Ministry Overview

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (formally the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs) was created in 2007 to develop a stronger, broader partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Ontario to improve the quality of life of Indigenous 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:

  • lead Ontario’s Action Plan in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action
  • promote collaboration and coordination across ministries on Indigenous policy and programs in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit
  • enhance awareness across ministries of Indigenous people, issues, priorities and provide advice on best practices for consulting and engaging with Indigenous people in diverse situations
  • work with the federal government on key priorities including achieving a sustainable and equitable funding processes in First Nation communities
  • help Indigenous people access Ontario government programs, services and information
  • reform the land claims processes to help address historical grievances
  • encourage diversity and inclusion, especially representation of Indigenous people, in the Ontario Public Service.

Building on this broad mandate, the ministry’s strategic direction is focussed on four areas:

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

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) is mandated to work with ministries to coordinate policy and program initiatives designed to deliver on key priorities for First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

Ministry Contribution to Priority Outcomes

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Initiatives:

  • Implementation of phase II of the Social Emergencies Action Plan:
    • Finalizing the Social Emergencies protocol in the spring 2017 and endorsement by Canada, Ontario, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Mushkegowuk Tribal Council, Grand Council Treaty #3, and Independent First Nations (remote communities only).
    • Finalizing guidance documents to implement the Social Emergencies protocol.
    • Supporting training led by Health Canada and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) on the implementation of the protocol for remote First Nations.
    • On-going review and evaluation of the protocol.
  • Continuing to work with Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) to complete the development of a Treaty Relationship Framework Agreement that supports a renewed Treaty relationship based on reconciliation and the respect and recognition for the treaties. This agreement will also commit Ontario and NAN to build upon the existing bilateral process to enhance our work together to improve the quality of life for NAN First Nations, children, families, and communities.
  • Continuing to engage Tungasuvvingat Inuit, the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre, and the Toronto Inuit Association in the development of an Inuit Relationship Strategy designed to strengthen the province’s relationship with Inuit and their representative organizations. This strategy may include the development of one or more relationship agreements/ bilateral processes between Ontario and provincial Inuit organizations. These processes will focus on broadening the government’s understands of Inuit culture, enhance access to provincial programs and services, and work with organizations to address the unique socio-economic concerns of Inuit residing in cities and towns across Ontario.
  • Developing an Indigenous youth strategy that aims to frame and identify the ways in which the Ministry can support already existing Indigenous youth initiatives across the province.
  • Working with Indigenous partners and Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport (MTCS) in developing and delivering province-wide initiatives, including youth-led initiatives for Ontario 150's Indigenous celebrations that aim to recognize the historic role of Indigenous peoples, increase public awareness, and contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
  • Working across government to develop and implement a Wood Stove Exchange and Replacement Program for northern and rural communities across Ontario, that aims to replace low efficiency wood stoves and greenhouse gas-intensive heating sources with high efficiency modern wood heating appliances.
  • Working across ministries and with Indigenous partners to develop and implement initiatives outlined in The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, which focuses on:
    1. addressing the legacy of residential schools;
    2. closing gaps and removing barriers;
    3. creating a culturally-relevant and responsive justice system;
    4. supporting Indigenous cultural revitalization; and
    5. reconciling relationships with Indigenous peoples.
  • Building on the work done by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services ( MCYS), MIRR will work to develop and deliver mandatory Indigenous cultural competency and anti-racism training to all employees across the Ontario Public Service.
  • Supporting the development of a pan-Canadian public awareness and prevention campaign on ending violence against Indigenous women with federal, provincial and territorial partners and National Indigenous Organizations.
  • Undertaking trilateral discussions with Canada and First Nations on the Indian Welfare Agreement, with support from relevant ministry partners, including the Ministries of Intergovernmental Affairs (MIA), Community and Social Services (MCSS), Children and Youth Services (MCYS), Education (EDU), and Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) as part of the federal government’s response to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s decision, and to address funding needs of First Nations community for social services.
  • Working across ministries to coordinate Ontario’s response to the jury’s recommendations from the Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations youth in Thunder Bay.
  • Working with ministries and Indigenous partners to increase Indigenous voices in decision-making across government.
  • Working together across government and with urban Indigenous partners on an Urban Indigenous Action Plan to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people living in urban centres and to foster sustainable, healthy and resilient urban Indigenous communities.
  • Engaging with Indigenous partners and communities on food security through an Indigenous-specific questionnaire to gather ideas and promising practices to improve physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. The questionnaire is being translated into eight Indigenous languages to ensure an accessible document across communities.
  • Supporting the development of a Youth Leading Youth program to lead and develop interactive workshops in schools and communities to build awareness across non-Indigenous youth of the impacts of racism, biases and stereotypes and the importance of respectful relationships and dialogue. The program will be informed and delivered by Indigenous youth across the province.
  • Supporting the development of a Professional Anti-Racism Training Toolkit to be used as the basis for self-awareness training within professional schools, organizations and post-secondary institutions across Ontario. The toolkit will focus on building self-reflection and recognizing biases that can impact how professionals provide their services to Indigenous peoples. The toolkit will be directly informed by Indigenous perspectives and will be relevant across professional sectors.
  • Continuing to undertake work, including assessing existing research, regarding historic Métis communities based on the Powley criteria.
  • Supporting the development of an Indigenous Community Hub in Toronto that will enhance health services and help to create more economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for urban Indigenous peoples.
  • Developing new tools and resources to support Indigenous economic and business development, including implementing Ontario’s Public Service Aboriginal Procurement Program.
  • Providing funding to the Métis Voyageur Development Fund, which helps address existing barriers to Métis participation in economic development by providing financial supports to Métis entrepreneurs and Métis-owned businesses.
  • Providing ongoing support for Indigenous entrepreneurs and business owners through ongoing distribution and promotion of the updated Indigenous Business Development Toolkit, developing a new community economic development tool for Indigenous communities and economic development professionals, and consolidating the Ontario Aboriginal Business Directory with the Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Business Directory to enhance user experience and reduce the administrative burden with a 'one window' approach.
  • Continuing to work across government to ensure that Indigenous peoples share in the benefits of natural resource development and are engaged in resource-related economic development by advancing the province’s local/sectorial approach to resource benefits sharing.
  • Continuing to lead Ontario’s review of its current approaches to meeting the province’s duty to consult Indigenous communities and working across government and with Indigenous partners, industry and others to explore options for enhancements.
  • Continuing the advancement of reconciliation through land claim settlements or other arrangements to resolve outstanding historical, treaty and land-based grievances.
  • Continuing to work with the Algonquins of Ontario and the federal government toward a negotiated final agreement that would establish Ontario’s first modern-day treaty and help build a more secure economic environment in eastern Ontario.
  • Working with Six Nations to develop a consultation and engagement protocol to give industry and government improved access to consulting and doing business with the Six Nations community; exploring ways to resolve the Six Nations' outstanding land claims, and supporting relationship building between the Six Nations, Brant County, and the City of Brantford.
  • Continuing to work with the Grassy Narrows First Nation, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, and other parties as needed, to address concerns relating to mercury issues. This includes working together on next steps following the review of the Mercury Disability Board.
  • Working with Canada, First Nations and ministry partners to support community development and other pressing land needs (e.g. participation in discussions toward Kashechewan First Nation’s redevelopment and potential relocation).
  • Co-leading, with the Ministry of the Status of Women the implementation of initiatives under Walking Together: Ontario’s Long Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women.
  • Leading, with Canada, Federal/Provincial/Territorial/Indigenous discussions and engagement processes including the Council of the Federation and representing Ontario at cross jurisdictional meetings identifying and clarifying current priority areas such as response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, child welfare and other matters.
  • Working across government to strengthen the development, collection and analysis of data, information and performance measures to help track the overall well-being of Indigenous people in Ontario.
  • Developing integrated data strategies with ministries, Indigenous organizations, and communities to support a whole-of-government approach to Indigenous policy issues and improve Indigenous data collection.
  • Considering the Statement of Environmental Values when proposing policies and Acts that may have a significant effect on the environment, as a prescribed ministry under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Ministry Support for Initiatives Led by other Ministries:

