Indigenous Program Review

The National Indigenous Fisheries Institute is working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to undertake the Indigenous Program Review.

This is a technical review of the programs which support Indigenous involvement in the collaborative management of aquatic resources, oceans, and habitat and Indigenous participation in commercial fisheries and aquaculture operations. These programs include:

The Institute will also look at the development of a new Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative. This program is being created to extend the benefits of the Atlantic and Pacific programs to all areas where Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages the fishery.


The Indigenous Program Review will take place over the course of a year or so.

Phase One: Desktop Review

The Indigenous Program Review began with an examination of evaluations, audits, proposals, and practises that relate to each program under review. It also considered other federal Indigenous programming with interconnected objectives or agendas, as well as relevant external reports. The Institute used the findings of this examination to develop a series of discussion papers in which to engage Indigenous Peoples, communities, and organizations.

These discussion papers will be posted shortly.

Phase Two: Involving Others – Engagement, Workshops and Plenary Sessions

The Institute will hold several workshops across Canada over the autumn of 2017 and into February 2018 to talk with program participants and potential entrants about the Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management program and the commercial fisheries program. At the same time, engagement and plenary sessions related to these programs will be led by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat and the First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia. Meetings and engagement sessions organized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other groups may also include discussions on one or more of these programs.

The Institute expects to begin engagement activities related to the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy and the Fishery Guardian Program in the spring of 2018. Several workshops, as well as individual meetings, will once again be held across Canada to discuss these 25-year-old programs. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s co-delivery partners and other Indigenous groups will continue to be involved in this process.

The workshops are an opportunity to examine, in more depth, the topics identified in the discussion papers. The schedule and agenda for each will be posted on this website, along with any additional documents. ‘What we heard’ at each workshop will also be posted.

Phase Three: Making Recommendations

Based on the feedback received in response to the discussion papers and the outcomes of face-to-face sessions, the Institute will prepare a report with a set of recommendations for review and endorsement by Indigenous leadership. When this is completed, the report will be given to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to use as they remodel their programs. It will also be posted here on our website and made readily available.

With the longer time frame required to adequately review the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy and the Fishery Guardian Program, the Institute will issue its final report in two parts. The first will make recommendations related to the Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management program and the commercial fisheries programs. The second will make recommendations related to the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy and the Fishery Guardian Program.