Ministry overview

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs was created in 2007 to develop a stronger, broader partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Ontario to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people through development of sustainable economies and improved social conditions, ensuring Ontario is as fair and prosperous as it can be.

Mandate

The ministry’s mandate requires it to:

  • In partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit promote collaboration and coordination across ministries on Aboriginal policy and programs
  • set priorities for, and track, the progress of Ontario’s Aboriginal agenda
  • enhance government’s awareness of Aboriginal people, issues and best practices for consulting and engaging with Aboriginal people
  • work with the federal government to find ways to make the most of federal funding
  • help Aboriginal people to access Ontario government programs, services and information
  • reform the land claims process to help address historical grievances
  • encourage diversity and inclusion, especially representation of Aboriginal people, in the Ontario Public Service.

Building on this broad mandate, the ministry’s strategic direction sets the focus on four areas:

  • building stronger relationships between Ontario and Aboriginal partners
  • improving social conditions and quality of life for Aboriginal people
  • increasing economic opportunity and sustainability for Aboriginal people
  • resolving land claim issues and working to achieve reconciliation between Aboriginal people and the Ontario government.

While other provincial ministries are responsible for delivery of most programs and services designed specifically to improve socio-economic conditions, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is mandated to work with ministries to coordinate policy and program initiatives designed to deliver on these key priorities for First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Ministry contribution to priorities and results

Beyond fulfilling the responsibilities identified in the ministry’s mandate, corporate priorities for 2014-15 include:

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs initiatives:

  • With Aboriginal partners, initiating a three-year Treaty Engagement and Public Awareness Strategy.
  • Launching an Aboriginal Economic Development Fund featuring grants for Aboriginal businesses and skills training.
  • Initiating an Urban Aboriginal Action Plan to address socio-economic disparities.
  • Supporting remote and rural communities through a new First Nation Community Electrification Readiness Program to maximize local employment and business opportunities.
  • With the Algonquins of Ontario and the federal government, concluding an Agreement in Principle on the Algonquin land claim and making progress toward a negotiated final agreement, ultimately establishing Ontario’s first modern-day treaty.
  • Developing public-facing guidance on consultation matters, intended for use by industry, municipalities and other external stakeholders and partners.
  • Developing new tools and resources to support Aboriginal economic and business development.
  • Working with other ministries, First Nation and Metis leaders to continue the implementation of the recommendations of the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry.
  • Co-leading coordination on the government’s response to the Strategic Framework to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women with the Ontario Women’s Directorate. This includes the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Violence Against Aboriginal Women comprised of eight other provincial ministries and five Aboriginal partner organizations.

Ministry support for initiatives led by other ministries:

  • In partnership with Aboriginal communities and organizations, provincial ministries, the federal government and the private and non-profit sectors, continue to work to close the socio-economic gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples by developing policies, programs and initiatives in a range of areas, including education, health and wellness, children and youth, poverty reduction, food security, social assistance, seniors, and justice. For example:
    • Collaborating with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and Aboriginal partners in the development of an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy.
    • Continuing to work with the Ministry of Education on developing supports to improve First Nations, Métis and Inuit student outcomes.
    • Supporting the implementation of the Iacobucci Report with the Ministry of the Attorney General.
    • Continuing to work with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Community and Social Services on increasing economic opportunities for Aboriginal people through Employment and Training Services integration.
    • Supporting the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines on negotiations with First Nations to sustainably develop the Ring of Fire area under the Regional Framework Agreement reached in April 2014.
  • Representing Ontario on the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group, composed of all provinces and territories and national Aboriginal organizations; participating in working groups on the priority areas of education and economic development, including housing, ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls, and disaster mitigation and emergency management services on reserves.

Ministry programs and activities

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs works to meet the Ontario government’s commitment to build trust, prosperity and hope through work in four strategic areas.

