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Tsawwassen First Nation’s RIM program: Case Study. Presentation to the ICT Summit February 25 th , 2012 Jennifer Jansen, Records Analyst. Background. Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) members belong to the seafaring Coast Salish people ancestral language is hun’qum’i’num

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Tsawwassen first nation s rim program case study

Tsawwassen First Nation’s RIM program: Case Study

Presentation to the ICT Summit

February 25th, 2012

Jennifer Jansen, Records Analyst


  • Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) members belong to the seafaring Coast Salish people

    • ancestral language is hun’qum’i’num

    • traditional territory is located in southwest British Columbia, near Vancouver

    • pre-contact: 3 main fishing villages, gathering place for people from many nations

    • profound connection with the ocean and lands

    • a long history of environmental stewardship

Demographics today
Demographics Today

  • 435 Members, about half of whom live on Tsawwassen Lands

    • Other half live in Lower Mainland, Okanagan, US, and elsewhere

  • Population is young and growing: over 40% of TFN Members are under 18

  • Post-treaty land base is 724 hectares

    • Commercial, residential & industrial potential

  • Approximately 400 non-Member leaseholders currently living on Tsawwassen Lands:

    • Tsatsu Shores (condominium complex)

    • Stahaken (residential community)

    • Tsawwassen Beach (gated, beachfront homes)

  • 52% of Members have attained a high school diploma; 5% have a university degree

  • Tsawwassen first nation s rim program case study



    Neighbourhood Plan 2010



    The treaty
    The Treaty

    • Became Effective on April 3, 2009

      • Canada’s first modern urban treaty, and first treaty under BCTC Treaty Process

      • Provides cash settlement, transfers land ownership, and provides comprehensive self-government powers

    • Exclusive jurisdiction over land management, in addition to broad law making authority (social policy, education, health, taxation, economic development, etc.)

    The treaty cont d
    The Treaty (cont’d)

    • New governance structure replaces Indian Act structure

    • Interacts with federal and provincial law through a concurrent law model that ensures there is no legal ‘vacuum’

    • TFN passed 23 laws on Effective Date of Treaty, including Constitution Act  public online registry of laws ensures transparency

    • Land is owned by TFN Members in fee simple, and by TFN Government as ‘allodial title’ (akin to how provincial and Federal governments hold Crown land)


    • Tsawwassen Legislature

      • 12 elected Members plus Chief

      • Presided over by Squiqel (speaker)

      • Passes laws, annual budget

    • Executive Council

      • 4 Members plus Chief

      • Highest vote-getters from Legislature election

      • Regulations, policies, strategic management/oversight

    • Chief – elected separately

      • Strategic management and overall direction

    • Judicial Council, Advisory Council, Property Tax Authority, other legislated committees/structures


    • Directed by Chief Administrative Officer

    • Lands: development, land use, community planning, zoning, referrals, permits and licences

    • Natural Resources: fishing allocations and licences (commercial, selective, and FSC), hunting and gathering activities/licences, protocol agreements with other FNs and other governments

    • Finance: funds management, auditing and reporting, IT

    • Health and Social Services: income assistance, housing assistance, social services for Members, Elders support, community health, community nursing, outreach

    • Legal Services: legal support to government administration and legislative bodies

    • Human Resources: employee management, occupational health and safety, Member employment opportunities, Impact Benefits Agreements (IBAs)

    • Government Services: administrative support to Legislative Assembly, Executive Council, and other TFN bodies and departments, information management, enrolment and membership, treaty implementation

    • Education and Skills Development: Smuyuq’wa’ Lelum ECE Centre, TFN Youth Centre, education support K-12 and post-secondary, employment training programs, language and culture programs

    • Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs: policy development, intergovernmental relations, treaty implementation

    Tfn economic development corporation tedc
    TFN Economic Development Corporation(TEDC)

    • Arms-length, corporate entity incorporated in 2009

  • Seeks partnerships to develop the skills, training and employment side of TFN land developments

  • Mandate to ensure TFN members benefit from the creation of new jobs and business opportunities and become active contributors to the local economy

  • Relationship with TFN Government is similar to a Crown corporation

  • Records and information management beginnings
    Records and Information Management - Beginnings

    • Records Analyst hired in November 2010

    • Challenges: idiosyncratic and legacy filing methods, minimal RIM coordination between dept’s, lack of space, insufficient time and resources to manage effectively, “can’t find anything”

    • Goal is to create a corporate-wide standard for managing records and information assets regardless of format or location

    • Adopted a function-based approach to classification

    Guiding principles
    Guiding Principles

    • Records and Information = Assets

      • Information assets have value, just like financial or capital assets

  • Information assets must be managed

    • Proper management of an asset enables the organization to leverage its full value

    • Effective information management is vital to transparency and good governance

  • Management of information assets is driven by function

    • Records are classified based on the business procedure/process they are related to

  • Why a function based approach
    Why a function-based approach?

