AANDC NAFC Transfer March 2012
March 28, 2012 Ottawa, ON – Today the Government of Canada announced the transfer of programs administered by the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Beginning in the new fiscal year, April 1, 2012, AANDC is set to receive the fiscal and administrative management responsibilities of the AFCP and other NAFC administered programs from the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH).
For the NAFC, the transfer is more than just moving programs from one federal department to another. The NAFC views this transfer as a signal of a new relationship between the federal government and the Friendship Centre Movement and in bringing a renewed focus to urban Aboriginal issues.
NAFC President Vera Pawis Tabobondung says, “On behalf of all Friendship Centres we are pleased with the move and are excited with the prospects of establishing dialogue between the NAFC and AANDC. This is a new chapter in NAFC and government relations that I believe could enhance our mission and be of great benefit to urban Aboriginal peoples. The prospect of jointly developing a comprehensive urban Aboriginal approach that addresses the unique socio-economic issues of Canada’s urban Aboriginal population is now a real possibility”.
Development of a federal urban Aboriginal policy is a key priority for the NAFC. Over the past 20 years growth of the urban Aboriginal population in Canada has increased significantly. According to the 2006 Census, 54% of Canada’s Aboriginal population live in urban centres. This population increase has resulted in more Aboriginal peoples seeking help and support from Friendship Centres.
Friendship Centres remain the primary organizations for the urban Aboriginal population to meet their basic needs and to help them find ways of participating fully in the Canadian economy.
“A move to Aboriginal Affairs has been contemplated for many years” said, NAFC Executive Director Jeffrey Cyr. He explains, “Since the fall of 2011, NAFC leadership has been working closely with federal officials to facilitate this move. Friendship Centres have more than 50 years of program and service delivery experience under its belt, a unique perspective on the urban Aboriginal population and a proven track record of making a difference in the lives of urban Aboriginal peoples. This is a positive move for us and I, along with the Friendship Centre Movement, am looking forward to working constructively with AANDC. I firmly believe that the Government of Canada is committed to tackling urban Aboriginal issues and that this move indicates their [Canada’s] intent to focus on the unique needs of the urban Aboriginal population and to work with NAFC to address these needs.”
The NAFC is comprised of 119 Friendship Centres across Canada. In many cities and towns, Friendship Centres are the only providers of culturally-enhanced programs and services to urban Aboriginal peoples. For more than half-a-century, Friendship Centres have been facilitating the transition of Aboriginal peoples from rural, remote and reserve life to an urban environment. The NAFC is the most significant urban Aboriginal network in Canada and the world.
For more information please contact:
NAFC Executive Director Jeffrey Cyr (613) 563-4844 ext. 318 or email email@example.com
NAFC Communications Officer Ryan Barberstock (613) 563-4844 ext. 335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org