our employees an idea of what reconciliation could mean in fisheries, oceans, aquatic habitat, and marine waterways.

The objectives are based on previous and ongoing day-to-day engagement with Indigenous partners, and will continue to evolve as we continue to build its relationship with Indigenous partners and engages key stakeholders, as well as other federal departments.

Actions

Question this section intends to address: What can employees do in their roles to help advance reconciliation?

This section is meant to be a comprehensive inventory of initiatives to support reconciliation being taken across each part of the Department. This inventory is evergreen and will evolve as actions are completed and new ones are added. Every single part of the Department has a role to play in advancing reconciliation.

The actions are spread across five interrelated action areas:

The Indigenous Program Review is a recently completed action.

Principles

Question this section intends to address: What should employees keep in mind in their daily work?

Transforming our relationship with Indigenous peoples requires that all employees be mindful of the commitment to reconciliation every day. The principles are meant to guide our employees as they work toward completing the concrete actions, but also in all other aspects of their day-to-day work.

Results

Questions this section intends to address: How will employees know they are making a difference? How will we be held accountable?

Measuring results is an essential part of any effective plan. While our vision for reconciliation is long-term in nature, the strategy provides a practical plan to achieve the vision through the delivery of concrete actions and the systematic tracking of results through our existing performance measurement structure, the Departmental Results Framework.

By measuring the results of their initiatives related to reconciliation through the Departmental Results Framework, DFO and Coast Guard employees will be able to see how their daily activities are making a difference to the reconciliation agenda. Through this process, we will be held publicly accountable for their reconciliation actions and results.

The results progression is intended to make the link between the actions and the vision. Each long-term objective is supported by a results progression that shows how the actions could transform over time into the long-term objectives. The results progression should be read from the bottom to the top.