    • Emerging standard for RIM methodology – ISO 15489

      • Records are product of business procedures

      • Records are used to support business procedures

    • Classification scheme reflects the business procedures within the organization

      • Not tied to org structure accommodates organizational change

      • Records of common business functions are managed consistently

      • Expandable/adaptable as the organization and its business procedures evolve

    Review of legislation and policy
    Review of Legislation and Policy

    • Identify what records are required explicitly

      • E.g. : Tsawwassen Election Act requires that an Election Manual be created after every election

      • E.g.: Chapter 25 s.6 of the Final Agreement requires that the tri-partite Implementation Committee prepare annual reports on implementation activities

    • Identify statutory bodies that will generate records – for example:

      • Legislative Assembly

      • Executive Council

      • Advisory Council

      • Judicial Council

      • Implementation Committee (tri-partite)

      • Joint Fisheries Committee

    Business process analysis
    Business Process Analysis

    • Review of laws, regulations, and policies to determine prescribed procedures and the records produced

      • E.g.: Elections

        Calling the election  notices

        Nominations  nomination forms

        Identify eligible voters  voters lists

        Appoint elections officers/scrutineers  agreements

    Business process analysis cont d
    Business Process Analysis (cont’d)

    • Meetings with departmental managers and staff

      • What does your department do? What kinds of records do you have?

      • Identify each departments’ “functional authority”

      • Identify cyclical processes (e.g. financial, fisheries, reporting cycles, etc.)

      • Identify formalized procedures (e.g. permit applications, membership applications) and the records associated with those

      • Identify procedural gaps, or processes that exist “by default”


    • Informal procedures (small staff)

    • Transitional period post-treaty  procedural gaps

    • “Hybrid” type of government:

      • Municipal-type functions (e.g. lands management and development, facilities management)

      • Provincial and federal-type functions (e.g. social assistance/housing; education; community health; fisheries management)

      • Functions unique to First Nations (e.g. referrals; managing FFA, IBAs, etc.; traditional knowledge; membership)

    Adopted a model
    Adopted a model

    • Municipal records management model (City of Vancouver – VanRIMS)

    • Identify classifications that could be directly adopted (with minor modifications)

      • E.g.: Employee Files, Operating Budget Files, Annual Reports

  • Identify similar areas of functional responsibility/ authority (current and future)

    • E.g.: Permits and Licences, Emergency Planning, Access and Privacy, Governance

    • Functions are similar, but records are different

  • Tsawwassen records and information management standard trims v 1
    Tsawwassen Records and Information Management Standard (TRIMS) v.1

    • TRIMS is a comprehensive standard for managing TFNs information assets

      • A corporate records classification scheme: used to organize, describe, and provide physical and intellectual control over groups of TFN corporate records

      • A filing standard: used as the basis for filing systems, network directory hierarchies, and document libraries and hierarchies in digital document management systems

      • A records retention and disposition schedule: a life-cycle plan for each type of corporate record.

    Beyond a filing plan
    Beyond a filing plan… (TRIMS) v.1

    TRIMS is for managing information assets

    • Defines types of files/records according to their purpose within the organization  based on business processes

    • Defines how long each type of file/record needs to be kept and what happens to it in the end  life-cycle management

    • Identifies what kinds of files/records have confidential information, what files are essential records  handling and storage requirements

    • Can be used to manage all types of information, not just hard copy files

    How does trims work
    How does TRIMS work? (TRIMS) v.1

    • Hierarchical block-numeric system that has three levels

      • Function Group (2-digit code)

        • Primary(4-digit code)

          • Secondary(2-digit code)

  • E.g06-1000-10 = Human Resources Management – Employee Management – Employee Files

  • Policy and procedures
    Policy and Procedures (TRIMS) v.1

    • New RIM Policy approved Oct 2011

      • Officially adopts TRIMS as the TFN corporate standard for managing information assets; defines departmental responsibilities for RIM, and the role of the Government Services Department

      • Includes new section for Essential Records (preliminary)

  • RIM Procedure manual

    • “How to” for implementing the Policy

    • Formalized procedures and forms for transferring records to storage, retrieving records from storage, and destroying records (still currently in draft)

    • Provides naming conventions for folders and documents in hard copy and electronic formats

  • Accomplished to date
    Accomplished to date (TRIMS) v.1

    • Review of and input on TRIMS classifications from managers and staff  on-going

    • Departmental file inventory and initial implementation is underway

    • RIM Policy adopted by Executive Council Oct 2011

    • Review and detailed inventory of pre-Treaty and Treaty Negotiation files underway

    • 2011: hired summer intern (with grant from Young Canada Works) for archival arrangement and description project targeting Chief Baird’s Treaty Negotiation records

    Moving forward
    Moving Forward (TRIMS) v.1

    • Complete hardcopy implementation of TRIMS (CAO, Lands, Natural Resources, PIGA, Government Services and HR targeted for completion in 2012)

      •  retroactive only to Effective Day of Treaty (April 3 2009)

  • Implementation of retention and disposition procedures once TRIMS implementation is complete

  • Moving towards implementation of EDMS

    • First step will be needs assessment

  • “Special schedules” for Treaty Negotiation records (archival), pre-Treaty “legacy” records

  • Develop RIM training program for staff

  • Develop TFN Essential Records program

  • Eventually we will establish a TFN community archives

  • Challenges
    Challenges (TRIMS) v.1

    • Capacity of staff

      • time commitments, availability - progress gets interrupted by “brush fires”

      • technical proficiency

      • complexity – some dept’s need more support than others

  • Buy-in

    • long-term solution to an immediate problem

    • RIM is low priority for many staff, difficult to see longer-term benefits

  • Significant organizational change, shift in how staff think about their records

    • varying levels of comfort, trust

  • No comprehensive model to follow

  • Additional resources
    Additional Resources (TRIMS) v.1

    • TFN – www.tsawwassenfirstnation.com

    • Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development – http://hpaied.org/

    • BC Treaty Commission – www.bctreaty.net