Building stronger Aboriginal relationships

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs will continue to build stronger relationships with Aboriginal communities and organizations, as well as federal, provincial and territorial partners. Examples include:

  • Facilitating the 9th annual meeting between the Premier and Aboriginal leaders
  • Representing Ontario’s interests on the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG) comprised of the 13 provinces and territories and five National Aboriginal Organizations.
  • Implementing the Framework Agreement with the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), renewed for five years in April 2014. The new agreement promotes and facilitates the advancement of Métis people in Ontario through the priorities of joint planning, collaboration and action between the MNO and participating Ontario ministries.
  • Continuing to support the Minister’s attendance at annual general meetings of provincial Aboriginal organizations.

Building capacity

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs will continue to provide direct funding to First Nation, Métis and Aboriginal organizations, enabling them to hire staff and experts to enhance their ability to build relationships with government and engage in consultation.

Treaty education and public awareness

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs will work with Aboriginal partners and provincial ministries to plan and develop a Treaty Education and Public Awareness Campaign. The purpose is to identify opportunities to raise awareness of treaties and treaty-related issues and knowledge of Métis and Aboriginal people and their goals.

Improving social conditions

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, in collaboration with Aboriginal partners and partner ministries, supports strategic investments in Aboriginal people and communities. The ministry will continue to work toward closing the socio-economic gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Ontarians by:

  • Supporting the Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ engagement with Aboriginal partners on the development of an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy, aimed at improving outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Aboriginal children and youth on- and off-reserve.
  • Working with the Ministry of Education to improve education outcomes for Aboriginal students on-reserve, to increase support for First Nations students and facilitate successful transitions between First Nations schools and the provincially funded education system.
  • Continuing to support the Ministry of Education in bilateral discussions with the Anishinabek Nation to ensure that educational outcomes are improved and to see how results can be replicated in other parts of the province. This includes starting discussions with the Anishinabek Nation to develop a Master Education Framework Agreement that supports the establishment of an Anishinabek Education System.
  • Continuing to work with provincial ministries, First Nations and the federal government to improve community wellness and identify opportunities for youth to participate in the Ring of Fire development.
  • Leading the work of the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group on Aboriginal youth:
    • Calling for a First Ministers’ Meeting on Aboriginal education and developing a framework for that meeting.
    • Developing a joint work plan with the Council of Ministers of Education on shared priorities.
    • Developing a report on education self-identification practices from across the country.
    • Developing an inventory of innovative bilateral agreements for education with the federal government and regional Aboriginal organizations.
  • Working with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Ontario Native Women’s Association to establish an Urban Aboriginal Policy Engagement Table that supports provincial policy development.
  • Developing a coordinated, whole-of-government Urban Aboriginal Action Plan.
  • Participating in Pikangikum First Nation’s Health, Education and Elders Committee to help develop a social development strategy for the community and to review the Coroner’s Report on Youth Suicides in Pikangikum.
  • Supporting Aboriginal issues identification and management of community emergencies.
  • Working with provincial ministries and collaborating with federal departments to respond quickly to address social emergencies declared in First Nations communities.

Supporting economic opportunity and stability

Strong and vibrant Aboriginal businesses benefit First Nations, Métis and Inuit, as well as Ontario as a whole. The ministry will support economic growth and sustainable Aboriginal economies by:

