Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre to receive $5M investment from the Government of Canada for new facility and program delivery
May 19, 2022 — Halifax Regional Municipality, Traditional Unceded Mi’kmaw Territory, Nova Scotia — Indigenous Services Canada
Indigenous Peoples living in, or transitioning to, urban centres are one of the fastest-growing populations in Canada.
The Government of Canada is committed to working with Indigenous partners to improve the quality of life of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and ensure that urban Indigenous Peoples have safe and accessible spaces to access the delivery of high-quality, culturally relevant services.
The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre has been providing essential programs and services to Indigenous Peoples in downtown Halifax since 1972. Currently, there are over 55 programs that are housed within the Centre, ranging from early childhood education, training, employment, housing and homelessness, and justice to harm reduction and supports for culture and language. To adequately serve the growing urban Indigenous population, the Centre has had to relocate three times since its opening. Its current facility is now facing significant limitations in serving a growing and diverse urban Indigenous clientele.
Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of Patty Hajdu, the Federal Minister of Indigenous Services; and the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced $4.91M in joint federal funding for the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.
This funding includes:
- $4 million from Indigenous Services Canada, through the Major Infrastructure funding stream of the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples (UPIP) program, to contribute to the design and construction of a new facility strategically designed to serve and support more than 7,000 urban Indigenous clients living in the Halifax Regional Municipality; and
- $910,000 non-repayable from ACOA’s Jobs and Growth Fund to help the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Society realize the vision outlined in Every One Every Day (EOED) Kjipuktuk-Halifax. EOED focuses on increasing social and economic opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs through reconciliation using an Indigenous cultural approach to lead inclusivity and relationship building, peer mentorship, and support. Over the next three years, the project will support initiatives including storefronts, maker spaces, pop-up sites, a newspaper and a marketing strategy.
This investment highlights the Government of Canada’s commitment to responding to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice to restore and revitalize Indigenous cultures and languages. It also responds to priorities identified within the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan—Urban Path to Reclaiming Power and Place, Regardless of Residency regarding culture-based programs and supporting urban populations’ access to resources.
“We are so thankful for this first confirmed step in securing a safe and secure place for our urban Indigenous community. The Friendship Center has been on a 20-year journey, looking for a culturally safe space that will allow for the continued growth of our urban community. A place that is not only safe and secure but one that reflects our culture and language. One that instills pride in our community. One that reminds us of who we are. This funding will allow us to continue on our journey, and we look forward to having others come to the table to ensure this vision is fulfilled.”
Executive Director, Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre (Society)
“We must work to meet the needs of urban Indigenous Peoples through a safe and secure environment while maintaining health and safety standards. I strongly believe this funding will help Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre make a difference in the quality of life for Indigenous Peoples living in Halifax by ensuring they have access to an improved, safe, and accessible space that supports the delivery of high-quality, culturally relevant services.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
“The success of Indigenous organizations, businesses, and communities is an important part of growing our economy here in Atlantic Canada. The Every One Every Day initiative will help share cultural knowledge and create new economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
“The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre is a place where urban Indigenous Peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax come together in celebration of their culture and history, and where they can receive culturally relevant support when they need it. Yet in recent years, the Friendship Centre has faced challenges in securing a physical space to meet the needs of the community. This $5-million federal investment is going to help the Friendship Centre design and build a new facility where it can continue to serve the thousands of urban Indigenous Peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax.”
Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and
Industry and Member of Parliament for Halifax
Created in 2017, UPIP is designed to assist First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit and Métis living in or transitioning to urban centres.
Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples provides $57.5 million over five years (2017-2018 to 2021-2022) to support investments in major and minor infrastructure projects for Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples service providers.
The call for major infrastructure proposals under the infrastructure stream of Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples was open between December 3, 2021, and January 31, 2022, and was open to eligible urban Indigenous service delivery organizations that have received Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples funding dating back to 2017.
In Atlantic Canada, ACOA is delivering $70 million of the $700-million national Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) to eligible businesses, non-profit organizations, community economic development partners, and Indigenous-led organizations and businesses, with projects that:
- support the transition to a green economy
- foster an inclusive recovery
- preserve Canada’s competitiveness and future-proof businesses through digital adoption
- strengthen capacity in sectors critical to Canada’s recovery and growth.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Indigenous Services Canada
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