The call for nominations is open for the Province’s Medal of Good Citizenship for 2020. This prestigious medal recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects people’s generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life.
OTTAWA, ONTARIO (August 9, 2020) – The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, issued the following statement today:
“The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs; and the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, issued the following statement to commemorate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:
“Today marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This day is celebrated around the world as people are encouraged to reflect on and support the protection and promotion of Indigenous rights.
In partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis, Canada has been working to affirm their rights and support their visions of self-determination. The Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Recognition Tables are making significant progress as communities articulate their priorities and assert jurisdiction. This year we are also working to co-develop the legislation that will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In partnership with Indigenous peoples, we are working to undo federally imposed systems of governance and administration in favour of Indigenous design and delivery of programs and services. Indigenous peoples are working hard to rebuild and reconstitute their nations, advance self-determination and, for First Nations, facilitate the transition away from the Indian Act towards self-government.
Canada is acting upon the shared vision of supporting and empowering Indigenous people to address the socio-economic conditions in their communities by exercising their jurisdiction and control of the design and delivery of services.
This year’s theme for International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is COVID-19 and Indigenous peoples’ resilience. We continue to learn from the innovative ways Indigenous peoples demonstrate resiliency and strength during this pandemic. Communities have taken a lead role in designing and delivering a highly effective pandemic response that responds to the distinct needs and circumstances in their communities that is grounded in their culture, language and traditions.
We know that around the world and in Canada, Indigenous peoples face challenges caused by colonization. COVID-19 has further highlighted inequality and the systemic issues that must be addressed. We recognize that Indigenous peoples in Canada face systemic racism and discrimination. The Government of Canada is committed to addressing these issues to ensure everyone in Canada can live with dignity and feel safe in their communities.
Today marks an opportunity to reiterate our commitment to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis, based on affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. We wish all of you a memorable International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.”
Ninety-seven years ago, Deskaheh Levi General, Cayuga Chief, and speaker of the Six Nations Hereditary Council, visited Geneva. He came to the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations (UN), to gain international recognition for the sovereignty of his nation. He wanted to denounce a Canada that was preparing to impose a political system that was completely foreign to the system of governance of the hereditary council. The Chief thus marked the beginning of a long history of attempts by First Nations to have their right to self- determination recognized. Like many similar attempts undertaken by multiple Indigenous leaders later, Deskaheh’s attempt was unsuccessful.
Each year on August 9, the world celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Did you know that this day was established by the UN? Did you know that its purpose is to raise awareness around the world about the rights of Indigenous peoples? Isn’t it ironic that the UN established this day when it previously refused to hear Deskaheh defend the rights of his nation nearly a century ago?
This date also reminds us that work on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) began on August 9, 1982 with the first working meeting that would one day lead us to this document of fundamental importance for Indigenous peoples.
While recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples was finally endorsed on the international stage, Canada resisted opening to it for a few years before taking a new position in 2010 under Harper. However, the openness of the country’s governments to recognize the legitimacy of First Nations’ rights is still discretionary in 2020. We are still facing inequalities, and, like Deskaheh, First Nations are facing incomprehensible mutism on the part of governments.
The government’s attempts to eradicate First Nations having failed, more than ever we are here, and we are reaching out to our fellow citizens to improve our life together. In the coming days, the AFNQL will share the results of an important survey conducted among the Quebec population in relation to the perception they have of First Nations. We hope that this will be the beginning of a new era. In the meantime, August 9 is a great opportunity to reflect on how each of us wishes to participate in this essential review of our nation-to-nation relationship. The AFNQL wishes you a wonderful International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
August 7, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
As of August 6, ISC is aware of these confirmed cases of COVID-19 for First Nations on reserve in provinces:
422 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19
381 recovered cases
There is a total of 17 confirmed positive cases in Nunavik, Quebec, and all have recovered.