  • Encouraging the participation of Métis entrepreneurs and Métis-owned businesses in resource development opportunities through funding provided to the Métis Voyageur Development Fund.
  • Improving economic growth and creating jobs by facilitating Aboriginal industry and government partnerships, development of Aboriginal businesses and Aboriginal community economic infrastructure.
  • Providing ongoing support for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and business owners through the Aboriginal Business Development Toolkit and the Aboriginal Business Directory.
  • Working with Aboriginal communities and organizations to regularly share key economic development information and resources, and supporting events such as the Ontario First Nations Economic Developers Association annual conference.
  • Working across government to develop new tools to coordinate, track and report on Aboriginal economic development and skills training supports and to expand the menu of Aboriginal business and community development supports and resources.
  • Working with Aboriginal partners and land and resource ministries to increase Aboriginal communities’ meaningful involvement in, and benefits from, natural resource development opportunities such as the Canada Ontario Resource Development Agreement.
  • Collaborating with other ministries to develop and implement key policy initiatives impacting Aboriginal people and ensuring that these initiatives support Aboriginal economic development. Initiatives include the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, Mining Act modernization, Far North Land Use Planning, the Northern Ontario Growth Plan, the Forest Tenure Modernization Act, 2011, broadband connectivity, and the Pan/Parapan Am Games Promotion, Celebration and Legacy Strategy.
  • Working with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to identify economic opportunities for First Nations located near the Ring of Fire region through targeted investments in skills training, governance and capacity building.
  • Continuing to work with the Ministry of Finance and First Nation pilot project communities to explore options for self-regulation of tobacco on reserve, as well as developing strategies for the diversification of economies on reserve beyond tobacco.
  • Administering the First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing and Financial Agreement. The Agreement is to provide First Nations with long-term, stable financial support to improve the quality of life in First Nation communities.
  • Participating in the Economic Working Group of the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group.
  • Funding new capital projects and completing existing capital projects through the Aboriginal Community Capital Grants Program.
  • Administering the New Relationship Fund to help First Nations and Métis communities build fundamental capacity to participate in a meaningful consultation and engagement with government and the private sector on lands and resource matters. The Fund also invests in Aboriginal communities and organizations that are building their capacity to engage in economic development activities.
  • Collaborating with First Nations and Métis communities and organizations as part of the Pan/Parapan Am Games Promotion, Celebration and Legacy Strategy to incorporate Aboriginal markers along the Trans Canada Trail in Ontario to honour the history and culture of Aboriginal communities in Ontario.
  • Introducing a First Nation Community Electrification Readiness Program that will provide funding to remote and rural First Nation communities to maximize employment and business opportunities for the First Nation communities benefitting from the planned electricity expansion projects in northwestern Ontario.

Land claims and reconciliation

During discussions and negotiations the ministry will meet the Crown’s legal obligations to Aboriginal peoples arising from section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, treaty and Aboriginal rights, provincial and federal legislation and policies, and will foster reconciliation between the provincial government and Aboriginal people living in Ontario.

Where supported on a historical and legal basis, the ministry will participate in land claim negotiations.

Some of the land claim and land-related activities that will continue in 2014-15 include:

  • The ministry is currently working with over 60 First Nation communities in active land claim negotiations, land claim research activities and implementation of final settlement agreements resolving historic land claim issues.
  • Negotiating with Algonquin representatives and the federal government to negotiate a settlement that will address the issues raised by the Algonquin land claim.
  • Working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on the decommissioning of Ipperwash Park so it can be added to reserve lands.
  • Implementing negotiation process improvements to promote more efficient resolution of land claims.
  • Improving coordination with Canada to realize further land claim negotiation process efficiencies.
  • Providing corporate policy and operational guidance and advice to ministries on meeting the Crown’s legal duty to consult when they undertake activities that may impact Aboriginal and treaty rights. The ministry will also provide advice in preparing legislation and regulations and collaborate on developing internal corporate tools for consultation.
  • Working with the Ministry of the Attorney General and other ministries to develop a government-wide treaty policy to help ministries address First Nation concerns regarding “treaty implementation.”

Ongoing work to identify historic Métis communities capable of bearing section 35 rights.

