Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 4: Child Welfare (1-5)

Wabaseemoong Independent Nations sign Child Welfare Coordination Agreement

March 11, 2022

NetNewsLedger – In an historic first in Ontario, Chief Waylon Scott, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario Minister of ChildrenCommunity and Social Services and the Honourable Greg Rickford, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs signed a trilateral coordination agreement for child and family services. The signing was celebrated today at a ceremony in Wabaseemoong’s community.

Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs says, “Wabaseemoong Independent Nations have charted their own path when it comes to child and family services, especially through the development and implementation of the Wabaseemoong Customary Care Code. Today’s landmark agreement is a testament to the community’s commitment to Wabaseemoong children and families.”

This coordination agreement supports Wabaseemoong Independent Nations’ Customary Care Code which has had force of federal law since January 8, 2021. The Code supports Wabaseemoong’s exercise of jurisdiction over Wabaseemoong children and families. The coordination agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of all parties to support coordination of child and family services. It also provides for mechanisms to address funding from the federal and provincial governments to ensure the necessary financial resources are in place.

This is the first coordination agreement signed in Ontario and the second in Canada since the federal legislation An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families came into force in 2020.

Having a child and family services law was always of integral importance to Wabaseemoong Independent Nations. The community began developing its law at a community planning level in 2011. Leadership recognized the work needed at the grass roots level to ensure its success. Culture and tradition are of the upmost importance for Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, and so this work began in ceremony. The community worked closely and collectively with the elders, youth and community members to bring to life what you see today.

Wabaseemoong Independent Nations have always honoured their youth by ensuring they are a central focus to create a better future. In honouring this approach, leadership of Wabaseemoong Independent Nations approved the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations Customary Care Code in 2017 with the leadership of youth.