  • In partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations, provincial ministries, the federal government and the private and non-profit sectors, MIRR will continue to work to close the socio-economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous 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, MIRR will:
    • Continue collaborating with MCYS and Indigenous partners in the implementation of the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy and the review of the proposed Children Youth and Family Services Act.
    • Continue to work with the Ministry of Infrastructure Community Hubs Secretariat as it moves forward in developing a community hubs model in Ontario.
    • Support the Ministry of Housing (MOH) as it works to improve access to good quality housing for Indigenous people in Ontario.
    • Support EDU's work to improve educational outcomes, closing the achievement gap for Indigenous learners by 2020 and significantly increasing graduation rates for Indigenous learners.
    • Support EDU in developing a Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework and Expansion Strategy for 100,000 new child care spaces.
    • Support MOHLTC in developing the Northern First Nations Health Action Plan and investments to expand access to Indigenous Mental Health and Addictions Treatment and Healing Centres and mental health and wellness programs.
    • Work with MOHLTC on the renewal of the Local Health Integration Networks, and engage with First Nations on Indigenous approaches to health care design and delivery.
    • Support MOHLTC in implementing the recommendations of the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council, as part of the Ministry’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
    • Support the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) as it continues to develop and finalize initiatives under the Strategy for a Safer Ontario, which includes the development of a First Nations policing framework and Community Safety and Well-Being Planning Framework.
    • Work with the Ministry of Status of Women and MCSS to implement Indigenous initiatives under Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking
    • Work with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), MIA, the federal government and First Nations partners to make substantive progress in improving drinking water on reserves.
    • Work with MOECC, as part of the Green Investment Fund, to provide funding to the Ontario Centre for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Resources, in partnership with the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation to build technical capacity for First Nations to participate in economic opportunities associated with greenhouse gas mitigation activities and develop adaptation plans.
    • Work with MOECC to include Indigenous considerations in mitigation and adaptation policies and programs.
    • Support MOECC in their work with Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations to create and implement a comprehensive remediation action plan for the English-Wabigoon River.
    • Continue to work with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) and MCSS on increasing economic opportunities for Indigenous people through Employment and Training Services integration.
    • Support the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) on negotiations with First Nations to sustainably develop the Ring of Fire area under the Regional Framework Agreement reached in April 2014.
    • Work with MCYS, other ministries, Indigenous and other partners to develop a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategy that will improve the experiences and outcomes for individuals affected by FASD across their lifespan.
    • Work with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on tobacco-related issues, including working with First Nation pilot project communities and provide support for the modernization of the Ontario Gas Card Program.
    • Support MCSS as it engages with Indigenous partners on the development of a Basic Income Pilot and Income Security Reform.
    • Support the Poverty Reduction Strategy Office (PRSO) in tracking progress in reducing poverty on- and off-reserve, and in administering the Indigenous dedicated funding stream of the Local Poverty Reduction Fund to help break the cycle of poverty experienced by Indigenous communities.
    • Support the Poverty Reduction Strategy Office (PRSO) in its efforts to develop a food security strategy that addresses physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, including in remote First Nations communities.
    • Support the Anti-Racism Directorate in working with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis and urban Indigenous partners to develop an Indigenous focused anti-racism strategy to combat racism experienced by Indigenous communities and people.
    • Support MTCS in its work with First Nations to return ancestors and burial items in MTCS archaeological collections to communities.
    • Support ministries in meeting their Duty to Consult obligations by working with them to identify and resolve consultation related issues.

Ministry Programs and Activities

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation works to meet the Ontario government’s commitment to improve the quality of life of Indigenous people through work in four strategic areas.

