Urban Commitments to Reconciliation: Background Content

Urban Aboriginal Strategy

February 23, 2022

Fed. Govt.

Federal Budget 2016

Federal Budget 2016 renewed funding for the Urban Aboriginal Strategy for one year and committed Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to identify ways to strengthen the Urban Aboriginal Strategy. As part of its commitment, INAC undertook a comprehensive engagement process from June to September 2016 that included 21 roundtables across Canada, an online survey, funding to national Indigenous organizations to speak with their members and town hall meetings with parliamentarians.

The information gathered through this engagement process has informed the development of policy options for the renewal of urban programming for Indigenous peoples.What should be the primary area(s) of focus for new or expanded programs and services for the urban Indigenous population? Why?

The following questions were used to guide the discussions:

  • What are the main issues that Indigenous peoples face when living in or moving to an urban centre?
  • Which needs of urban Indigenous peoples are currently being met by government or non-government services?
  • Can you provide an example of a successful program or service delivered in an urban centre that has helped you?
  • Why has it been successful?
  • What need(s) did it address?
  • What are the main barriers that need to be addressed to meet the needs of urban Indigenous peoples?
  • What are the gaps in current program support for Indigenous peoples living in urban centres?

Participants focused their comments on four broad categories:

  • overarching themes
  • local programs and services
  • program design and delivery
  • success stories

February 23, 2022

Fed. Govt.

Government Urban Aboriginal Strategy Funding 2015-2017

A snapshot of how governments funded the Urban Aboriginal Strategy pre-TRC Final Report (December 2015) and post TRC Final Report: funding for 2016-17 went down.

February 23, 2022

Fed. Govt.

Roundtable Cities

  • Iqaluit, Nunavut
  • Québec City, Quebec
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Thompson, Manitoba
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
  • Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Prince George, British Columbia
  • Whitehorse, Yukon
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Val-d’Or, Quebec
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick

February 23, 2022

Fed. Govt.

Rountable Themes

It was recommended that INAC respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by funding programs to help address the social determinants of health for Indigenous peoples living off reserve and that ensure that equitable services are provided for all off-reserve Indigenous populations. It was widely recognized that over 60% of the Indigenous population now lives in urban centres. This population is diverse and transient.

Overarching Themes:

  • Racism and discrimination
  • Local programs and services
  • Transitional support
  • Culture and language
  • Daycare and childcare
  • Family support
  • Youth programs
  • Elder and seniors programming
  • Educational supports
  • Employment supports
  • Building infrastructure
  • Transportation
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Mental health and addiction services
  • Health care
  • Justice and legal support
  • Design and delivery
  • Access to core and multi-year funding
  • Inclusive without losing specificity
  • A northern urban strategy
  • Inuit specific programming
  • Friendship centres
  • An Indigenous service hub
  • Knowledge and research
  • Indigenous leadership
  • Success stories
  • Collaborative partnerships
  • Friendship Centres

The following link provides details on “what was head” in rountable discussion held in the various cities across the country.

February 13, 2023

Fed. Govt., ON

The OFIFC’s 2023 Federal and Provincial Pre-Budget Submission

The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) represents the interests of 29 Indigenous Friendship Centres across Ontario. Census 2021 statistics indicate that most Indigenous people reside in urban and rural communities. Our communities’ demographics are younger than the mainstream Canadian population and our communities are growing. In Ontario, 88% of Indigenous people live off-reserve in towns, cities, and rural areas.

Friendship Centres play a critical role in creating opportunities for urban Indigenous people to exercise their rights to access culturally relevant programs and services that meet their needs where they live, through dedicated urban Indigenous community spaces. Underlining the tie between the work and role of Friendship Centres and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Declaration sets out that Indigenous people have a right to organize “themselves for political, economic, social and cultural enhancement and to bring to an end all forms of discrimination and oppression wherever they occur”

Articles 3, 5, 20, 21, and 23 of the UNDRIP outline the rights of Indigenous people to the development, administration and oversight of our own institutions and priorities. Indigenous Friendship Centres were formed as a grassroots response to decolonization and remain direct catalysts of Indigenous people’s self-determination in the areas of education, culture, justice, housing, health, and healing. Friendship Centres have a proven and extensive track record in managing physical and social infrastructure and in contributing to the modern reconciliation era as decolonial spaces where relationships between Indigenous communities and settlers are made real in cities and towns.
In a difficult economic climate, Budget 2023 presents an opportunity for the federal government to leverage the expertise of Friendship Centres to make immediate impacts on reconciliation priorities. With this aim, we respectfully advance the following Budget 2023 recommendations:

The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) recommends the following Budget 2023 investments:

1. The annualization of dedicated federal funding to support the core operations and capacity development of Indigenous Friendship Centres. Investments will stabilize essential service delivery and propel the Friendship Centre Movement forward.

2. The effective implementation of an Indigenous-led Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy announced in Budget 2022. The Strategy must be implemented immediately and funded to adequately respond to the housing crisis experienced across our communities.

3. Long-term, stabilized funding supports for the OFIFC’s Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound program as a MMIWG2S+ National Action Plan direct response.

4. Facilitate the advancement of urban Indigenous-led child care spaces within the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System that meets the proportionate need in our growing communities.

5. The establishment of an annualized, flexible federal funding source for Indigenous Youth Initiatives in Friendship Centres to support young people to thrive in their communities.

Access OFIFC’s Full Provincial pre-budget Submission

Access OFIFC’s Full Federal pre-budget Submission

December 14, 2022


The Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec launches work to create the Observatory of Urban Indigenous Realities

NationTalk: Wendake, December 14th, 2022 – The Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ) is pleased to announce the launch of the Observatory of Urban Indigenous Realities, which will produce and share scientific knowledge on themes related to urban Indigenousness. The research will raise awareness about these realities and provide policy-makers with concrete, systemic solutions for furthering major social progress.

Although the urban Indigenous population is continuously growing, there is still limited data available to document this population’s defining elements. The Observatory will bridge this gap. By providing a space within the RCAAQ, it will allow researchers and collaborating partners to monitor the science and to share knowledge and community-based research data to create a realistic overview of urban Indigenous communities. It will also highlight the central role Indigenous people play in Indigenous research and in respecting cultural and traditional approaches. The RCAAQ is one of the research organizations and institutions supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Part of the work at the Observatory will also be to evaluate and document the innovative practices and expertise within the Native Friendship Centre Movement, which draws on over 50 years of activity in Quebec.


“By creating this Observatory, we are aiming to provide a greater awareness and understanding of urban Indigenous realities, but more importantly, we want to become more independent and empowered in our research and knowledge mobilization efforts.”

—Tanya Sirois, Executive Director

About the Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ)

The RCAAQ is a network of 10 Friendship Centres and 2 service points that offer Indigenous people culturally relevant and safe services that contribute to the harmony and reconciliation between peoples in Quebec cities. The Native Friendship Centres are the largest urban service infrastructure  for Indigenous people, offering a range of integrated services in a variety of sectors, including wellness, health, social services, social inclusion, education, employability, early childhood, youth, and much more. The Société immobilière du Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (SIRCAAQ) was founded in 2019 to collectively develop and apply innovative and sustainable real estate infrastructure solutions that contribute to the wellness of Indigenous people.


Myrian Marotte
Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec

Other Background Content By Theme

Government Programs

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Individual Municipal Commitments

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First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiatives

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Urban Reserves

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Federal Programs

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National Urban Inuit Strategy

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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