Unfortunately, there were new cases reported in First Nations on reserve in Quebec. We are closely monitoring these recent cases and will continue to work in close communication with the community to ensure necessary supports are in place.
This week there were also 4 new cases on the island of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, compared to 20 cases last week. With this curve, public health officials are not expecting a wide community spread; however, ISC continues to monitor the situation closely.
We must all remain vigilant in employing measures to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from the spread of COVID-19. While many provinces and territories are at varying stages of re-opening, we must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the size of group gatherings and continue to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 arm-lengths from others (approximately 2 meters or 6 feet).
Additionally, individuals can help by:
avoiding all non-essential trips in the community;
limiting contact with people at higher risk, such as Elders, those in poor health, or with underlying health conditions;
wearing a non-medical mask when physical distancing is not possible;
following the recommended public health guidelines outlined by your province of residence.
The health and wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples remains a top priority for ISC. ISC continues to work with Indigenous leadership to flatten the COVID-19 curve in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities as community leaders are working to ensure their members have access to the most up-to-date public health information and services.
In addition to physical health impacts, the Government of Canada recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant effect on the mental wellness of Indigenous Peoples. Mental wellness services that support Indigenous communities are essential. These services continue to respect public health measures with many shifting to telehealth or virtual approaches and being innovative in terms of service delivery.
The Hope for Wellness Helpline provides immediate, culturally safe, telephone crisis intervention, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in English and French, and upon request in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut.
ISC continues to work in partnership with Indigenous organizations and communities to support the adaptation and evolution of Indigenous-led mental wellness resources and services, during the pandemic and beyond.
To help Indigenous organizations provide support to First Nations off reserve and Inuit and Métis living in urban areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada committed a total of $90 million in funding, between March 18, 2020, and May 21, 2020, through the Indigenous Community Support Fund. Successful recipients of the additional $75 million were informed of the results on June 29, 2020, and the funding will be disbursed to recipients in the coming weeks.
This week, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, announced $13.5 million for Indigenous organizations in the Greater Toronto Area, which are spearheading local initiatives such as: providing educational and learning supports for children and youth, purchasing protective equipment, providing food services, covering emergency sheltering costs, and providing access to basic communication tools like mobile minutes or access to Internet services.
• New: Although there are no patients admitted who have tested positive for COVID-19, HSN is reminding the public of the need to follow important prevention advice from public health as the virus is still active in the community. Do not become complacent. This is crucial to avoid an increase in cases which will impact our efforts to resume regular operations.
• New: To prevent the spread of COVID-19 people should wash their hands often and stay home when they are sick. Masks or face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places in Sudbury and should be worn in all other settings where physical distancing of 2 meters cannot be maintained.
• New: Limiting our contacts and in-person interactions as much as possible is critical in reducing transmission of COVID-19. Close contact is only permitted within “social circles” and among members from the same household. A social circle can only include up to 10 people and must always be with the same people. You can only belong to one social circle. Non-essential in-person gathers of any size should be limited.
• New: With few exceptions, gatherings are currently maxed at 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Unless people are from the same household or social circle, they should keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart and wear a face covering if distancing is not possible.
• New: All residents who are planning to travel should be aware that COVID-19 is still circulating at different levels around the province. The safest options are to stay in the area of your home community or to stay in the region.
• New: The virus simply cannot spread easily if we limit our travel, stay within our social circles, keep our distance and wear face coverings outside of our circles, wash our hands, and stay home and call for testing when we don’t feel well.
• Nouveau : Bien qu’aucun patient admis n’ait reçu un résultat positif à un test de dépistage de la COVID-19, HSN rappelle aux gens qu’il faut suivre les importants conseils de prévention de la santé publique puisque le virus demeure actif dans la communauté. On ne doit pas faire preuve de complaisance. Cela est essentiel pour éviter une augmentation des cas, ce qui aurait des répercussions sur nos efforts visant à reprendre nos activités habituelles.
