In 2009, the Tsawwassen First Nation situated south-west of Vancouver became the first in British Columbia to sign a self-governance treaty with the governments of Canada and British Columbia. It effectively set up a new government jurisdiction for the local population under the formal treaty negotiation process, allowing them to pass new laws over their land and decide, independent of other levels of government, how the community should be managed.
“I thought I might benefit from learning a little bit more about the business environment, but I didn’t have very high expectations about the workshops themselves,” El Saadany says. It turned out his expectations were to be exceeded by far. In the end, El Saadany took part in half a dozen different Mitacs Step skills development workshops.