Grant Funding – Pimicikamak Okimawin

The Northern Flood Agreement (NFA) was a 4-party agreement signed in 1977 by the government of Canada, the province of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro and Pimicikamak as a way to manage remedial action, mitigation and compensation arising from adverse effects of hydro-electric projects built througout Pimicikamak’s traditional territory.

DAL Projects’ relationship with Pimicikamak started during the infancy years of the NFA being executed. Back then, DAL was hired to provide independent professional engineering consulting advice to matters of technical nature, represented Pimicikamak as an advisor during negotiations with the funding parties, and ensured all remedial measures associated with the NFA were being carried out to an objective standard.

Fast forward to 2014, Pimicikamak reached out to DAL Projects after a hiatus, this time, to come on board again to support the Nation in moving forward and beyond the NFA. The legalistic approach that had formed the basis of the relationship between Pimicikamak and Manitoba Hydro was no longer sustainable, and a new solution was required.

As such, DAL worked closely with the Pimicikamak leadership to steer away from the legalistic approach and adopt a relational approach that is sustainable and will lead to survival of the nation.  The relational approach led to grant funding that Pimicikamak, with assistance from DAL Projects, manage the grant funds and have the discretion to support initiatives for its people.  This then gave birth to the Transparency Project. In short, the Transparency Project takes every single cent of project funding spent, and posts the transaction online for the world to see. There, one can view what the expenditure is, who initiated the payment, and who approved it. A tally of program budgets versus total expenditure is displayed, so citizens who wish to have answers on where the money is being spent, can do so. Pimicikamak is now accountable to it’s people.

Once the Transparency went live, and the funding parties saw how timely the reporting was, the funding parties agreed to pilot testing the concept of Grant Funding. The onerous process for procuring funding for specific programs was now removed, and Pimicikamak was able to practice self-governance and discretion on how program funds were being spent without MH scrutinizing their methods from start to end. Pimicikamak’s accountability has shifted from the funding parties to the people, and that was a power paradigmatic shift for Pimicikamak.

In the first year, Pimicikamak received $10M, and is scheduled to receive an additional $8M for the next fiscal year.

DAL Projects continues to provide independent professional engineering advice; represent the Nation at negotiations with funding parties as an objective mediator; mentor and build capacity for the local Pimicikamak staff; and co-create systems with the Nation that will eventually enable self-governance with little to no involvement from external consultants.