Northern Métis and First Nations communities working on long-term project with University of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, SK – Four Northern Saskatchewan Métis and First Nations communities will have access to policy research through a new $1.02 million pilot research project spearheaded by the University of Saskatchewan, in partnership with Mitacs and Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Researchers from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan will be paired with students in the communities of Beauval, Buffalo Narrows, Canoe Lake, and Ile-a-la Crosse for socio-economic research and policy development.

Together they will engage with the communities to identify socio-economic issues, develop research plans, conduct research, and then communicate the results and recommendations back to the communities.

With continued support from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, the long-term goal of the project is for the communities to set up an Indigenous-owned, revenue-generating, research and policy development company.


The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“In building an inclusive knowledge economy, it is essential to create opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to develop innovative policy solutions that meet the needs of their communities. The Government of Canada is proud to support this initiative to train the next generation of Indigenous researchers and decision makers.”

Buckley Belanger, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Athabasca, SK

“It is time to shed the constraints placed upon the North, and set a bold agenda of collaboration and coordination. We open the door to other partners, including the Métis and First Nations, and invite them to join our pursuit of social and economic justice. Together, we will build a new North. One that honours the legacy of our ancestors and meets the needs and aspirations of our children.” 

Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“Mitacs recognizes the need for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of Canada to work together to build a better future for our country. This partnership will foster meaningful collaborations between university researchers and Métis and First Nations communities to develop self-supporting, for-profit policy research units.”

Karen Chad, Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan

“This exciting project will enable our public policy graduate students to learn from northern Indigenous communities as they work together to identify new social and economic development opportunities. It will also train a new generation of Indigenous students to become community leaders. Helping northern communities and their young people succeed is a priority for the University of Saskatchewan.” 

Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan

“This project provides an opportunity for graduate students to see how they can be community-based researchers by working with communities to help solve problems and capture opportunities. We want this to be a project where communities see how effective their contributions have been and will contribute more in future years to make it a permanent part of the North.”

Quick facts:

  • Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization led by Canadian universities that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for more than 18 years.
  • Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.