Building Stronger Indigenous Relationships

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

  • Facilitating the 12th annual meeting between the Premier and Indigenous leaders, including Chiefs of Ontario (COO), Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) and Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC).
  • Leading bi-lateral relationship tables with Indigenous organizations and communities across Ontario. These tables focus on matters related to provincial policy and priorities, including but not limited to the implementation of the political accord, recognition of the treaty relationship, and where appropriate, collaboration with the provincial ministry and federal partners.
  • Representing the Government of Ontario at the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Forum on Indigenous Issues (FPTI) comprised of the 13 provinces and territories and five National Indigenous Organizations.
  • Implementing the Framework Agreement with the 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 and special assemblies of provincial Indigenous organizations.
  • Responding in a timely fashion to disputes and emerging issues with Indigenous partners through alternative dispute resolution supports and the provision of strategic Indigenous relations advice.
  • Continuing to provide funding support to First Nations, Métis and Indigenous organizations, enabling them to hire staff and experts to enhance their ability to build relationships with government and engage in consultation.
  • Working with Indigenous partners, industry and others to listen to perspectives, review the province’s current policies and practices related to fulfilling its duty to consult and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Working with MIA and other ministries in engaging the federal government to help improve outcomes, build capacity and enhance Indigenous participation in the design and delivery of programs and services.
  • Collaborating with Indigenous partners and provincial ministries on a continued treaty education and public awareness campaign to identify opportunities to raise awareness of treaties and treaty-related issues.
  • Organizing the third treaty relationship roundtable since the signing of the Mushkegowuk-Ontario Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which commits the province and the council to work together on areas outlined in the MOU, such as governance, consultation, resource benefits sharing, and economic development.
  • Continuing with efforts towards reconciliation, with a focus of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action. The Political Accord signed by the Premier and Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day on August 24, 2015, provides a platform for First Nations and the Province to work together on common priorities, which are being identified through discussions with First Nations.
  • Collaborating with Indigenous partners and lead ministries in the coordination and implementation of Ontario’s Response to the TRC report.
  • Establishing a new governance structure with provincial Indigenous partners to provide oversight on implementation of the Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women.
  • Supporting provincial Indigenous partners to ensure their meaningful participation in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Improving Social Conditions

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

  • Working with the OFIFC, MNO, and ONWA to co-develop an Urban Indigenous Action Plan to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people living in urban centres and to foster sustainable, healthy and resilient urban indigenous communities.
  • Working with MCYS as it continues to collaborate with Indigenous partners in implementing the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy, aimed at improving outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and youth on- and off-reserve.
  • Continuing to support Anishnawbe Health Toronto in the development of an Indigenous Community Hub that will provide the urban Indigenous community greater access to health and cultural programming, Indigenous businesses, and other services, and that will also serve as a Pan Am/Parapan Am Games legacy initiative.
  • Facilitate, with Ontario Fire Marshall and Emergency Management (OFMEM), the coordination of Ontario’s response to Indigenous community issues and social emergencies and natural disasters, including working with provincial ministries and collaborating with federal departments to respond quickly to address social and natural disaster emergencies declared in First Nations communities.
  • Supporting ministry and Indigenous partners in the implementation of initiatives under Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women.

Supporting Economic Opportunity and Sustainability

Strong and vibrant Indigenous businesses benefit First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and communities, as well as Ontario as a whole. The ministry supports economic growth and sustainable Indigenous economies by:

  • Funding high-potential Indigenous businesses and community projects that are creating employment, training and business opportunities through the Indigenous Economic Development Fund.
  • Addressing existing barriers to Métis entrepreneurs and Métis-owned businesses' participation in economic development through funding provided to the Métis Voyageur Development Fund
  • Continuing to work across government and with Indigenous partners to ensure that Indigenous peoples share in the benefits of natural resource development and are engaged in resource-related economic development by supporting the province’s local/sectoral approach to resource benefits sharing.
  • Improving economic growth and creating jobs by facilitating Indigenous industry and government partnerships, development of Indigenous businesses and support for Indigenous community economic planning and infrastructure.
  • Supporting Indigenous business development through the Aboriginal Procurement Program which builds on the two-year Aboriginal Procurement Pilot.
  • Working with Indigenous communities and organizations to regularly share key economic development information and resources, and supporting Indigenous economic development events, including workshops and conferences.
  • Working across government to develop new tools to coordinate, track and report on Indigenous economic development and skills training supports and to expand the menu of Indigenous business and community economic development supports and resources.
  • Collaborating with other ministries to develop and implement key policy initiatives impacting Indigenous people and ensuring that these initiatives support Indigenous economic development. Initiatives include Far North Land Use Planning, the Climate Change Action Plan, First Nations drinking water improvements, low carbon, Jobs and Economy Act, and agriculture in the north.
  • Working with MNDM 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.
  • Administering the redesigned Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program (ICGGP) to provide needed infrastructure to Indigenous communities across Ontario. The ICCGP provides support for planning, renovation and construction of social infrastructure to enhance community resiliency.
  • Administering the New Relationship Fund to support First Nations and Métis communities build capacity to participate in meaningful consultation and engagement with government and the private sector on lands and resource matters.

Land Claims and Reconciliation

The ministry will continue to address Ontario’s outstanding legal obligations on land claims and land-related disputes with Indigenous people with the goal of achieving lasting settlements through a non-litigated negotiation process and fostering reconciliation between the provincial government and Indigenous people living in Ontario.

