A new beginning: The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs was created on June 21, 2007 as part of a response to Justice Sidney B. Linden’s recommendations following theIpperwash inquiry.
Before the ministry was created, Ontario had a Native Affairs Secretariat. The secretariat’s primary role was to negotiate and settle Ontario’s outstanding legal obligations arising from land claims, as well as to provide corporate policy guidance and coordination.
With its establishment as a stand-alone entity, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs gained significant new policy and relationship capacity, all with an understanding of the lasting legacy of Canada’s colonial history and how Indigenous peoples continue to be impacted by historical policies. It also began work within government to increase cultural competency and to promote new and more collaborative relationships with Indigenous partners. This new, dedicated ministry worked to develop an across-government approach to guide Ontario’s relationship with Indigenous communities.
Through its first 10 years, the ministry’s role has evolved and expanded, reflective of a strong commitment to Indigenous issues and the need for reconciliation. The ministry has led and provided significant support to government initiatives where they intersect with Indigenous peoples and priorities.
In 2016, the ministry changed its name to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. This new name is reflective of its commitment to working with Indigenous governments, organizations and communities that represent the interests of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in Ontario.