FSIN Chief says staffing decisions depend on funding
Perry Bellegarde, chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, says staffing decisions at the organization will depend on how successful he is at securing funding to replace recent cuts.
Earlier this week, 66 staff — essentially the entire workforce at the FSIN — were given layoff notices. The job losses are to take effect at the end of March, unless the notices are rescinded.
The notices were made after it was learned federal funding, as of April 1, would be reduced by $1.1 million. The FSIN also had a cut of around $800,000 a year ago, Bellegarde said.
Bellegarde said he could not make assurances, but was hopeful for more funding.
"Hopefully the resources ... are identified and secured," Bellegarde told CBC News Thursday. "[Then] everyone will be able to come back at their similar salaries. But again, that's all contingent on the budgets that are identified and secured."
Bellegarde said he is also considering some restructuring of the organization.
"What does it take to be a truly effective lobby organization? Let's focus on that amount, let's focus on that structure," he said. "How many policy analysts, how many legal councils do we need on staff? How many communications [people] do we need on staff to make sure we get our message out?"
According to the FSIN's 2012 Annual Report, the organization has expenses of just under $20 million. About $7.2 million is for salaries and benefits.
Bellegarde travelled to Ottawa this week, in an effort to convince federal officials to reconsider funding amounts for the FSIN.
On Friday, the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt, is set to be in Saskatoon to make an announcement, at 9 a.m., on a program for First Nations youth job training.