• Nouveau : Afin d’éviter la propagation de la COVID-19, les gens doivent se laver les mains souvent et rester chez eux s’ils sont malades. Les masques ou les couvre- visages doivent être portés dans tous les lieux publics fermés à Sudbury. Ils devraient aussi être portés dans tous les autres milieux où la distanciation physique de deux mètres ne peut être maintenue.
• Nouveau : Il est primordial de limiter nos contacts et nos interactions en personne autant que possible pour réduire la transmission de la COVID-19. Les contacts étroits sont uniquement permis au sein de « cercles sociaux » et du même foyer. Un cercle social ne peut inclure qu’un maximum de 10 personnes et doit toujours être composé des mêmes gens. Vous ne pouvez appartenir qu’à un seul cercle social. Les rassemblements non essentiels de toute taille devraient être restreints.
• Nouveau : À quelques exceptions près, les rassemblements sont actuellement limités à 50 personnes à l’intérieur et 100 personnes à l’extérieur. À moins que celles-ci proviennent du même foyer ou cercle social, elles doivent rester à 2 mètres les unes des autres (6 pieds) et porter un couvre-visage si le respect de la distanciation est impossible.
• Nouveau : Toutes les personnes qui prévoient de voyager devraient prendre conscience que la COVID-19 circule toujours à divers degrés dans la province. Le mieux consiste à rester dans les environs de votre localité ou dans la région.
• Nouveau : Le virus ne peut se propager facilement si les gens limitent leurs déplacements, demeurent dans leur cercle social, pratiquent la distanciation et portent un couvre-visage à l’extérieur de leur cercle, se lavent les mains et enfin, restent chez eux et demandent de passer un test s’ils ne sentent pas bien.
TORONTO, Aug. 6, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Toronto—St. Paul’s, and Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Oakville North—Burlington, Ontario, announce $13.5 million in funding to support the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC), Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Indigenous Primary Health Care Council, and Anduhyaun Inc. The funding provided will help address the urgent needs of Indigenous Peoples during the current COVID-19 pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, community-based organizations and community leadership have been on the front-lines to ensure the safety and well-being of Indigenous Peoples living in urban communities. Their work is paramount in protecting the health of this vulnerable population. They have been advocating and providing supports and services for shelters, distribution of medication and traditional medicines, food delivery and financial assistance to address the immediate COVID-19 coordination of programming. The Government of Canada is providing funding through the Indigenous Community Support Fund’s urban and off-reserve stream to deliver these essential services and programs to First Nations living off-reserve and Indigenous Peoples living in urban areas to address the critical needs during this crisis and ensure no one is left behind.
The Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) received approximately $7 million in funding to develop a TASSC COVID-19 Emergency Community Relief Support to ensure Indigenous Peoples living in the Greater Toronto Area have access to the required resources to limit the spread of the coronavirus. This critical funding will allow TASSC and its 18 member agencies to purchase protective equipment, provide food services, emergency hotel sheltering costs, educational and learning supports for children and youth, and access to basic communication tools like mobile minutes or access to Internet services.
A total of $90 million has been provided, through the Indigenous Community Support Fund, to support Indigenous organizations providing services to First Nations people living off-reserve, and Indigenous Peoples in urban areas. Approximately 260 Indigenous organizations across the country have been supported to date by the urban and off-reserve stream under the Indigenous Community Support Fund.
CHILLIWACK, B.C., August 5, 2020 – The British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA) announced today an exciting new partnership to enhance its Economic Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Program. The partnership with Spring, a global incubator and accelerator that empowers entrepreneurs and entrepreneur ecosystem organizations, will launch the Province-wide Business Resilience Program, an online program created to help businesses recover, adapt, and survive challenging economic conditions.
Spring founder, Keith Ippel, says “as the pandemic hit, it became paramount that entrepreneurs and businesses needed guidance to survive. Our business resilience program goes beyond the short-term monetary relief offered and is designed to scale provincially, nationally, and globally, to provide the crucial framework necessary for increasing levels of tailored support needed to overcome this and future crises.”
