Please click below to view COO Social quarterly report 2017 specifically on:

COO Social Quarterly Report 2017:

Political Confederacy Portfolio Holder/Alternates

  • Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians until June 1, 2017
  • Grand Chief Joel Abram, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, effective August 2017

Chiefs Committee on Social:

  • Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Chair
  • Grand Chief Joel Abram, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Chair
  • Chief Elaine Johnston, Serpent River First Nation, Anishnabek Nation, Co-Chair
  • Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum, Marten Falls First Nation, Nishnawbe Aski Nation
  • Chief Arnold Paul, Temagami First Nation, Independent First Nations
  • Chief Dan Miskokomon, Bkejwanong Territory, Independent First Nations
  • Chief Tim “Dooley” Thompson, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Independent First Nations
  • Ogimaa Duke Peltier Wikwemikong First Nation, Anishnabek Nation
  • Chief Reginald Niganobe, Mississaugi #8 First Nation, Anishnabek Nation
  • Chief Laurie Carr, Hiawatha First Nation, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians
  • Councillor Melba Thomas, Six Nations of the Grand River
  • Vacant, Grand Council Treaty # 3List

Social Services Technicians:

  • Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Chair
  • Adrienne Pelletier, Anishnabek Nation
  • Bobby Narcisse, Nishnawbe Aski Nation
  • Debbie Lipscombe, Grand Council Treaty #3
  • Zachariah General, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians
  • Diane Maracle-Nadjiwon, Independent First Nations
  • Arliss Skye, Six Nations of the Grand River

Overview

The Social Department over the summer months has been engaged on a number files, with the most important being the Prevention Funding for Child Welfare, First Nation Income Security.

The following highlights provide updates on some high level activities but do not represent the full breadth of activity underway.

Updates

First Nations Income Security

A First Nations Income Security Working Group (FNISRWG) was established in January 2017 as mandated by Ontario First Nations, further to a June 2016 invitation from the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) seeking First Nations engagement regarding Ontario’s intent to reform social assistance within the broader income security system. Ontario is developing a roadmap for social assistance reform that will help guide the province’s efforts to reduce poverty and support people in their efforts to participate in the economy.  To ensure that the path forward recognizes the unique challenges of First Nations communities,  the Province agreed to establish a separate engagement process with First Nations with a focus on social assistance reform.

As of June 30th, a total of ten meetings have occurred, which provided opportunity for First Nations to review MCSS proposed direction for reform.  During the initial meeting the First Nation caucus identified several issues which became the agenda for subsequent meetings from February to June 2017.

As of September, First Nation representatives have brought forward as a primary recommendation, a legislative exemption that would allow First Nations to opt out of elements of the provincial program as they choose, in keeping with First Nations’ longstanding call for self-determined social services.

First Nation representatives itemized a list of additional issues to be included in the Road map and reviewed with Ontario at the end of June.  Input was provided by two other tables (urban Indigenous and Ontario) to inform proposed direction of income security reform.   Ontario rolled up input from all tables and presented the Road Map.

The Roadmap contained many recommendations for reform to reflect a less prescriptive approach to providing social assistance and includes a First Nations chapter and recommendations that reflect the long-standing direction of Ontario First Nations advocating for First Nation jurisdiction

Prevention Funding for Child Welfare

In August, Chiefs of Ontario Political Confederacy met with Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Minister Carolyn Bennett, Ontario Minister of Child and Youth Services, Michael Coteau and Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, David Zimmer to discuss Child Welfare reform and jurisdiction. The meeting’s intention was to seek out an appropriate tri-lateral process on First Nations Child Welfare jurisdiction, to discuss the collective commitment to reform First Nations Child & Family Services next steps towards the review of the 1965 Indian Welfare Agreement (IWA). Central to the discussion was the urgent and inadequate amount but much needed distribution of the Immediate Relief Funding for First Nations.Prevention Funding for Child Welfare

An agreement was made to develop a formula for leadership’s approval, with a 30 day time limit, to distribute the Immediate Relief prevention funding for Child Welfare.

