For over half a century, Friendship Centres have helped urban Indigenous people access the vital services they need to succeed in urban settings across Canada. For many Indigenous people, Friendship Centres are the first point of contact to access culturally-based socio-economic programs and services.
Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTAs) understand the challenges facing urban Indigenous communities and their unique wrap-around service delivery model ensures they are well equipped to tackle these challenges. For many urban Indigenous people, Friendship Centres are a crucial lifeline.
Nationally, approximately 61% of Indigenous People are living in urban settings. Depending on the region, Indigenous People living in urban settings, make up 85% of the Indigenous population.
What Friendship Centres do
Across the country, Friendship Centres provide culturally appropriate services for Indigenous people living in urban centres in areas such as:
- Culture: Language, Ceremony, Cultural Activities, Arts & Crafts
- Shelter: Childcare, Anti-Violence, Youth, Homelessness
- Health: Mental Health, Disability, Illness, Sport & Hobbies
- Support: Food Security, Transportation, Justice, Finances
- Develop: Education, Employment, Life Skills, Training
Friendship Centres provide crucial points of connection, community, and a network of culture hubs. They have become a place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together, to share traditions, and to learn from one another.
The Friendship Centre Movement
The Friendship Centre Movement (FCM) is Canada’s most significant national network of self-determined, Indigenous owned and operated civil society community hubs offering programs, services, and supports to Indigenous people living in urban, rural, and remote settings, and specifically for First Nations living off-reserve, Métis living outside of the Métis Homelands, and Inuit living in the south.
The FCM is made up of over 100 Friendship Centres and PTAs from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Provincial/Territorial Associations represent the collective interests of member Friendship Centres located in their respective province or territory. As of 2021, there are 125 active Friendship Centres and 7 PTAs.
The reach of our member Friendship Centres’ network is extensive. Our collective work reaches millions of points of contact in a year and hundreds of thousands of people every single day from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
In 2020, the NAFC estimated that Friendship Centres have collectively provided approximately 9,456,000 points of service. These points of service include every instance that Friendship Centres have provided support and resources to a First Nations, Inuit, Métis and non-Indigenous community member through our vast array of programs and services across the country.
We are proud that our work is driven by the communities we serve, trusted by our community members, and rooted in the rich cultures and diverse traditions of Indigenous people that have called these lands, towns, and cities home since time immemorial. Friendship Centres embrace and operationalize these cultures and traditions every day in the work that we collectively do across the country.