This new partnership will allow local, regional and Indigenous governments access an affordable option for them to offer holistic support to entrepreneurs that are facing challenges due to the impacts of COVID19. Participating communities will have access to the educational content allowing entrepreneurs to work through four core self-paced course modules. Created by experts in strategic growth and entrepreneurship roles, Spring Activator says the program allows community partners to opt-in and provide their business communities access to the educational content for six months to one year.
“We’re thrilled to have partnered with Spring to offer entrepreneurs and small businesses in British Columbia the Business Resilience Program, a free to business, long-term online solution created to help businesses recover, adapt, and survive challenging economic conditions. This program compliments our existing Economic Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Program, established in 2012 to assist communities impacted by disasters,” said Dale Wheeldon, President and CEO, BCEDA. “Once again, BCEDA is showing that it is a leader in Economic Recovery and looks forward to working with our partners and the Province of BC, in leading BC out of the economic challenges resulting from the impacts of COVID19.”
Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI) is encouraged by the Ontario Government’s plan to redesign the provincial child welfare system. The pillars for reform, announced on July 29, 2020, and overall direction align with what we have heard is needed from urban Inuit families and community members.
Executive Director (Acting) Amanda Kilabuk stated, “It is positive that the government recognizes the current system is not working, specifically for Indigenous children. The over-representation of Indigenous children in the system is staggering, and the outcomes are significantly worse. We are encouraged by the government’s strategy to focus on strengthening families and communities through community-based prevention and early intervention. A system that supports more family-based options over group-care aligns with the priorities identified by TI in consultations with staff and community and is in line with the model that TI is developing.”
TI has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services through Ontario’s Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy to transform the provision of child welfare services for Inuit in Ontario. Recent changes to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act in 2017 mean that Inuit are now recognized as a distinct Indigenous group in Ontario. TI is currently working with ITK and other Inuit partner organizations to ensure that the rights afforded to Inuit children, youth and families under the Act are realized.
Julie Hodson, Child & Policy Manager at TI says, “We believe these changes will provide more positive experiences to Inuit children and youth at risk in a system that does not currently support their well-being. Bold and transformative action is needed, and this will require a shift in resources towards community-generated solutions. The importance of honouring and advancing a distinct approach for Inuit cannot be understated. We must build on the solid foundation for change that was co-created through Ontario’s Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy.”
TI is optimistic that part of the transformation will include:
• Dedicated funding for community-based prevention.
• Support for urban Indigenous-led models.
• Openness for legislative and regulatory changes to support the plan.
• A distinct approach that recognizes the unique context of Inuit in Ontario.
We embrace the ministry’s forward-looking vision for the redesign of the Child Welfare System as a priority. A modernized Child Welfare System that advances Indigenous-led approaches and fosters community-based solutions is vital. TI’s vision is that all Inuit children and youth in Ontario will grow up and thrive in the care of their family and community, with a strong sense of cultural identity.
QUEBEC CITY, August 5, 2020 – The Canadian Innu First Nation of Pessamit and the Atikamekw First Nation of Wemotaci (Province of Quebec) are joining forces to put an end to the stranglehold of the Quebec govern- ment and Hydro-Québec on their traditional territories. They mean to obtain compensation for production facilities, reservoirs and transmission lines set up without their consent by threatening to derail a project to run a high-voltage transmission line through Maine to Massachusetts.
Currently, 36% of the total hydroelectric power installed by Hydro-Québec comes from Innu, Atikamekw and Anishnabeg traditional territories, protected by ancestral and treaty rights that have never been respected. In total, 33 production structures, 130 dams and dikes, 10,400 km2 of reservoirs, tens of thousands of kilometres of transmission, distribution and road lines have been illegally installed. These facilities continue to be operated by Hydro-Québec in violation of the rights recognized by the Constitution Act of 1982 and the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of Canada.
