The Ontario Indian Social Services Council (OISSC) is a technical and advisory body operating under the umbrella of the Chiefs of Ontario. It is comprised of the Social Services Directors of the four associations, one representative of the Independent First Nations, and the Social Services Director from Six Nations of the Grand River. The Council receives support through the coordinating capacity of the Chiefs of Ontario office. OISSC is responsible to the Planning and Priorities Committee (PPC) of the Chiefs of Ontario.
The four associations or PTOs (Provincial and Territorial Organizations) established their own association social services units in the early 1980’s in support of a move towards Indian control over social services geared to First Nations. The association social services units (ASSUs) were set up to support and facilitate First Nation participation in policy and program planning and development of social services for their respective regions. The association created the Council in 1982 to assist them in the promotion and coordination over Indian-related social services.
The broad mandate of the OISSC is as follows:
I. To support the independent efforts of the ASSUs directed at:
· Assisting First Nations to plan and develop social services for their communities;
· Resolving issues between present legislation and regulations, and First Nation requirements for social services.
II. To develop strategies and policy/position papers on social services issues;
III. To support the consultation and negotiation processes for the attainment of First Nation control of social services;
IV. To develop a working and information sharing relationship with other First Nation and non-Aboriginal social services organizations;
V. To engage in regular intergovernmental liaison with federal and provincial government officials to facilitate information access for First Nations;
VI. To report to the PPC regarding:
· Conflicts between government policy, programs and legislation and First Nation initiatives in the social service area;
· The development of strategies and position papers;
· The resource requirements of the OISSC;
· Any operational problems;
· Overall progress of the OISSC.
· Council is comprised of the Social Services Directors of the four provincial and territorial organizations (PTOs), Six Nations of the Grand River and a representative for the Independent First Nations.
· Council is support and coordinated through the Chiefs of Ontario office by a senior policy analyst/coordinator and by additional policy analyst resources when available (please refer to organization chart).
· Council reports its decisions and brings forward recommendations directly to the PPC of the Chiefs of Ontario. For purposes of liaison the Chiefs Committee on Social Services communicates with Council upon request of either Council or the PPC.
· Council will strive to operate on a consensus basis, in the interest of developing Ontario-wide positions on issues. Consensus is defined as agreement by all members of a group with regard to decisions or direction. In cases where consensus is not reached, recommendation will go forward, including the recommendation of the non-consenting party. The views of the non-consenting party will be made known.
· Further, pursuant to All Chiefs Resolution #94/09, the autonomy of First Nations and regions to assert their own direction and pursue programs at their own pace will be respected by the Council. Regionalized approaches will not preclude coordination between regions where priorities, agendas, and approach are determined to be consistent and compatible with individual community initiatives.
· Council members will play an active role in bringing forward and discussing issues, stating concerns relative to their communities and regions, and giving direction for purposes of formulating Council decision or recommendations.
I. The Council will meet on a regular basis, to be determined by the members. Policy Analyst/Coordinators from the Chiefs of Ontario are required to attend all meetings of the Council.
II. A minimum of three (3) Directors or their designates will constitute a quorum for purposes of conducting meetings to discuss issues. Council will make decisions on broad overarching issues by discussion and achieving consensus on Ontario-wide positions to take relative to these issues. Where a coordinated and united position is not feasible due to regional differences, timing or priorities, the minutes and any recommendations/position papers will so reflect regional approaches.
III. Meetings will be convened by the Senior Policy Analyst/Coordinator at the request of the Council members or the Coordinator, and the minutes of all meetings will be recorded. The Senior Policy Analyst/Coordinator will notify absent Council members of all decisions made.
IV. The reporting relationship on issues defined within the Council’s agenda is directly from Council to the PPC. Individual Director’s accountability to their Executive Directors and Chiefs/Councils will be respected by the OISSC. As noted under Principles, Council respects the autonomy of First Nations in asserting their own direction and approach to all issues and programs, including internal First Nation and regional processes for reporting on and ensuring accountability to communities on social services issues.
V. The Council shall monitor expenditures related to social services initiatives and activity approved under the authority and management of the Council. Monthly financial statements will be provided by the Chiefs of Ontario office to the Council for review.
Evaluation of the activity of the Council will take place prior to the end of each fiscal year. Evaluation will be based on Council’s level of success in collectively achieving strategic goals and objectives as set out in a strategic plan. An evaluation format will be developed by the Council in 1995-96 for this purpose.