THE NAFC, 2014-2015

Download the Report Download the Report

Message from the President

Nelson Mayer
Nelson Mayer


This past year, we were faced with significant change. Change is not new to our Movement, we have been face-to-face with it many times over the past 50 years and as always we tackled it head on. We adapted, evolved and turned unforeseen challenges into opportunities so we may better serve Friendship Centres and in turn, our communities.

When reflecting back on this past fiscal year, we have much to be proud of. Through the successful implementation of the new Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) we have expanded our potential reach for programs and services to 200,000 Aboriginal people and distributed project based funding to 149 organizations across Canada.

In addition, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) has been working hard on the creation of some exciting new initiatives, one aimed at supporting our most vulnerable and the other at highlighting our people’s great successes. All our hard work has lead us to become a leader in the national urban Aboriginal landscape. By working together and in partnership with non-governmental organizations and the federal government, Friendship Centres have become a proven and willing partner in adopting new goals and effective avenues for delivering successful and meaningful programs and services.

Friendship Centres remain the most cost efficient and program effective mechanism for reaching Canada’s urban Aboriginal people and our work continues to have a profound impact in countless lives. From April 2014 to March 2015, our programs have assisted nearly 700,000 clients across Canada. It would be difficult to imagine urban life without our Centres.

We are a strong and united Movement and our successes are a result of our commitment to working together and learning from one another. We have stayed true to our mission and continue to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people in urban areas while leading the way in Aboriginal service program delivery.

I would like to thank and acknowledge all Friendship Centre Board of Directors, volunteers, Elders, youth and staff. Everything that took place in the last year could not have been achieved without their selfless dedication and vision.

I look forward to our continued collaboration as we move forward into yet again, a time of change and opportunity.

In Friendship,

Nelson Mayer
President, National Association of Friendship Centres

Message from the Executive Director

Jeffrey Cyr
Jeffrey Cyr

Executive Director

The 2014-2015 year marks the 44th year of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). With 118 centres and seven Provincial and Territorial Associations (PTAs) from coast-to-coast-to-coast, our strength and unity continues to propel us forward.

Friendship Centres have played a key role in assisting urban Aboriginal people throughout their lives. From our children that we care for as a community, to youth finding their identities and learning new skills, and to adults seeking help finding employment, they can always find a helping hand at one of our centres.

The drivers of our environment are shifting, we see change in the demographic realities of those that we serve, established relationships require renewed attention, and new relationships must be forged. Internally, we have to make changes to the ways in which we organize ourselves and conduct our internal business. A prime example of this is the new Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS). Being in its first year, the implementation of the new UAS proved to be challenging yet we rose to administer it very successfully. As you know, Friendship Centres are dynamic and evolving and have always found creative solutions to address pressing issues.

Again, we are entering a time of transition and change as the federal election approaches. With a new government coming into power, we will redouble our efforts to continue to engage senior decision makers in government to ensure the recognition of Friendship Centres as an integral part of the social, cultural and economic fabric of Canada and as instrumental in ensuring that Aboriginal people are able to contribute to Canada’s future economic prosperity as we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

As has been the case from the earliest beginnings of the Friendship Centre Movement, innovation, energy and enterprise will continue to be the key to our success. As we look to the future, we know that Friendship Centres are well positioned to continue to be what we now think of as hubs for social innovation, and platforms for increased partnerships to the benefit of all of our urban Aboriginal peoples.

Our successes are directly attributed to the dedication, innovation and efforts of all Friendship Centre Boards of Directors, Elders, Youth, staff and volunteers. Your work allows Friendship Centres to continue to be the most significant and successful network of urban based Aboriginal service delivery organization in Canada, and the best practice model globally. Thank you for your continued dedication.

In Friendship,

Jeffrey Cyr
Executive Director, National Association of Friendship Centres


Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal peoples in an urban environment by supporting self-determined activities which encourage equal access to, and participation in, Canadian Society; and which respect and strengthen the increasing emphasis on Aboriginal Cultural distinctiveness.

Declaration of Strength and Unity

The Membership of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) hereby makes the following declaration:

  • We are strong and united as a Movement across Canada.
  • We hold and share a common vision and purpose of improving the quality of life for Aboriginal Peoples living in the Canadian urban environment.
  • We are committed to ensuring full and meaningful participation by youth in all planning and decision making processes within the Friendship Centre Movement.
  • We support the leadership of the NAFC in advancing the interests of the Friendship Centre Movement across Canada.
  • We affirm our respect for women and the place of honour they hey hold in our communities and within our Movement.