Some of the land claim and land-related activities that will continue in 2017-18 include:

  • Working with over 80 First Nations on 65 active land claims in research, negotiations, and implementation of final settlement agreements resolving historic land claim issues.
  • Providing financial support through the Support for Community Negotiations Fund to assist Indigenous communities in resolving land claims through a negotiated process.
  • Working with over 20 First Nations on land-related matters that fall outside of the formal land claim process with the goal of resolving ongoing land and resource disputes. For example, the ministry will continue to work with Canada and flood-prone Kashechewan First Nation to develop an action plan addressing the short, mid, and long term challenges of the community.
  • Negotiating with the Algonquins of Ontario and the federal government toward a final settlement that will address the issues raised by the Algonquin land claim.
  • Continue to work with Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and Canada, exploring the possibility of having a formal negotiation table to renew and strengthen government-to-government relationships and to work together to achieve lasting reconciliation between Ontario, Canada and Six Nations. As part of this dialogue, the parties are seeking to identify next steps in addressing Six Nations' historical grievances.
  • Working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on the decommissioning of the former Ipperwash Provincial Park so that it can be added to Kettle and Stony Point’s reserve lands.
  • Implementing negotiation process improvements to promote more efficient resolution of land claims and improving coordination with the federal government 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 Indigenous and treaty rights.

Ministry Allocation of 2017-18 Base Spending by Standard Account ($90.8M)

Pie chart indicating the ministry’s allocation of 2017 to 2018 base spending by each standard account totalling 90.8 million dollars.

Ministry Allocation of 2017-18 Base Spending by Vote Item ($90.8M)

Pie chart indicating the ministry’s allocation of 2017 to 2018 base spending by vote item totalling 90.8 million dollars.

Ministry Planned Expenditures 2017-18 ($M)

  • Operating: $87.36
  • Capital: $3.40
  • Total: $90.76

Highlights of 2016-17 Achievements

The following section notes the highlights of the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation' work in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Stronger Indigenous Relationships

  • In collaboration with the Ministry of the Status of Women, hosted the fifth National Indigenous Women’s Summit on March 6th to 8th, 2017 to bring together Indigenous women, youth and leaders, as well as National Indigenous Organizations and federal, provincial and territorial governments to discuss priority topics as identified by Indigenous women.
  • Established a new governance structure with provincial Indigenous partners to provide oversight on implementation of the Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, with a commitment to provide $100 million over three years in new funding to support implementation of the strategy.
  • Supported, and continues to support the development of a pan-Canadian public awareness and prevention campaign on ending violence against Indigenous women for federal, provincial and territorial partners and National Indigenous Organizations. It is a key initiative under the Long Term Strategy and a commitment made by the Premier at the 2016 National Roundtable on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls. As part of the Pan-Canadian public awareness campaign, MIRR collected data across Canada regarding perceptions, attitudes and awareness of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
  • Facilitated the 11th annual meeting between the Premier and Indigenous leaders, including the MNO, ONWA, and OFIFC.
  • With Canada, co-chaired and participated in discussions with Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Indigenous partners to discuss key joint priorities, deliverables and next steps on the formal Federal/Provincial/Territorial/ Indigenous (FPTI)
  • Worked with Indigenous partners and other ministries to plan and develop a treaty education and a public awareness campaign to raise public awareness of treaties and treaty-related issues. In November 2016, Ontario launches its first Treaty Recognition week.
  • Hosted a series of three forums with northern First Nations, southern First Nations, and Indigenous women’s leadership, as an integral engagement piece of the Treaty Strategy. The forums were designed to highlight diverse Indigenous perspectives on treaties, while exploring the concept of the Treaty Relationship in a modern context. A final report will be published and released early in the new fiscal year.
  • Launched Phase I of the Social Emergencies Actions Plan working collaboratively with First Nations partners, the federal government and Ontario Ministries. A series of two focus groups, including participants from northern and remote First Nations, were held to frame the issues, context, and potential solutions. As well, work began on drafting a protocol between Canada, Ontario and First Nations leadership outlining commitment by the parties to solidify ongoing responses to social emergencies. A full Social Emergencies Summit was held in March, at which time elected officials discussed and tabled the draft protocol, and planning for Phase II of the social emergencies action plan.
  • Through a temporary Consultation Policy Project Office, continued to lead a review of Ontario’s current Indigenous consultation approaches, including holding engagement sessions with some First Nations, Métis, industry and municipal representatives
  • Funded policy capacity within the Indigenous Political Territorial Organizations to support policy development in areas of common concern (e.g., protection of Indigenous culture and heritage).
  • Worked with the Ministry of Finance to advance the work of 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.
  • In conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, supported the Anishinabek Nation in the development of a framework for tobacco and gasoline to explore revenue generation for the Anishinabek Nation from on-reserve sales.
  • Partnered with Indigenous organizations as part of formal and informal relationship tables, including Grand Council Treaty #3, MNO, and Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
  • Through participation on the leadership and technical tables led by MCYS, supported the ongoing implementation of the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy.
  • Continued to work through the Urban Indigenous Policy Engagement Table with the OFIFC, MNO, and ONWA to inform provincial program and policy development related to Indigenous people living off-reserve.

Improved Social Conditions

  • Introduced a pilot for Indigenous cultural competency training targeting OPS senior executives and political staff, as part of the Long Term Strategy to Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women. The training was well-received and many senior executives support the full implementation across the Ontario public service. This training will support Ontario public servants in developing and delivering program that meets the needs of Indigenous peoples.
  • Supported the OFIFC, MNO, and ONWA to lead a comprehensive engagement with local communities to provide input to inform the development of the Urban Indigenous Action Plan.
  • Provided support, along with MCYS, MOHLTC and MAESD, to Right to Play to deliver programming to Indigenous children and youth in 46 First Nations communities and four urban Indigenous 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 Indigenous children and youth in Ontario.
  • Worked with provincial ministries, federal departments and other agencies to respond quickly to address social emergencies in First Nations communities.

