First Light Friendship Centre in St. John’s to receive $9.9 million in Government of Canada funding to support extensive renovations and expansion of programs

News release

November 18, 2022 — St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador — Indigenous Services Canada

Investments in social infrastructure are crucial in supporting the growing population of Indigenous Peoples living in or moving to urban centres. Friendship Centres continue to play a major role in ensuring First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have access to high-quality and culturally relevant services and programs.

Since 1983, the First Light Friendship Centre has supported Indigenous peoples living in St. John’s through their programs and services centred around revitalizing, strengthening and celebrating Indigenous cultures and languages. As the population continues to grow, the organization needs more physical space and to expand program and service delivery to the community members they serve.

Today, the federal government announced $9.9 million in joint federal funding to support extensive renovations to the First Light Friendship Centre. This announcement was made by the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl, joined by Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

This new funding will specifically support extensive renovations of the First Light Friendship Centre’s existing structure at 40 Quidi Vidi Road for use by the Indigenous community in St. John’s, and non-Indigenous residents in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Through the urban component of the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund, Indigenous Services Canada is providing $9.4 million for this crucial project. The urban component of this fund is designed to support and invest in the immediate infrastructure needs of Indigenous communities for ongoing, new and shovel-ready projects. In addition, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, is providing a $497,250 to support the construction of a pedestrian accessibility bridge that will provide access for all community members from the parking lot to the elevator and second floor of the facility. The Canada Community Revitalization Fund, launched in June 2021, provided $500 million over two years to Canada’s regional development agencies to invest in shared and inclusive public spaces to stimulate local economies, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for people in Canada.


"The multimillion-dollar investment being made by the Government of Canada to upgrade the First Light headquarters in St. John’s marks a turning point in our progress toward building a well-supported, healthy, and thriving community. More than brick and mortar, it’s a commitment from the federal government to work in partnership with the urban Indigenous community in St. John’s to take meaningful, substantive action on the priorities that matter most to us. This investment will ensure reliable access to culturally appropriate programming and services over the next generation as our community continues to grow. In addition to responding to the growing needs and realities of the community, the project will increase the Centre’s capacity and generate significant socio-economic benefits for all residents of the City of St. John’s.”

Stacey Howse, Executive Director
First Light Friendship Centre

“For almost 40 years, the First Light Friendship Centre has supported Indigenous peoples in St. John’s to access essential services in the city, and keep cultural and community connections strong. The Federal Government is investing $9.9 million to  renovate the Centre so they can continue meeting the needs of the growing Indigenous population in St. John’s.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“Strong, vibrant communities in Newfoundland and Labrador are a critical part of a robust and inclusive economic recovery. Investing in shared public spaces helps revitalize local economies, boosts tourism, creates jobs, and gives residents a place to come together safely.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“First Light Friendship Centre is a place for Indigenous people in St. John’s to connect to their cultures and their people. It reinforces a sense of identity for Indigenous people that can be hard to find in a busy city. That’s the power of community and the power of friendship.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament, St. John’s South—Mount Pearl

“Friendship Centers like First Light play a significant role in shaping the wonderful communities they serve. It is important that they continue to have the support they need to offer much needed programs, services and inclusive cultural spaces. The positive effect of this funding announcement will be felt by many and is a great example of meaningful collaboration.”

Joanne Thompson
Member of Parliament, St. John’s East

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada’s Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund’s urban component supports the infrastructure priorities identified by Indigenous partners and communities in urban centres. The Government of Canada and Indigenous communities are working in partnership to address critical infrastructure gaps and support economic, social and health outcomes.

  • The urban component of the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund provides $194.9 million over three years (2022-2023 to 2024-2025) to support investments in major and minor infrastructure projects for all urban and rural Indigenous service delivery organizations.

  • Infrastructure funding supports capital projects, including, but not limited to, essential health and safety, accessibility, and energy efficiency in order to ensure safe and accessible spaces for program and service delivery.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Paul McGrath
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

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