Further, be it resolved: That we call on the Prime Minister of Canada, the Federal Cabinet, all members of the House of Commons to realize and acknowledge the strength and unity of the Friendship Centre Movement.

Further, be it resolved: That the Friendship Centre Movement issue a challenge to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Federal Cabinet and members of the House of Commons to help us instil in Aboriginal people a renewed self-confidence for the future. We will challenge Canada to work with us – in partnership – to rectify our social wounds. Only with renewed efforts and partnerships can we impart- for urban Aboriginal people – support the values that truly reflect a more just and caring society.

Finally, be it resolved: That the Association promote – via correspondence, meeting, discussions, project reports, presentation and distribution of information packages, etc.; its use of this Declaration in all external communications and lobbying efforts.

The membership of the NAFC endorsed Resolution #01-08 Declaration of Strength and Unity during the 30th Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg, MB, July 2001. Ten years later in 2011 the NAFC would return to Winnipeg to celebrate its 40th Anniversary as a National Aboriginal Organization.

The 40th AGM provided an excellent opportunity for the Friendship Centre Movement to re-affirm the Declaration of Strength and Unity.


Executive Committee and Board of Directors

The NAFC is governed by both a volunteer Executive Committee and a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is comprised of eleven regional representatives including members from the Aboriginal Youth Council (AYC) and the Senate. Board members are selected by the Provincial/Territorial Associations.

To view our Executive Committee and Board of Directors, click here.


Senators are individuals who are recognized for representing a set of core values which reflect the history and evolution of the Friendship Centre Movement. Senators provide information, guidance or advice to the Friendship Centre Movement and are highly respected ambassadors of the Friendship Centre Movement.

To view Senate members, click here.

Aboriginal Youth Council (AYC)

The AYC brings a unified youth voice that helps guide the Friendship Centre Movement in a number of youth priority issues as well as provides a youth presence in the decision-making process of the Friendship Centre Movement.

To view AYC members, click here.

Our Impact

Friendship Centre Movement

by the Numbers

Urban Aboriginal Strategy

Fiscal Year: 2014-2015

Annual Report data as of March 31, 2015


Provincial & Territorial Associations


Friendship Centres

$1 = $7

For each dollar provided to Friendship Centres, $7 is generated from other sources.

Hover over the pie chart

Staff and Board of Directors

Full Time Part Time Casual Total Board of Directors (Volunteers) Grand Total
1933 411 333 2737 985 3722

The Urban Aboriginal Population is Young and Growing in Canada

According to the 2006 Census, 54% of Aboriginal peoples lived in urban areas. According to the 2011, National Household Survey (NHS), nearly 60% of Aboriginal peoples lived in urban areas.

In 2011, about 27% of urban Aboriginal peoples were 15 years of age or younger, compared to about 17% of the urban Canadian population. About 13.6% of the urban Canadian population is 65 years of age or older, compared to about 6% of urban Aboriginal peoples (NHS 2011, NAFC Tabulations).

Impact of Friendship Centres

In any one year, Friendship Centres across Canada serve over 1.03 million clients through 1,493 programs. All of our programs provided ‘status-blind’, that is without consideration if a person is First Nation, Métis, Inuit or non-Aboriginal.

62% of off-reserve Aboriginal people aged 15 years and over lived in Friendship Centre Catchment Areas in 2006 (APS 2006, NAFC Catchment Area Analysis).

Our Programs

Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS)

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 Canada's 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.

On February 6, 2014 the National Association of Friendship Centers (NAFC) and the Government of Canada announced a renewed and enhanced partnership to deliver services to urban Aboriginal people in Canada.

The new Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) consolidates four programs into two and provides greater support to the NAFC for the delivery of the programs. The new UAS will foster greater collaboration and develop partnerships between all levels of government, organizations, urban Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders and will increase the participation of urban Aboriginal peoples in Canada’s economy.

Under this funding realignment, the NAFC will administer $43 million of the $50.8 million announced through two new programs. These programs include: Community Capacity Support (CCS) and Urban Partnerships (UP), replacing the Aboriginal Friendship Centres Program (AFCP), Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth (CCAY) and Young Canada Works – for urban Aboriginal youth (YCW-AUY). The change is designed to provide more funds to support community organizations and projects.

