OTTAWA – Half of the federal government’s commitments considered to be "underway with challenges," have to do with promises made to Indigenous people.

Of the 22 outstanding mandate letter commitments labelled by the government as "underway with challenges," 11 are specifically related to improving the nation-to-nation relationship or enhancing the infrastructure and services that First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people in Canada receive from the federal government.

The tracker, introduced last year as part of the government’s results and delivery approach to governing, is run by public servants in the Privy Council Office. The classification of each commitment is done at their discretion, in collaboration between the PCO and the department responsible for the file. The tracker was last updated June 30.

Among the 11 promises that the government’s having a hard time fulfilling are: improving Infrastructure such as drinking water and housing; implementing the 76 federal recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; completing the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women; and implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

On the clean water promise, as of July 17, 72 long-term drinking water advisories remain in effect in First Nations communities across the country. The government so far has been able to lift 67 advisories since beginning to tackle them in November 2015.

The other 11 non-Indigenous specific commitments that are "underway with challenges," include problem files like fixing the Phoenix pay system so that public servants are paid correctly; responding to the opioid crisis; and balancing the 2019-20 federal budget.

Of the total 27 commitments related to Indigenous people, none of them have been "fully met"; there are 15 "underway on track"; and one commitment "on-going," to implement historic and modern treaties.

Overall, with just over a year to go before the next federal election, the tracker of 366 commitments shows 96 commitments as completed, or "fully met"; 220 are "underway on track"; and 24 are "on-going" commitments.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has routinely said that there is no relationship more important to him than that of his relationship with Indigenous people in Canada, but at a May Assembly of First Nations gathering in Ottawa he acknowledged that there’s still much to be done.

"We can do this quickly, or we can do this right, and I know that those two are mutually exclusive. There are things we are moving forward on tangibly and in very meaningful ways, and communities with which we’re moving forward very quickly, but there are others where we will take more time," said Trudeau.

Last summer Trudeau shuffled his cabinet, in part to double down on the government’s focus on Indigenous issues, splitting the file into two portfolios: Minister of Indigenous Services, held by Jane Philpott, and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, held by Carolyn Bennett.

In this month’s cabinet shuffle, Northern Affairs was taken off of Bennett’s plate and assigned to Dominic LeBlanc, who is also now in charge of intergovernmental affairs.

In a joint statement provided to, responding to a series of questions regarding their progress, the ministers' offices say they are "encouraged by the progress that has been made thus far."

"We know that transformative change takes time, including dismantling colonial structures and policies that have been in place for generations. We will continue to move forward together in partnership with Indigenous peoples in this critical work," the statement read.

When it first launched in November, the tracker included 364 commitments, and of those: 66 were completed; 218 were underway on track; 21 were "on-going"; and 13 were "underway with challenges."

Two figures on the tracker have not changed.

One, a commitment—to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees—is considered "completed modified," because the total number grew to over 40,000 but took longer than initially promised.

And three commitments—electoral reform; removing GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing; and providing a 12-month break on EI premiums for firms that hire young workers—are "not being pursued."

Given Trudeau has yet to issue the recently-shuffled cabinet ministers their new mandate letters, the tracker is yet to reflect those new promises, or potentially existing ones that the government may decide are headed for the "not being pursued" bin.