It is hoped a new designation will encourage and make it easier for First Nations people to find employment in senior administrative positions within band councils and other Aboriginal organizations.

The Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada recently announced the creation of its Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator designation program.

Paulette Tremblay, the director of education and training at AFOA, says administrative positions in Aboriginal organizations are becoming increasingly complex and demanding of a variety of skills and the CAPA provides the education and recognition to get the job done.

“Times are changing, the requirements are becoming greater for professionalism in communities,” she says. “And so we think it’s important because it not only enhances employability, it will make a difference in income, it will make a difference in the communities that they work in, making them more professional, making the information that they provide to chiefs and councils more enhanced.”

Tremblay says people can get the CAPA online, through weekend workshops, or through the prior learning assessment and recognition program.

She adds the CAPA designation gives graduates the skills, training and recognition to perform a variety of senior administrative roles in various organizations such as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Native Women’s Association of Canada and various friendship centres.

Tremblay also says the CAPA builds on the Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager program and is a direct response to what Indigenous communities have been saying they need in terms of education and skills training.

A resolution in support of the CAPA designation was passed at the Assembly of First Nations General Assembly in July.

AFOA Canada was founded in 1999 as a joint initiative between the Assembly of First Nations and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada to raise financial and management skills in First Nations.