The mandate of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs (the Committee) includes all areas covered by the federal department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, whose legal name remains the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND). The Committee can study any aspect of the Department’s management and operation, as well as legislation, programs or policy areas administered by the Department. Traditionally, the Department has taken responsibility primarily for on-reserve registered First Nations people, Inuit and northern or territorial affairs. In turn, the Committee has primarily considered legislation and issues related to these populations and subjects.
The Committee may also look into other government programs and services developed for on-reserve First Nations people. It can examine issues, policies and programs related to off-reserve registered and non-registered First Nations people, Métis, and Inuit. As of 2004, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has been assigned the additional role of Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.