Ministry allocation of 2014-15 base spending ($70.7 million) by standard account

Title: Ministry Allocation of 2014-15 Base Spending ($70.7 million) by Standard Account - Description: Transfer Payments=$41,526,600 (59%)Salaries and Benefits=$14,578,014 (21%)Services=$13,169,600 (19%)Transportation and Communications=$1,125,000 (1%)Supplies and Equipment=$265,300 (0%)

Ministry allocation of 2014-15 base spending ($70.7 million) by vote and item

Title: Ministry Allocation of 2014-15 Base Spending ($70.7 million) by Vote and Item - Description: Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs=$57,141,700 (81%)Ministry Administration=$10,520,814 (15%)Capital=$3,001,000 (4%)Land Claims and Self Government=$2,000 (0%)

Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2014-15 ($M)

Expenditure typeExpenditure amount 2014-15
Operating$67.7 million
Capital$3.0 million
Total$70.7 million

Highlights of 2013-2014 achievements

The following section notes the highlights of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs’ work in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Stronger Aboriginal relationships

  • Facilitated the Ontario Aboriginal leaders’ 8th annual meeting with the Premier and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs in November 2013. In addition, Chiefs of Ontario met with the Premier during the summer of 2013 to discuss priority initiatives and challenges.
  • Funded the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres to support joint policy development and research.
  • Funded policy capacity within the Aboriginal Political Territorial Organizations to address Ipperwash recommendations.
  • Worked with the Ministry of Finance to establish pilot projects with two First Nations (Chippewas of the Thames and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne) to explore First Nations self-regulation of tobacco on reserve.
  • Partnered with Aboriginal organizations as part of formal and informal relationship tables, including Grand Council Treaty #3, Métis Nation of Ontario, and Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Improved social conditions

  • Worked with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Ontario Native Women’s Association to establish an Urban Aboriginal Policy Engagement table to support provincial policy development.
  • Worked with other ministries in the development of policy options aimed at meeting the unique needs of Aboriginal people and ensuring Aboriginal perspectives and considerations are included.
  • Supported the implementation of the Iacobucci Report with the Ministry of the Attorney General.
  • Supported the Ministry of Education in preliminary discussions with the Anishinabek Nation to develop a Master Education Framework Agreement that would support the establishment of an Anishinabek Education system. Worked with the Ministry of Education in bilateral discussions with the Anishinabek Nation to ensure that educational outcomes are improved and to see how results can be replicated in other parts of the province.
  • Chaired the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group Education Sub-committee with provinces, territories and National Aboriginal Organizations.
  • Co-led the coordination of the provincial government’s response to the Coroner’s Report on youth suicides in Pikangikum First Nation.
  • Provided support to Right to Play and the Belinda Stronach Foundation to deliver programming to Aboriginal children and youth. Right to Play funded 46 First Nations communities and 8 urban Aboriginal organizations.
  • Continued to work with the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, through the recommendations coming from the Feathers of Hope Youth forum held in 2012-13 to expand opportunities for Aboriginal children and youth in Ontario.
  • Worked with provincial ministries and collaborated with federal departments to respond quickly to address social emergencies in First Nations communities.

Economic opportunity and sustainability

  • Completed an evaluation of the two-year Aboriginal procurement pilot program, which will help inform the consideration of a potential longer term strategy in 2014-15 to improve capacity and access for Aboriginal businesses to government procurement opportunities.
  • Provided $3 million to the Métis Voyageur Development Fund to support Métis economic development.
  • Partnered with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business to undertake the 2014 Ontario Aboriginal Business Survey; released in March 2014.
  • Funded four new capital projects and completed eight capital projects through the Aboriginal Community Capital Grants Program.
  • Through the New Relationship Fund, the ministry invested $14.5 million to support:
    • 105 existing Core Consultation Capacity projects with First Nation and Métis communities, providing multi-year funding to enable long-term planning and engagement on lands and resource issues.
    • 33 new Core Capacity Building projects and 50 new Enhanced Capacity Building projects supporting stronger, more prosperous Aboriginal organizations and communities in Ontario.
    • Organizational support and community funding, including Aboriginal organizations that partner with Ontario as part of formal and informal relationship tables, as well as Aboriginal communities that partner with Ontario on specific initiatives including training.

Land claims and reconciliation

The ministry is directed toward meeting the Crown’s legal obligations to Aboriginal peoples arising from section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, treaty and Aboriginal rights, provincial and federal legislation and policies.