Economic Opportunity and Sustainability

  • Continued administration of the Indigenous Economic Development Fund (IEDF)
    • Approved more than $5.9 million to support 40 Economic Diversification Grant projects over three years for initiatives that broaden economic activity, create jobs and provide training opportunities.
    • Approved more than $3.6 million to support twelve Regional Partnership Grant projects over three years for initiatives that improve access to skills training and/or financing for Indigenous people in Ontario.
    • Approved $15 million over three years to support six Indigenous Financial Institutions through the IEDF Business and Community Fund, enhancing the ability of these capital corporations to provide grants and financing to high potential Indigenous businesses and community projects.
  • Provided $3 million to the Metis Voyageur Development Fund to support Métis economic development. The Ministry supported the Fund’s sustainability by approving an amendment to the Métis Economic Development Agreement to allow organizations to diversify its portfolio beyond resource sector businesses.
  • Provided funding to support the Ontario First Nations Economic Developers Association’s annual economic development conference.
  • Funded 27 capital projects across Ontario through the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program
  • Provided organizational support and community funding, including Indigenous organizations that partner with Ontario as part of formal and informal relationship tables, as well as Indigenous communities that partner with Ontario on specific initiatives including training.
  • Through the New Relationship Fund, continued to invest up to $14.5 million to support:
    • 109 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.
  • Funded four projects, representing 22 remote First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario, in 2016-17 under the Remote Electrification Readiness Program to support local employment and business opportunities.
  • Through the Green Investment Fund, invested $5 million to the Ontario Centre for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Resources, in partnership with the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, to build technical capacity for First Nations to participate in economic opportunities associated with greenhouse gas mitigation activities and develop adaptation plans.

Land Claims and Reconciliation

The ministry continued to address Ontario’s outstanding legal obligations on land claims and land-related disputes with Indigenous people with the goal of achieving lasting settlements through negotiations.

  • After extensive environmental remediation, the province transferred the Burtch lands to the people of Six Nations, fulfilling Ontario’s 2006 commitment.
  • Signed a Settlement Agreement with Chapleau Cree First Nation to resolve its Treaty Land Entitlement claim.
  • Entered into a Negotiation Framework Agreement with Canada and the seven Williams Treaties First Nations to put longstanding litigation into abeyance and pave the way for a negotiated resolution.
  • Signed the Agreement-in-Principle with the Algonquins of Ontario and Canada in a ceremony on Parliament Hill, thereby agreeing to engage in the final stage of negotiations towards Ontario’s first modern-day treaty.
  • Achieved a settlement agreement with the Whitefish River First Nation to resolve its highway claim.
  • Continued progress with Attawapiskat First Nation, Canada 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.
  • The province continued to work across government to address Grassy Narrows First Nation concerns related to community and environmental health. In 2016-2017 MIRR provided approximately $300,000 in capacity funding to enable their participation in the mercury working group.
  • Ontario also worked with Wabaseemoong Independent Nations to explore options in addressing concerns they raised about mercury, health and the environment.

The ministry worked to foster reconciliation between Ontario and Indigenous peoples living in Ontario:

  • Joined Canada and flood-prone Kashechewan First Nation in their Steering Committee to develop an action plan addressing the short, mid, and long term challenges of the community.
  • Held two treaty relationship roundtable meetings with Mushkegowuk Council since signing the Mushkegowuk-Ontario Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), working together on areas outlined in the MOU, such as governance and consultation.
  • Continued joint policy development work to address common First Nation Ontario priorities regarding the protection of Indigenous culture and heritage.
  • Continued to support First Nations in ongoing policy development and work related to the return of ancestors and burial items held in public archaeological collections to descendent communities.

Ministry Organization Chart

  • Minister
    • Deputy Minister
      • Chief Information Officer
      • Communications Services Branch
      • Legal Services Branch
      • Corporate Management Division
        • Strategic Human Resources Business Branch
        • Corporate Management Branch
          • Corporate Controllership Unit
      • Strategic Policy and Planning Division
        • Strategic Planning and Economic Policy Branch
        • Strategic Initiatives Social Policy Branch
        • Performance Measures and Data Unit
      • Indigenous Relations and Programs Division
        • Programs and Services Branch
        • Indigenous Relations Branch
      • Negotiations and Reconciliation Division
        • Negotiations Branch
        • Community Initiatives Branch

Download printer-friendly organizational chart (JPG)

Detailed Financial Information

Ministry Of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Table 2: Combined Operating and Capital Summary by Vote

Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2017-18 $Change from Estimates 2016-17 $%Estimates 2016-17 * $Interim Actuals 2016-17 * $Actuals 2015-16 * $
Operating Expense      
Ministry Administration12,216,700760,9006.611,455,80011,455,80011,402,236
Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation70,076,4002,613,8003.967,462,60079,767,80060,162,532
Land Claims and Self-Government Initiatives5,002,0005,000,000250,0002,000354,7004,511,000
Less: Special Warrants -    
Total Operating Expense to be Voted87,295,100 8,374,700 10.6 78,920,400 91,578,300 76,075,768
Statutory Appropriations65,014-65,01465,01465,968
Ministry Total Operating Expense87,360,114 8,374,700 10.6 78,985,414 91,643,314 76,141,836
Capital Expense      
Indigenous Relations Capital Program3,401,000400,00013.33,001,0007,246,0002,999,978
Total Capital Expense to be Voted3,401,000 400,000 13.3 3,001,000 7,246,000 2,999,978
Ministry Total Capital Expense 3,401,000 400,000 13.3 3,001,000 7,246,000 2,999,978
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)90,761,114 8,774,700 10.781,986,414 98,889,314 79,141,814

For additional financial information, see:

http://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/2017/

Appendix: 2016-17 Annual Report

2016-17 Achievements

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation has a key role in providing advice to ministries as they develop programs, policies and initiatives that are relevant to Indigenous peoples. In particular, the ministry provided advice to various Ontario ministries on how to incorporate Indigenous voices in their policy development. Examples from 2016-17 include:

  • Working collaboratively with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to:
    • Recommend various ways to respond to the Standing Committee’s Report on the Aggregate Resources Act could incorporate Indigenous-specific considerations;
    • Develop Far North policies;
    • Create a framework for Indigenous participation in conservation authorities
    • Implement two Crown forest sector resource revenue sharing pilot project arrangements with local First Nations.
  • Working with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to:
    • Identify opportunities to improve drinking water conditions in First Nation communities;
    • Advise on Indigenous considerations in climate change policies.
    • Develop a woodstove exchange program that includes two separate streams specific to the needs of rural and Indigenous communities
  • Promoting the incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in policy development and implementation.
  • Working with Indigenous partners and land and resource ministries to ensure Indigenous communities are meaningfully involved in and sharing the benefits from natural resource development opportunities.
  • Working with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and to ensure that Employment and Training Services Integration considers the unique and diverse employment and training needs of Indigenous people across the province.
  • Working with the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that Indigenous considerations are addressed in the development of a Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy.
  • Working with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, partner ministries, Indigenous and other partners to develop a cross-government FASD Strategy that will improve the experiences and outcomes for individuals affected by FASD across their lifespan.
  • Supporting the Ministry of Education in bilateral discussions with the Anishinabek Nation to develop the Master Education Agreement, which will support the establishment of an Anishinabek Education system
  • Continuing collaboration with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and Indigenous partners in the implementation of the Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy and the review of the Child and Family Services Act.
  • Continuing to work with the Community Hubs Secretariat as it moves forward in developing a community hubs model approach in Ontario.
  • Supporting the Ministry of Housing as it works to improve access to good quality housing for Indigenous people in the Province.
  • Continuing to work in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on developing supports to improve Indigenous health outcomes and overall well-being.
  • Supporting the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services as it continues to develop and finalize initiatives under the Strategy for a Safer Ontario, which includes the development of a First Nations policing framework and Community Safety and Well-Being Planning Framework.
  • Working with the Ministry of Status of Women and the Ministry of Community and Social Services on Indigenous initiatives under Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking.
  • Working with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport in supporting Indigenous specific projects under the Ontario 150 program
  • Working with ten partner ministries to implement over 40 initiatives to end violence against Indigenous women under Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women.

In February 2016 the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation launched Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, which focuses on raising awareness of and preventing violence, providing more effective programs and community services that reflect the priorities of Indigenous leaders and communities, and improving socio-economic conditions that support healing within Indigenous communities. As part of this strategy the ministry:

  • Released publicly its first progress report on the implementation of Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, including updates on the accomplishments of the family well-being program, which is now in more than 200 Indigenous communities, and the expansion of a violence prevention program for Indigenous men, Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin (I Am a Kind Man), from five sites to 26, with funding of $5.4 million over three years that aims to eventually reach 600 men and boys through violence prevention workshops, peer counselling and healing programming.

The ministry worked collaboratively across government to provide an evidence-basis for policy and program decision making related to Indigenous affairs. This included:

  • Working collaboratively with partner ministries to track the long-term outcomes of Indigenous people in Ontario and aligning Ontario government interventions wherever possible.
  • Preparing data visualization projects to translate readily available and accessible data on the Indigenous population into stories and visually compelling products to support policy submissions and increase general awareness of Indigenous communities within the Ontario Public Service.
  • Completing research with Chiefs of Ontario to define and measure the lived experience of poverty in Ontario’s First Nations communities.

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 Indigenous and treaty rights as well as input and advice to ministries in preparing legislation and regulations.

Stronger Indigenous Relationships

Treaty Strategy and Forum Accomplishments

The three-year Treaty Strategy announced in the 2014 Budget mandated MIRR to hold constructive engagement sessions on treaties and to raise public awareness of treaties, revitalizing treaty relationships, and improving outcomes for Indigenous partners and peoples.

As the integral engagement piece of the Treaty Strategy, a series of forums and discussions were designed to hear diverse Indigenous perspectives on treaties while exploring the concept of the Treaty Relationship in a modern context. The Treaty Forums were designed to create a safe space for Knowledge Speakers and community representatives from each treaty territory in Ontario to speak to their knowledge and understanding of treaty, treaty-making history, and treaty awareness.

Ontario worked with an independent Indigenous facilitator to design each culturally appropriate engagement session. Ontario and participants heard diverse perspectives and voices, including those of youth, Elders and women, leadership and Métis, in support of raising awareness and understanding of the treaty relationship and the modern treaty experience. The independent Indigenous facilitator is currently preparing a comprehensive final public report on these integral treaty engagements. It will be made available later this year.

Raising awareness of treaties and strengthening treaty relationships is an integral part of the ongoing process of reconciliation, a process to which Ontario is deeply committed.

Social Emergencies

The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples makes a commitment for Ontario to host a Summit on social emergencies with remote First Nations and the federal government and develop an action plan.

Ontario’s commitment came in response to the release of the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council’s report titled, The People’s Inquiry into Our Suicide Pandemic, and Grand Chief Fiddler’s call upon the federal and provincial governments to form an emergency task force to address the suicide pandemic in First Nations communities on January 20, 2016.

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation has provided funding to Mushkegowuk Tribal Council to lead the planning and delivery of the Summit on responding to social emergencies in remote First Nations, in collaboration with Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Health Canada.

Responding to social emergencies in remote First Nations has been identified as a priority at the Ontario-Canada Collaboration Table, which is led by the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Ontario Secretary of Cabinet. At the direction of Premier Wynne and Prime Minister Trudeau, this table was established to address key Indigenous issues at the highest level of government.

Two pre-Summit focus group sessions were held in January 2017 with remote First Nation technicians, the federal government, Ontario ministries and service provider agencies to:

  • Inform the development of a tripartite protocol;
  • Gather perspectives on gaps, challenges and successful practices;
  • Inform an inventory of resources and services that are and can be deployed in a social emergency; and
  • Identify community/organization training and capacity needs.