Community Capacity Support (CCS)

The CCS program provides core-like funding to Friendship Centres and other urban Aboriginal organizations so they can have a stable base from which to deliver programs and services that increase urban Aboriginal participation in the economy, and attract additional investments.

A CCS call for proposals was launched throughout the Spring/Summer 2014. This resulted in a total of 103 letters of intent being received across Canada from other Urban Aboriginal Organizations, all of whom were seeking CCS funding. On October 23, 2014, 10 urban Aboriginal organizations were ultimately selected to receive CCS funds for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

With the addition of these 10 new service delivery sites, the NAFC has expanded its potential reach for programs and services to 200,000 Aboriginal people.

A full breakdown of CCS funding allocations by organization can be viewed on the NAFC website at:

Urban Partnerships (UP)

The UP program provides a total of $17 million annually for the fiscal years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 in project based funding focusing on three key activity areas: youth, social economy/social enterprise and innovation. UP provides more dollars going directly to supporting community organizations and projects by supporting urban Aboriginal partnership building and increasing Aboriginal participation in the economy. Part of an outreach process to urban Aboriginal multi-service providers, this new program encourages partnerships and community planning in order to best address regional and local urban service needs.

Although the UP program had a late start date, the NAFC was successful in distributing 75% of the funding envelope to communities. It is important to note that the NAFC expects unexpended funds (approximately 25%) will be spent on projects and activities consistent with the program objectives in 2015-16. In the 2014-2015 fiscal year, a total of 149 projects received funded through UP.

Urban Partnerships Program - Projects by Region 2014-15

As of March 2015

Region Number of organizations Thematic Activity Area # of Project Funding Allocated Total Allocations
GRAND TOTAL 150 Youth 111 $9,485,148 $13,515,811
Innovation 37 $2,295,866
Social Enterprise 30 $1,734,797
Northwest Territories/ Nunavut 7 Youth 7 $840,000 $840,000
British Columbia/Yukon 46 Youth 26 $1,321,050 $2,269,550
Innovation 11 $538,500
Social Enterprise 9 $410,000
Alberta 22 Youth 17 $2,210,527 $2,814,527
Innovation 4 $454,000
Social Enterprise 1 $150,000
Saskatchewan 28 Youth 24 $1,981,658 $2,324,887
Innovation 5 $331,229
Social Enterprise 2 $15,000
Manitoba 15 Youth 13 $1,676,757 $2,365,245
Innovation 3 $260,000
Social Enterprise 5 $428,488
Ontario 12 Youth 9 $731,911 $1,053,459
Innovation 3 $221,548
Social Enterprise 1 $100,001
Quebec 12 Youth 8 $378,459 $1,045,460
Innovation 8 $286,609
Social Enterprise 7 $380,392
Atlantic 8 Youth 6 $347,786 $802,683
Innovation 3 $203,981
Social Enterprise 5 $250,916

Community Capacity Support - Projects by Region 2014-15

As of March 2015

Financial Statement

Financial Statement Financial Statement Financial Statement Download PDF Financial Statement

Policy Highlights

New Journey’s - Matrimonial Real Property (MRP)

New Journey’s - Matrimonial Real Property (MRP)

The NAFC launched the New Journey’s website providing information to Aboriginal people who are planning to move to an urban location. The website contains three transition guides specifically designed for women, families, and students. The website also contains service directories for all urban centres in Canada where Friendship Centres are located. The directory provides information for: health services; child care services; social services; education supports; housing services and emergency services and more.

Learn more at
Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

The NAFC launched four PSA type videos focussed on raising awareness about concerns for human trafficking directed at Aboriginal youth. The videos were created and produced by Aboriginal youth following a national call for proposals. A National Advisory Committee made up of NAFC regional and youth representatives, and human trafficking specialists provided direction and oversight for the successful completion of this project. The videos are available through YouTube.

Learn more
Aboriginal Labour Market

Aboriginal Labour Market

The NAFC continued to investigate options and opportunities regarding Friendship Centre involvement in federal labour market opportunities for urban Aboriginal peoples. The NAFC also continued to explore prospective partnerships with national employers and trainers regarding prospective opportunities for collaboration.

