McGuinty Government to Build Brighter Future for Aboriginal Children and Youth

Archived Release

McGuinty Government to Build Brighter Future for Aboriginal Children and Youth

Ministry of Indigenous Affairs

"New Approach" to Aboriginal Relationships Builds Stronger Aboriginal Communities TORONTO, June 7 - The Ontario government today launched a new strategy to build relationships with the province's Aboriginal peoples and strengthen their communities through a new approach that provides processes for both formal and informal dialogue between Ontario's Cabinet ministers and the leadership of Aboriginal organizations in Ontario. "Ontario's Aboriginal peoples have always been, and continue to be, a diverse and vital presence in the culture and social fabric of our province," said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. "At the heart of this government's strategy is the recognition that together we must create a better future for Aboriginal peoples - particularly children and youth. Our government is committed to this new vision to ensure improved opportunities and a better way of life for Aboriginal communities across Ontario." Michael Bryant, Minister Responsible for Native Affairs, today shared Ontario's New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs with Aboriginal leaders, organizations and service providers. The new approach is based on a new relationship of co-operation and mutual respect, focused on shared goals for long-term positive change. "Over the past year, progress on strengthening this relationship has been made with the active participation of Ontario's Aboriginal leaders, organizations and service providers," said Bryant. "Our government and Aboriginal leaders and organizations share a vision of a healthy, more prosperous future for Aboriginal children and youth in Ontario." The new approach outlines the government's commitment to the following initiatives and sets out strategies to achieve them: - Implement a new urban/rural Aboriginal children and youth program - Champion Aboriginal children and youth issues in Federal/Provincial/Territorial/Aboriginal (FPTA) processes - Develop an Aboriginal education policy framework - Develop guidelines for consultation with Aboriginal peoples related to constitutionally protected rights - Establish a new Northern Table to address the unique challenges to achieving prosperity and well-being in the north - Negotiate and implement Métis harvesting agreements - Develop an Aboriginal justice strategy - Implement a sport and physical activity strategy focused on Aboriginal children and youth - Implement an enhanced Aboriginal tobacco strategy. "We have come a long way on the path to improving our relationship with the Ontario government. This government has shown it will listen to First Nations' concerns and recommendations and therefore we are prepared to work together in good faith as our relationship evolves and we strive to reach our shared goals," said Ontario Regional Chief Charles Fox, Chiefs of Ontario. "I am pleased to see the government making a firm commitment to addressing the serious issues facing Aboriginal children and youth in this province. The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres is proud to work with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to develop a new urban children's and youth strategy that will make a real difference for these children," said Sylvia Maracle, executive director, Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres. Disponible en français www.nativeaffairs.jus.gov.on.caFor further information: Greg Crone, Minister Bryant's Office, (416) 326-1785; Merike Nurming, Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat, (416) 326-4079