The Summit on Social Emergencies in Remote First Nations was held on March 23rd to 24th, 2017 in Thunder Bay. Attendees included leaders and members from remote First Nation communities, Mushkegowuk Tribal Council, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, independent First Nations, provincial ministries, federal departments and service delivery agencies. The goal of the Summit was to present and discuss a draft tripartite protocol with the expectation that the protocol will be endorsed by all parties in 2017/18.

Premier’s Meetings

Annual meetings between the Premier and Indigenous leaders provide an opportunity for the Premier to reaffirm the province’s commitment to a positive relationship and discuss recent initiatives and challenges of importance to Indigenous rights holders.

Through the establishment of Relationship Agreements and annual meetings, Ontario is able to fulfil our commitment to maintaining respectful treaty relationships with First Nations by engaging in meaningful dialogue to ensure the relationship is a mutually beneficial one.

These agreements and meetings build upon the foundation set out in the Political Accord to allow member organizations of the Chiefs of Ontario Political Confederacy the opportunity to directly represent their unique regional Indigenous perspectives. At the same time, Ontario adheres to the commitments outlined in the Political Accord while advancing relationships directly with the Indigenous rights holder organizations.

The Premier currently has established annual meetings with four umbrella Indigenous organizations considered to have a provincial mandate:

  • The Chiefs of Ontario – Political Confederacy (PC) as agreed to in the Political Accord;
  • Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO) as agreed to in the Framework Agreement;
  • Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA), and the
  • Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC).

In 2016, Premier Wynne held meetings with Indigenous partners on the following dates:

  • December 15, 2016- Premier’s meeting with COO, Political Confederacy;
  • November 22, 2016- Premier’s annual meeting with OFIFC;
  • November 21-23, 2016- Leaders in the Legislature;
  • October 6, 2016- Premier’s annual meeting with ONWA;
  • September 23, 2016- Premier’s annual meeting with MNO;
  • April 18, 2016- Premier’s meeting with COO, Political Confederacy; and
  • March 8, 2016- Premier’s meeting with ONWA.

Leaders in the Legislature

The third annual Leaders in the Legislature (LIL) meeting was held on November 21st to 24th, 2016. LIL is an opportunity for Ministers and First Nation leaders to focus on the nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationship with the Province of Ontario, and to sit down face-to-face to discuss joint priorities.

As hosts, the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) invite Ministers and ministry leaders to attend roundtable sessions to discuss key issues. The main themes addressed at LIL included:

  • Community Safety;
  • Education and Community Wellness;
  • Wealth Creation & Infrastructure and Environment; and,
  • Priority Finalization

Under these themes, topics of discussion included poverty reduction; ending boil water advisories; improving child welfare legislation; and revising the Police Services Act to modernize First Nation policing.

During a session with Premier Wynne and Cabinet, immediate measures were agreed to be implemented, which includes family well-being support funding and relief for high electricity bills.

Members of the Ontario First Nation Young Peoples Council directly met with ministers to discuss urgent priorities such as life promotion and children’s mental health in order to combat the youth suicide crisis. Other priorities included increased support for day care and child care, along with free tuition, in order to allow young parents to return to school and obtain skills for meaningful employment

LIL represents an important step forward in developing Ontario’s relationship with First Nations and our journey of reconciliation. An estimated 80 chiefs and 14 Ontario Ministers attended throughout the course of the meetings.

Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Working Group

The ministry co-chairs and represents Ontario’s interests at Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Indigenous discussions.

Ministers of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation from all provinces and territories and leaders from five National Indigenous 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 meet regularly to identify priorities and implementation plans.

Formerly designated the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG), the partners last met in the summer of 2016 to discuss updates on the 2015 priorities of provincial and territorial leaders and National Indigenous Organizations. At this time, it was also agreed that a Terms of Reference and priority setting exercise be undertaken in advance of a 2017 First Ministers' meeting.

MIRR is continuing to work with the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, provincial Indigenous partners and National Indigenous Organizations to develop the Pan-Canadian public awareness and prevention campaign regarding ending violence against Indigenous women.

In collaboration with the Ministry of the Status of Women, the fifth National Indigenous Women’s Summit was hosted on March 6th to 8th, 2017 to bring together Indigenous women, youth and leaders, as well as National Indigenous Organizations and federal, provincial and territorial governments to discuss priority topics as identified by Indigenous women.

Increased Capacity

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation provided funding to support policy development and technical capacity with COO and Provincial-Territorial Organizations, MNO and ONWA to support of joint initiatives with the ministry.

The ministry focused on building capacity in a number of ways that included organizational support and continued support for formal and informal relationship tables.

The ministry negotiated its future partnership with Right to Play, The Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program which will help 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 50 communities. The mentors also train others in the community to ensure that learning continues.

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation is also improving cultural competency within the Ontario Public Service through mandatory Indigenous cultural competency training. This training will support public servants in developing policy and programs and delivering services that meeting Indigenous community needs. A pilot of this training was launched in December 2016 targeting senior executives of the Ontario public service and political staff.

Indigenous Relationships

The ministry worked closely with COO on the development and implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding that builds off the commitments established in the Political Accord. The commitments ensure both parties are building stronger relationships that will facilitate necessary dialogue to move forward on mutual priorities.

The commitments of COO within the MOU include providing secretariat support for collective decision-making, action and advocacy for First Nation communities in Ontario. COO will also facilitate discussions, plan, implement and evaluate matters affecting communities in Ontario.

Improved Social Conditions

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

  • Supported the implementation of initiatives under Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women;
  • Supported the implementation of Indigenous-led and designed initiatives under Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking;
  • Coordinated an Urban Indigenous Policy Engagement Table with the OFIFC, MNO and ONWA, to inform the development of the Urban Indigenous Action Plan.
  • Supported the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in its collaborative efforts to implement the Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy, including providing policy advice relating to Indigenous control and First Nations jurisdiction over the design and delivery of provincial programs and services.
  • Supported the Ministry of Education in discussions with the Anishinabek Nation developing a Master Education Agreement that will support the establishment of an Anishinabek Education system, ensure educational outcomes are improved, and determine if results can be replicated in other parts of the province.
  • Worked with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and First Nation partners on the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee to address health priorities.