  • The ministry worked to foster reconciliation between Ontario and Aboriginal peoples living in Ontario:
    • The ministry worked jointly with First Nations to respond to the recommendations of the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry through the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee.
    • The ministry undertook research regarding historic Métis communities and corporate policy development to ensure a one-Crown approach.
  • A significant milestone was achieved in the negotiation of a new treaty with the Algonquins of Ontario with the public release of a Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle in December 2012. Work continued in 2013-14 with the federal government and Algonquin representatives to consult with stakeholders and the public, including nine public information sessions held in eastern Ontario and Toronto.
  • Progress was made with Attawapiskat First Nation and partner ministries to resolve outstanding land issues in the community. Addressing these issues will facilitate development of critical housing and other community infrastructure requirements.
  • Improvements have been implemented to ensure that new land claim submissions are researched and assessed within three years of filing.
  • The ministry signed a communications protocol with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council to engage one another on issues of mutual importance, helping build a stronger relationship.
  • The ministry provided funding in support of both the Mercury Disability Board operations and payment to beneficiaries of the Mercury Disability Fund. As of March 31, 2013, there were 188 beneficiaries of the Mercury Disability Fund.

Detailed financial information: Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs

Table 2: Combined operating and capital summary by vote

Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2014-2015Change from Estimates 2013-2014PercentageEstimates 2013-2014*Interim Actuals 2013-2014*Actuals 2012-2013*
Operating Expense
Ministry of Administration

$10,455,800

($213,200)

(2.0%)

$10,669,000

$10,784,700

$10,469,061
Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs$57,141,700$6,257,20012.3%$50,884,500$49,968,900$51,180,461
Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs – Land Claims and Self-Government$2,000n/an/a$2,000$2,000$348,153
Less: Special Warrants$24,164,700n/an/an/an/an/a
Total Operative Expense to be Voted$43,434,800$6,044,0009.8%$61,555,500$60,755,600$61,997,675
Special Warrants$24,164,700n/an/an/an/an/a
Statutory Appropriations$65,014$1,0001.6%$64,014$64,014$6,750
Ministry Total Operating Expense$67,664,514$6,045,0009.8%$61,619,514$60,819,614$62,004,425
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments$67,664,514$6,045,0009.8%$61,619,514$60,819,614$62,004,425
Capital Expense
Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
$3,001,000n/an/a$ 3,001,000$ 2,603,300$ 2,829,024
Less: Special Warrants$500,000$500,000n/an/an/an/a
Total Capital Expense to be Voted$2,501,000($500,000)(16.7%)$3,001,000$2,603,300$2,829,024
Special Warrants$500,000n/an/an/an/an/a
Statutory Appropriationsn/an/an/an/an/an/a
Ministry Total Capital Expense$3,001,000n/an/a$3,001,000$2,603,300$2,829,024
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments$3,001,000n/an/a$3,001,000$2,603,300$2,829,024
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)$70,665,514$6,045,0009.4%$64,620,514$63,422,914$64,833,449

*Estimates for the previous fiscal year are re-stated to reflect any changes in ministry organization and/or program structure. Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2014 Ontario budget.

For additional financial information, see:

www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/budget/estimates/

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/budget/paccts/

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2014/

Appendix: Annual Report 2013-2014

2013-14 achievements

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has a key role in providing advice to ministries as they develop programs, policies and initiatives that may impact Aboriginal peoples. In particular, the ministry provided advice to various Ontario ministries on how to incorporate Aboriginal considerations in their policy development. Examples from 2013-14 include:

  • Recommending additions and revisions to the proposed Invasive Species Act to better reflect First Nations and Métis interests;
  • Working collaboratively with the Ministry of Natural Resources to recommend various ways their response to the Standing Committee’s Report on the Aggregate Resources Act could incorporate Aboriginal-specific considerations;
  • Advising the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on how the Provincial Policy Statement and the Planning Act could be amended to better reflect Aboriginal considerations;
  • Working with the Ministry of Natural Resources to ensure that the Forest Fire Management Strategy provides opportunities for First Nations and Métis to participate in decision-making processes regarding how a forest fire is managed;
  • Promoting the incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in policy development and implementation;
  • Working with the Ministry of Finance to include Aboriginal procurement preferences within the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s gaming modernization plan; and
  • Working with land and resource ministries to ensure Aboriginal communities are meaningfully involved in and sharing the benefits from natural resource development opportunities.