Canadian Active After School Partnership (CAASP)

Canadian Active After School Partnership (CAASP)

The NAFC in partnership with several youth focussed organizations successfully piloted eight after school projects for children. Friendship Centres hosted the eight pilots in partnership with other local organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS). This national effort was coordinated in partnership with several national organizations including Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE).

4Rs Youth Movement

4Rs Youth Movement

The NAFC was one of 14 national youth serving organizations that partnered to develop the 4Rs Youth Movement. The 4Rs is focused on empowering youth from various backgrounds and nationalities to create better understanding and relations of each other. The 14 national organizations are supporting their youth to work together to grow the 4Rs Movement into a national strategy supporting youth at the community level to build effective relationships based on knowing and respecting each other’s nation, culture, traditions and histories. The 4Rs include: respect, reconciliation, reciprocity and relevance.

Our Partners

The NAFC believes that building strong and healthy relationships with partners is the key to continued success. This is why NAFC works in close collaboration with our partners so that together we can offer the best programs and services available to the Friendship Centre Movement now and well into the future.

Partnerships 2014-2015

  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  • Status of Women Canada
  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Canadian Women’s Foundation
  • Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
  • Girls Action Foundation
  • Carleton University
  • J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
  • Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
  • The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
  • Canadians for a New Partnerships
  • Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network
  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research
  • Centre for Aboriginal Health Research
  • Canadian National Aboriginal Working Group on HIV and AIDS
  • Statistics Canada
  • National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
  • Apathy is Boring
  • 4Rs Initiative
  • Assembly of First Nations
  • Native Women’s Association of Canada
  • Canadian Career Development Foundation
  • Canada’s Building Trades Unions
  • Council on Corporate Aboriginal Relations
  • Conference Board of Canada
  • Colleges and Institutes Canada
  • National Table for Aboriginal Literacy and Essential Skills
  • Centre for the Study of Living Standards
  • National Youth Serving Alliance

Research Highlights


Regional Research Projects & Counting!


Over 46 students involved to date!


Verified Partners


44 Co-Applicants

2 Collaborators

34 Partners

Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network - “Research for a Better Life"

The Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) is a network of urban Aboriginal communities, policy makers and academics, engaging in community driven research with the goal of contributing to a better quality of life for urban Aboriginal people. This research aims at fostering “mino-biimaadiziwin” – the good life – for urban Aboriginal people.

Learn more at:

As we enter year four of the five-year project, the UAKN has reached substantive milestones including over 50 UAKN research projects taking place across the country on topics ranging from: education, housing, healing and wellness, financial literacy, food security, quality of life, violence against women, services and programs, duty to consult and justice.

To learn more about these projects, visit:

Data Visualization Project

An additional project of the UAKN Secretariat, uses 2011 National Household Survey and 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey results to provide community profiles. This project is similar to the urban Aboriginal demographic project produced by the NAFC using 2001 and 2006 Census data with an adjusted methodology. This tool includes statistics at national, provincial and some communities on Aboriginal identity population, income, housing, education, labour market, Aboriginal languages, and community well-being indicators.

To learn more about this project, visit:

NAFC – Pathways - PEKE

The goal of the NAFC-Pathways-PEKE is to ensure that Friendship Centres are meaningfully and ethically engaged throughout the course of the Pathways initiative. This year, the NAFC-Pathways- PEKE brought together committee member representatives from Provincial Territorial Associations at a training institute as well as some committee members travelled to the Pathways Annual Gathering.

The NAFC-Pathways-PEKE will impact Friendship Centres in two key ways. First, through their participation in Pathways related activities Friendship Centres will be in a position to guide research and leverage findings to advocate for additional program and service funding. Second, Friendship Centres will have the opportunity to develop or increase their capacity to participate in and/or conduct research within their communities.

For more information on the NAFC-Pathways –PEKE visit:

Statistics Canada

NAFC has continued to work with Statistics Canada with both their National Household Survey (NHS) and Aboriginal Peoples Study (APS) data sets. NAFC continues to engage with Statistics Canada and other NAOs to provide them feedback on how they present Aboriginal data, and opportunities to influence the topics they explore. Opportunities to provide feedback on the Aboriginal Peoples Survey design has been one key area of engagement this past year.

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

The NAFC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2015 with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. The University of Manitoba in its bid to host the Centre in 2011 originally approached the NAFC. The vision for the Centre is to provide individuals access to records from residential schools and those collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The NAFC remains engaged with the Centre as it develops in the capacity of Founding Partner.