Economic Opportunity and Sustainability

  • The Indigenous Economic Development Fund (formally the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund) was announced in the 2014 Budget, and continues to address key barriers to economic development, particularly access to financing and skills training. The Fund originally committed $25 million over three years to support promising projects that contribute to employment, training and business opportunities for Indigenous people. In June 2016 the Fund was extended for an additional seven years starting in 2017/18. This extension brings the total provincial investment in the Fund over ten years to $95 million. The Fund features three streams:
    • Economic Diversification Grants support the development and implementation of long-term economic plans, as well as other community projects that help diversify First Nations economies. More than $5.9 million has been provided to support 40 projects over three years.
    • Regional Partnership Grants support regional or province-wide economic development projects that increase access to skills training and financing. Over $3.6 million was provided to support twelve Regional Partnership Grant projects for initiatives that improve access to skills training and/or financing for Indigenous people in Ontario.
    • The Business and Community Fund supports Indigenous Financial Institutions in Ontario, which act as delivery partners for the AEDF. The ministry will provide up to $15 million over three years to six capital corporations to provide grants and loans for promising community projects as well as start-up, early stage and expansion funding for Indigenous small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • The ministry continued to support Indigenous 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 Indigenous-owned businesses in Ontario and information on the goods or services provided.
  • The ministry supported business development and growth by releasing an updated Indigenous Business Development Toolkit, a comprehensive resource that provides valuable information to Indigenous entrepreneurs about starting and growing their businesses.
  • The ministry continued to provide funding for the Métis Voyageur Development Fund, consistent with its commitment to provide up to $30 million in provincial funding over 10 years (2011-21). The ministry worked with the Métis Voyageur Development Fund and the Métis Nation of Ontario to act on the recommendations from the Year 4 Joint Independent Evaluation of the Fund. To support the Fund’s sustainability, the government approved an amendment to the Métis Economic Development Agreement to allow the Métis Voyageur Development Fund to diversify its portfolio beyond resource sector business. The Fund is an independent Métis economic development corporation that uses provincial funds to support Métis entrepreneurs and businesses.
  • The ministry continues to work with Indigenous communities and organizations to regularly share key economic development information and resources. Examples include working with other ministries to deliver information sessions on the government’s business and economic development tools and supports, the provincial procurement process, as well as funding programs for Indigenous communities such as the New Relationship Fund and the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program.
  • The ministry supported a number of economic development events, including the Ontario First Nations Economic Developers Association Annual Conference in Sarnia, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council’s annual procurement fair in Toronto, and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario’s Annual Conference and Showcase in Toronto.
  • The ministry continued to work with the Ministry of Finance on tobacco-related issues, including working with First Nation pilot project communities as well as providing support for the modernization of the Ontario Gas Card Program. The ministry also collaborated with the Ministry of Finance to organize and deliver a Tobacco Forum in March 2017. The Tobacco Forum took place over two days in Toronto, Ontario and had attendance from over 70 participants including senior government officials, and Chiefs and delegates from over 30 First Nation communities.
  • MIRR worked with the Ministry of Finance to advance the work of 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, as well as developing strategies for the diversification of economies on reserve beyond tobacco.
  • In conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, MIRR supported the Anishinabek Nation in the development of a framework for tobacco and gasoline to explore revenue generation for the Anishinabek Nation from on-reserve sales.

Land Claims and Reconciliation

The ministry continued to address Ontario’s outstanding legal obligations on land claims and land-related disputes with Indigenous people with the goal of achieving lasting settlements through a non-litigated negotiation process.

  • Ontario signed the Final Agreement with Chapleau Cree First Nation on their Treaty Land Entitlement claim.
  • Entered into a Negotiation Framework Agreement with Canada and the seven Williams Treaties First Nations to put longstanding litigation into abeyance and pave the way for a negotiated resolution.
  • Ontario signed the Agreement-in-Principle with the Algonquins of Ontario and Canada in a ceremony on Parliament Hill, thereby agreeing to engage in the final stage of negotiations towards Ontario’s first modern-day treaty.
  • After extensive environmental remediation of the Burtch land, Ontario transferred the property to the people of Six Nations, fulfilling Ontario’s 2006 commitment.
  • The Ministry participated in a review of the Mercury Disability Board (MDB) with Ontario, Grassy Narrow First Nation (GNFN), Wabaseemoong Independent Nations (WIN) and Canada. As a result of this review, the Ministry committed to continuing discussions on the future of the Mercury Disability Board.

The ministry continues to be committed to developing meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples based on mutual respect and co-operation.

The Ministry continued joint policy development work, initially begun under the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee process, to address common First Nation-Ontario priorities regarding the protection of Indigenous culture and heritage.

  • The ministry provided funds to the Chiefs of Ontario to support the ongoing policy development work related to the return of ancestors (human remains) and their associated burial items held in public archaeological collections to descendent communities. The funding also supports participation in a Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport initiative to return ancestors that have been in the possession of that ministry for some time.

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

The ministry continued to participate in and support the work of the Mushkegowuk-Ontario Treaty Relationship Roundtable. Through this Roundtable, the Mushkegowuk Council and the ministry continue to work together to make positive, practical progress in areas where the interests of First Nations and the province overlap.

The ministry continues to provide funding to the Mushkegowuk Council to support the work of the Mushkegowuk-Ontario Treaty Relationship Roundtable as well as building awareness of Treaty 9.

Table 3: Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2016-17*

  • Operating: $91.6
  • Capital: $7.2
  • Staff Strength** (as of March 31, 2017): 156.9

*Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2017 Ontario Budget.

**Ontario Public Service Full-Time Equivalent positions.