The ministry led the performance measurement and tracking of results on Aboriginal initiatives, including:

  • Worked collaboratively with partner ministries to lead the implementation and monitoring of an OPS-wide performance measurement framework, including the collection of quantitative and qualitative data; and
  • Provided an OPS-wide data request service, providing consistent Aboriginal statistics to be used across the Ontario government, and developed comprehensive Aboriginal-related data products to support the OPS in program and policy development.

The ministry provided corporate policy and operational guidance and advice to ministries on meeting the Crown’s legal duty to consult when the Crown undertakes activities that may impact Aboriginal and treaty rights. The ministry provided input and advice to ministries in preparing legislation and regulations.

Stronger Aboriginal relationships

Treaty education and public awareness

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs began work with Aboriginal partners and other ministries to plan and develop a Treaty Education and Public Awareness Campaign. The purpose of this activity was to identify opportunities to raise public awareness of treaties and treaty-related issues both within Aboriginal communities and with the public at large. As well, the initiative can be developed to provide opportunities to increase awareness about treaties in provincial schools.

An initial step toward raising awareness was development of a map of treaties in Ontario for distribution to all elementary and secondary public schools in the province, Information was also developed to help teachers build activities and lessons around the map.

Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG)

The ministry represents Ontario’s interests on the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG).

The AAWG is comprised of Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs from all provinces and territories and Leaders from five National Aboriginal Organizations: the Assembly of First Nations; the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; Inuit Tapirit Kanatami; the Métis National Council; and the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

At the AAWG meeting in the fall of 2013, items discussed included education, economic development, housing, ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls, and emergency management.

Increased capacity

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs provided funding to support policy development and technical capacity in the Chiefs of Ontario and Provincial-Territorial Organizations (PTOs) through the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee, the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres in support of joint initiatives with the ministry.

The ministry focused on building capacity in a number of ways that included organizational support (e.g. Chiefs of Ontario environmental workshop) and in partnership with Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, provided capacity support to Matawa Tribal Council to establish their Resource Development Office.

Ministry support enabled the Saugeen Ojibway Nation to be the only First Nation in Ontario to complete a Business Retention and Expansion program survey. The survey supports the development of a community-based strategic economic plan for the Chippewas of Nawash and Chippewas of Saugeen First Nations.

Through the ministry’s partnership with Right to Play, The Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program has helped build capacity with First Nation youth by employing and training community mentors to empower them to develop and deliver the program to the youth in 46 communities. The mentors also train others in the community to ensure that the learning continues.

Improved social conditions

The ministry continued to work to close the socio-economic gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by working with other ministries in the development of policies, programs and initiatives that address the unique needs of and provide support for Aboriginal people in a range of areas, including education, health and wellness, children and youth, poverty reduction, food security, social assistance, seniors and justice. For example, the ministry:

  • Worked with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Ontario Native Women’s Association to establish an Urban Aboriginal Policy Engagement Table to support provincial policy development.
  • Worked in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services on developing an engagement strategy to support the development of an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy.
  • Supported the implementation of the Iacobucci Report with the Ministry of the Attorney General.
  • In partnership with the Ministry of Education, contributed to the development of a joint policy initiative aimed at improving education outcomes for First Nation students.
  • Supported the Ministry of Education in preliminary discussions with the Anishinabek Nation to develop a Master Education Framework Agreement that would support the establishment of an Anishinabek Education system.
  • Chaired the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group Education Sub-committee with provinces, territories and National Aboriginal Organizations.
  • Worked with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and First Nation partners on the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee.
  • Continued to work with the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, through the recommendations developed from the Feathers of Hope Youth Forum held in 2012-13 and proposed to expand opportunities for Aboriginal children and youth in this province.

