For over half a century Friendship Centres, in partnership with the federal government, have helped urban Aboriginal people access the vital services they need to succeed in urban settings across Canada.
One of our key priorities continues to be the full inclusion of Aboriginal people in Canada’s economy. In February 2014, the Government of Canada and the NAFC reached a new funding agreement enabling us to better achieve this important goal. This new Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) places an emphasis on increasing our shared prosperity by affording the NAFC access to new policy areas and encouraging the pursuit and maintenance of new stakeholder relationships.
As Canadas first urban Aboriginal strategy, Friendship Centres understand the challenges facing our community such as population growth, access to education, and employment. Our unique wrap-around service delivery model also ensures we are well equipped to tackle persistent issues facing urban Aboriginal people.
The Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) is a strategic framework implemented by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to address urban Aboriginal issues in the multi-jurisdictional and multi-stakeholder environment of Canada’s urban centres.
The new UAS focuses clearly on increasing urban Aboriginal participation in the economy by funding and facilitating activities that lead to greater collaboration between partners. It increases our ability to work together to implement identified priorities and approaches.
The new strategy consists of two major programs: Community Capacity Support and Urban Partnerships.
Friendship Centre "wrap-around" services increase urban Aboriginal peoples’ access to education, improve employment and skills development, and reduce barriers to economic inclusion. The new UAS enables us to continue this work and will help us develop new and innovative approaches to the challenges faced by urban Aboriginal people.
Under the new UAS funding realignment, the NAFC receives $43 million in programming and services out of a total of $50.8 million under this new strategy.
The programming is comprised of two funding streams: $23 million for Community Capacity Support and $20 million for Urban Partnerships annually.
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Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) will retain $10M for administration and also to support capacity building to conduct regional strategic planning. AANDC will deliver the portion of the funding dedicated to establishing a new regional planning and reporting processes in partnership with the provinces and territories. This new regional planning process builds on existing community processes and will help to guide project funding decisions made by the NAFC.
The Community Capacity Support (CCS) program provides core-like funding to Friendship Centres and other urban Aboriginal service organizations. This stable base of funding allows these recipients to provide support and services to increase urban Aboriginal participation in the economy. It will also be used to attract additional investments, serving as a platform from which other government programs (from all orders of government) can be delivered to the urban Aboriginal community.
The new Urban Partnerships Program (UP) will support urban Aboriginal partnership building and increase Aboriginal participation in the economy. UP is project-based funding focusing on three key activity areas: Youth, Social Economy, Social Enterprise and Innovation.
The UP is part of an outreach process to urban Aboriginal multi-service providers to encourage partnerships and community planning in order to best address regional and local urban service needs.
Note: The new UAS will have a clear focus on increasing Aboriginal peoples’ participation in the economy and constitutes the most significant funding realignment in 30 years, it is the first increase to core funding since the 1990s.