At the Cost of Others For nearly a century, six Innu, Atikamekw and Anishnabeg communities have borne the brunt of successive hydro electric developments that have allowed Quebec to industrialize and the majority of its citizens to access a better quality of life. Conversely, these successive and massive hydroelectric developments on their traditional territories have never translated into a better quality of life for the members of the communities most directly and negatively impacted. Quite the contrary! All internationally recognized well-being indicators are largely un- favourable for them compared to the entire population of Quebec and are comparable to those of third world countries.
A Suspended Sentence The most recent legal episode in the Quebec government’s crusade to evade the ancestral rights of the First Nations ended in 1996. The Supreme Court of Canada then definitively put an end to Quebec’s claims that First Nations had no ancestral rights over the territory of the province. The illegitimate position of the government of Quebec nevertheless gave it enough time to de facto dispossess First Nations of their traditional territories. This rejection in the Supreme Court did not, however, convince Quebec to apply the necessary corrective measures. Since then, successive provincial governments have embarked on a strategy of perpetually delaying enforcement of the Supreme Court ruling. In doing so, Quebec scandalously self-awarded itself a suspended sentence.
Sand in the Gears According to Chiefs René Simon of Pessamit and François Néashit of Wemotaci: “The First Nations directly affected by the odious regime imposed by Quebec with the complicity of the government of Canada, now have an important lever capable of establishing the rule of law, right where state brutality has always prevailed. Now is the time for our two communities to put up a concerted resistance to what is morally, legally and constitutionally indefensible! We intend to come down directly on the revenues that the government and Hydro-Québec expect to generate with their project to run a high-voltage line with a capacity of 1200 MW through the northeast of the United States.“ It should be remembered in this regard that Hydro-Québec has a significant energy surplus that cannot be absorbed by internal consumption. From a business standpoint, then, it’s no wonder that the crown corporation is looking to improve its performance by selling power in the northeastern US. In this context, the weakening of the profit objective imposed by the state-owned company in its five-year 2020 to 2024 plan ($16.1 billion) could have the consequence of encouraging Quebec to review its position regarding First Nations.
The Route Through Maine Hydro-Québec’s intentions in the United States are far from being unanimously supported there. In 2018, when Hydro-Québec was awarded the contract to deliver 9.45 TWh of energy to Massachusetts via the Northern Pass transmission line that was to cross New Hampshire from North to South, the Innu First Nation of Pessamit close- ly coordinated its action with regulatory bodies and American opponents of this project. Pessamit then assumed a leading role with the American media and various non-Native and Native American political bodies. In July 2019, after having exhausted all its legal options, the promoter saw its project definitively rejected by the Su- preme Court of New Hampshire. Pessamit was instrumental in the termination of Northern Pass. After this re- sounding and still very recent failure, Hydro-Québec is now banking on the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project to honour its contract with Massachusetts. The state-owned company plans to run its electricity through Maine instead of New Hampshire, in order to reach Massachusetts. But history could repeat itself.
What We Are Demanding Our First Nations cannot allow Hydro-Québec to financially benefit from our heritage without openly taking part in the debate in Maine about NECEC. After a century of denial on the part of the Quebec government, our com- munities have an unexpected opportunity to see our rights on their ancestral territories respected. We will reso- lutely seize this opportunity to force the settlement that has always been denied. The government of Quebec and Hydro-Québec have never had and still do not have the moral and constitutional legitimacy to operate 33 of the 63 hydroelectric production structures since they have never consulted and compensated the First Nations concerned. They have even less right to sell electricity in the United States when 13,200 MW, or 36% of the in- stalled capacity in Quebec out of a total of 36,700 MW, has been usurped from the said First Nations. And if the government turns a deaf ear, Pessamit and Wemotaci will do their utmost to derail the project and ensure a resounding NO to NECEC!