In January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that federal funding for First Nations child, youth and family services is inadequate and discriminatory: First Nation Child and Family Caring Society v Canada, 2016 CHRT 2. Insufficient prevention funding was highlighted as a key gap.

The first step in the implementation of that decision is “immediate relief”. In its Budget 2016, Canada set out its plan for increased prevention funding as part of immediate relief. The Ontario amounts are:

2016-17        $5.8 million                                  2018-19          $12.4 million

2017-18        $9.1 million                                  2019-20          $15.9 million

The 2016-17 funding was sent from INAC to Ontario, and then distributed by Ontario according to the Gaming Formula adopted by First Nations for the Ontario First Nations Limited Partnership (OFNLP), as was recommended by the Chiefs of Ontario Political Confederacy as an interim measure. The 2017-18 funding, and likely future years, will be distributed by INAC.

First Nations have the right to provide prevention services in their own communities in the manner they determine, and are not required to flow such funding through their child protection agency.

We continue to advocate that these amounts for immediate relief are insufficient.  The First Nations leadership insists that additional financial supports for Band representatives and child and youth mental health be identified as immediate relief.   We continue to advocate for long-term child welfare reform, not just immediate relief.

The Chiefs Committee on Social met on August 29, 2017 to review various options for consideration for the formula for the distribution of the Immediate Relief Funding.

As a result of the meeting, the following are the recommended actions:

  • Due to time limitations and the need for the communities to receive their allocation, CCOS supported the distribution of the Immediate Relief Resourcing and in particular the 2nd Year of Funding utilizing the Ontario First Nations Limited Partnership Funding Formula, which is 50% population, 40% base and 10% remoteness.
  • That the 2017/18 Prevention funding allocation be allocated the same as the 2016/17 allocation, which acknowledged the 133 First Nations will utilize the funding as determined by each First Nation.
  • The Chiefs Committee recommended that the remoteness funding should be over and above. They see the need for an equitable funding model which take into consideration the remoteness, population, isolation and need.
  • That ORC Day send a letter to AANDC, Indigenous Services Department that any additional funds required for remoteness should be over and above the resources identified for Child Welfare Immediate Relief Funding.

Focus for next quarter

Income Security:

The next step, once approved by all tables. The Roadmap report would then be released in early October as a public paper for discussion/response. Following pubic review it would be brought back to Cabinet for formal approval.

Child Welfare

  • Ontario Special Study:

The Social Services Coordination Unit Technical Table will continue to work with Canada and Ontario for the development of the Ontario Special Study.   Throughout the CHRT Tribunal, Chiefs of Ontario had brought a motion at the CHRT requiring the Ontario Special Study be commissioned in order to resolve at least one aspect of the CRHT matters.

CPIN:

The Social Services Coordination Unit Technical Table will continue to follow up with Ministry of Children and Youth Services to work towards the regional consultations with our leadership on this critical area. MCYS continues towards working towards developing and implementing a shared system that shares with one another confidential child protection information as they feel will better manage case files and finances.  First Nations concerns are the lack of resources to carry out this work.  Also it does not allow the data collection important for First Nations to acknowledge the language, culture and traditions.  SSCU will continue working with MCYS to host the regional meetings.

Children Youth and Family Services Act:

With the change of the Act from the Child and Family Services Act to now be Children Youth and Family Services Act, the work of the regulations implement is underway.  Many of the changes recommended by the First Nations and summarized in a report by COO to MCYS, were not included in the changes to the Act.  MCYS is now developing the Regulations and have developed Discussion Guides to obtain feedback from PTO’s/IFN/Six Nations of what can be changed within the regulations.  SSCU will continue to work with MCYS to review draft regulations and other implementation documents when available as well as First Nations representatives too.

Early Learning and Child Care:

The Chiefs of Ontario participates on the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Expert Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Working Group that was established to oversee and implement a community engagement process that would identify key principles, priorities, and actions to guide development of a First Nations ELCC framework.  An Ontario regional engagement session is being arranged for November 2017 to feed into the development of a First Nations ELCC framework.

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