Communiqué: Working Together to Improve Socio-Economic Outcomes for Aboriginal Peoples Across Canada
Meeting of the Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Leaders of the National Aboriginal Organizations
OTTAWA, ON April 19, 2011: Provincial and territorial ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and leaders from five national Aboriginal organizations met today for the third time since 2009 to discuss progress and next steps in their plan to improve the quality of life for First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples.
The Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG) is providing national leadership as it works collaboratively to implement a plan that focuses on:
- increasing graduation rates for Aboriginal students;
- supporting economic development in Aboriginal communities, and
- ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
Key activities and meeting highlights:
- Support continued call for a First Ministers' meeting on Aboriginal education with national Aboriginal leaders;
- Continued call for the federal government to join the AAWG's ongoing discussions to further advance and enhance the work of the AAWG;
- Agreement to pursue a formalized partnership with the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) on shared priorities;
- Development of key strategies to encourage participation and engagement by Aboriginal students, parents and communities in Aboriginal education;
- A new success stories website www.aawgeconomicdevelopment.ca to celebrate, enhance, promote and share the existing positive accomplishments and proven advancements in Aboriginal economic development;
- Support for a national forum on addressing violence against Aboriginal women, to be held in Vancouver, B.C. June 15-17, 2011; and
- Continuing efforts for obtaining federal support on a third National Aboriginal Women's Summit (NAWS III).
The AAWG is composed of Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs from all provinces and territories and the national leaders from five Aboriginal organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Native Women's Association of Canada, Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami). The Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs chairs this working group. The 2010 progress report, Framework for Action in Education, Economic Development and Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls, was released on the work of the AAWG.
- High school drop out rates for First Nations youth living off-reserve, Métis and Inuit youth are 22.6%, more than two and a half times the rate of non-Aboriginal youth (8.5%)
- In 2006, the median income for Aboriginal peoples was $18,962 - 30% lower than the $27,097 median income for the rest of Canadians.
- About 15% of Aboriginal women in Canada who had a spouse or common-law partner in the past five years reported being a victim of spousal violence, more than twice the proportion among non-Aboriginal women (6%). Missing and murdered Aboriginal women represent about 10% of female homicides in Canada, despite the fact that Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the total female population in Canada.
- (Based on data from Statistics Canada)