Economic opportunity and sustainability

  • The ministry continued to support Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses through various tools and supports, including the Ontario Business Directory. The Directory is a free, public tool with a searchable database of Aboriginal-owned businesses in Ontario and information on the goods or services they provide.
  • The ministry supported business development and growth through the ongoing distribution and promotion of the Aboriginal Business Development Toolkit, a comprehensive resource that provides valuable information to Aboriginal entrepreneurs about starting and growing their businesses.
  • The government’s Aboriginal procurement pilot program is intended to facilitate access to provincial procurement opportunities for Aboriginal-owned businesses. The initiative supports Aboriginal communities and businesses by stimulating business opportunities and economic development, as well as promoting partnership opportunities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses. Eligible procurements relate to goods and services the government purchases that have a significant impact on or benefit to Aboriginal people, including procurements related to government programs and policies for Aboriginal people. The ministries of Aboriginal Affairs, Transportation, Northern Development and Mines, and Natural Resources and Forestry are among the ministries that have purchased goods and services from Aboriginal suppliers under the pilot program.
  • In 2013-14 the ministry provided the Métis Voyageur Development Fund with $3 million, consistent with its commitment to provide up to $30 million in provincial funding over 10 years (2011-21). The Fund is an independent Métis economic development initiative which uses provincial funds to support Métis entrepreneurs and businesses in the resource sector on an application basis.
  • The ministry worked with interested Aboriginal organizations to undertake research and information-sharing to support communities’ capacity to participate in and benefit from natural resource development opportunities. For example, the ministry partnered with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business to support the 2014 Aboriginal Business Survey. This research is providing new data and insights into Aboriginal-owned businesses for governments, industry and communities.
  • The ministry worked with Aboriginal communities and organizations to regularly share key economic development information and resources. Examples include working with other provincial ministries to deliver information sessions on the government’s business development tools and supports, the provincial procurement process, and funding programs for Aboriginal communities such as the New Relationship Fund and the Aboriginal Community Capital Grants Program.
  • The ministry supported a number of economic development events, including the Ontario First Nations Economic Developers Association Annual Conference in Sault Ste. Marie, the Assembly of First Nations Infrastructure Conference and Tradeshow in Toronto, the Economic Developers Council of Ontario Conference and Showcase in Toronto, and the Robinson Superior Regional Economic Development Summit in Thunder Bay, and NAN community participation in the “I Do Business” National Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Summit.

Land claims and reconciliation

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is responsible for leading the government’s response to the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry. The Inquiry’s recommendations remain at the foundation of Ontario’s work to develop meaningful policies and programs with First Nations people and communities.

  • The priority for the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee for 2013-14 was heritage and burial issues. The ministry provided funds to the Chiefs of Ontario to support the establishment of a First Nations working group on burial and heritage issues and to participate in a Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport initiative to return human remains that have been in the possession of that ministry for some time. The ministry also provided funds to the Chiefs of Ontario to support activities related to First Nations policing.

The ministry continued to undertake research regarding historic Métis communities and corporate policy development regarding Aboriginal peoples and related issues. Significant among these projects is a tripartite (Ontario, Canada and Métis Nation of Ontario) joint research project into the existence of a rights-bearing Métis community that meets Powley criteria in the Mattawa-Nipissing region.

Table 3: Ministry interim actual expenditures 2013-14

Expenditure typeMinistry interim actual expenditures 2013-2014*
Operating$60.8 million
Capital$2.6 million
Staff strength **
(as of March 31, 2014)
150.46

* Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2014 Ontario Budget.

** Ontario Public Service Full-Time Equivalent positions