Moving Beyond the 1965 Agreement to Improve Support to Children and Families in Ontario First Nations
Today, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs hosted a leadership meeting with Ontario Chiefs and First Nations Social Services representatives, as well as Michael Coteau, Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services and Responsible for Anti-Racism, and David Zimmer, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, to discuss our commitment to fully reform First Nations child and family services in Ontario.
The well-being of Indigenous children and families is a priority for the Governments of Canada and Ontario. Minister Bennett reiterated the need for a full reform of the child and family services component of the 1965 Agreement. This is a critical step in prioritizing prevention services and supporting First Nations-led institutions that build on community strengths and support children so that they can grow up in a safe, healthy environment with a secure personal and cultural identity.
“Canada is committed and working to improving services provided to First Nations children and families through reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program. While we have made progress with partners over the past year, the next step must be a review of the child welfare component of the 1965 Agreement. Children are our future, and to give them the best possible start in life, we must collectively move from an intervention-based approach of apprehension and protection, to prevention-based approaches to community, families and children's rights and well-being. Working in genuine partnership with First Nations is critical to developing community-led solutions for reform that will reduce the number of children in care and result in better health, education and economic outcomes.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
“The Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy provides a strong framework for change that is both holistic and child-centered. Our government is committed to continuing to work with the Federal Government and First Nations partners to ensure that all First Nations children grow up with every opportunity to be happy, healthy, and grounded in their cultures and traditions.”
The Honourable Michael Coteau, MPP, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism
“Ontario is deeply committed to improving outcomes for First Nations children and we know that this can’t be accomplished without real commitment from each level of government. That’s why I am proud to be a part of these very important government-to-government conversations with our federal and First Nations partners, as we continue to work towards a brighter future for every child in Ontario.”
The Honourable David Zimmer, MPP, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
The Chiefs of Ontario is an advocacy forum, and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located in Ontario.
The Memorandum of Agreement Respecting Welfare Programs for Indians of 1965, more commonly known as the 1965 Agreement, sets out an arrangement for INAC to reimburse the province of Ontario for the cost of delivering some child and family services to First Nation children and families on-reserve according to a cost-sharing formula.
INAC, the Province of Ontario, and First Nations are working together towards a new policy and funding approach regarding child and family services in Ontario.
Under Budget 2016, the Government of Canada is making $9.11 million available to First Nations for child and family services prevention activities in Ontario.
There are over 300,000 Indigenous people in Ontario. The Government of Ontario and Indigenous partners are focused on improving outcomes and opportunities for Indigenous children, youth, their families and communities by fundamentally transforming how child and youth services are governed, designed and delivered. Working with First Nations partners to find paths forward on First Nations jurisdiction is the basis of the systems building and transformation under the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy.
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
INAC Media Relations
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
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