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Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day Statement on National Day of Action on First Nation Child Welfare

 
(Toronto, November 2, 2017) On this National Day of Action on First Nation Child Welfare, the Chiefs of Ontario are moving forward with engaging both Canada and Ontario on urgent issues – from immediate relief funding to First Nation control and jurisdiction -- after holding our Special Chiefs Assembly on Child Welfare in Ottawa less than two weeks ago.    
 
First Nation children have been trapped in a vicious cycle of underfunding, poverty, despair and dysfunction since the days of the residential school system. There are now more children in care, more children taken from their families, than at the height of the residential school system.    
 
Since 2007, when the human rights complaint against Canada was first filed, the Chiefs of Ontario participated as an interested party due to the Canada-Ontario 1965 Indian Welfare Agreement. Ontario is reimbursed by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada at a rate of 93%.
 
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal continues to call upon the federal government to do the right thing.  We need immediate funding to flow right now. Both the federal and the Ontario governments must take this decision seriously and work with Ontario First Nations to improve conditions in our communities.  
This is not only the right thing to do for our children -- it is the right thing to do if we are going to achieve a positive Nation to Nation relationship.  
 
We also call on the federal and provincial governments to act now upon the first five recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically: “Providing adequate resources to enable Aboriginal communities and child-welfare organizations to keep Aboriginal families together where it is safe to do so, and, to keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where they reside.” 
 
Tackling this issue alone will not address the root problem. We need to work diligently on addressing all of the socio-economic determinants of health in order to build happy, healthy communities. Together, we will build a better country for all our children.
 
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day  
 
 
                                                                                                   —30— 
 
 
 
 
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.  
 
For more information, please contact: Bryan Hendry, Policy and Strategic Communications Phone: 613-863-1764 E-mail: Bryan.Hendry@coo.org