Ministry overview

The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs’ (IAO) objective is to create lasting wellness and prosperity with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Ontario to help make reconciliation meaningful to people. The ministry does this by;

  • leading strategic Indigenous policy for Ontario by coordinating cross-government initiatives that improve outcomes for Indigenous people
  • leading provincial negotiations of Indigenous land claims
  • supporting economic and community development for Indigenous partners

Ministry's vision

Ministry contribution to priority outcomes

The ministry's strategic direction is focused on three areas;

  • Promoting Indigenous employment, and economic and community development;
    • plead the development of the government’s policy agenda for Indigenous people and communities
    • icprovide funding to directly support economic development, jobs and prosperity for Indigenous people and communities, including Indigenous community participation in land and resource consultation and engagement, as well as to support economic recovery of Indigenous communities and organizations in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic
    • inform and lead policy and program initiatives which support Indigenous community development and economic sustainability, including the response to the impacts of COVID‑19
    • contribute to the development and implementation of operational strategies and options for critical infrastructure development in the North. o Inform policy and program development through data, research, and performance measurement
    • inform policy and program development through data, research, and performance measurement.
    • improve Indigenous people’s access to Ontario government programs, services and information by working with other ministries and Indigenous organizations.
    • this work supports the ministry’s Key Performance Indicator of Increasing Economic Opportunities for Indigenous People and Creating Jobs in Ontario for Indigenous People
  • Make meaningful health and social improvements in the lives of Indigenous people;
    • facilitate and support the design, delivery and evaluation of the range of health, education and social programs and services across ministries that support Indigenous communities and organizations, including responding to the COVID‑19 pandemic and Indian Residential School (IRS) burial investigations, addressing systemic racism in provincial institutions, and addressing the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system, child welfare system and other sectors
    • provide funding to support Indigenous communities and organizations to improve social conditions on- and off- reserve including community capital projects, and work with Indigenous partners and partner ministries, such as the Ministry of Health (MOH), to respond to emerging issues as well as those that are exacerbated by the pandemic (e.g., access to testing, vaccination, mental health and addictions, food security)
    • build strong relationships and work with Indigenous partners to identify and address joint issues and priorities
    • assist in the response to social emergencies in First Nation communities through formalized processes
    • coordinate mandatory Indigenous Cultural Competency Training for all OPS employees to help public servants develop more inclusive policies and programs that consider the distinct needs of Indigenous peoples
    • coordinate cross-ministry supports to address investigations and commemoration of IRS burials
    • coordinate a cross-ministry approach to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of Indigenous women and girls
    • assess implications of and opportunities in federal legislation, policies and commitments for Indigenous communities and organizations in Ontario
    • this work supports the horizontal indicator that IAO collects and reports on, Improving Social Outcomes for Indigenous People in Ontario
  • Address Ontario's legal obligations on treaties, land claims, land related matters, and the Duty to Consult;
    • lead the resolution of land and land-related claims with First Nations and other Indigenous communities in Ontario
    • monitor First Nation and Métis community issues that may lead to legal or direct action, as well as lead or support Ontario’s response
    • work with the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) to provide support and strategic direction to litigation counsel on matters related to Indigenous communities
    • enhance awareness and best practices for consulting or engaging with Indigenous people
    • provide funding to Indigenous communities to meaningfully participate in negotiations on claims
    • provide tools and guidance to support consistent and coordinated approaches across government to consultation and engagement with Indigenous communities
    • lead implementation of land and land-related settlements and support implementation of Indigenous litigation settlements
    • support ministries in the development of policy/program proposals by applying an Indigenous lens, which includes identifying potential risks/impacts to Indigenous communities and the Crown’s relationships with those communities, to assist them in meeting Duty to Consult obligations
    • provide strategic guidance, historical research and risk management advice on land and resources issues
    • this work supports the ministry’s Key Performance Indicator of Resolving Outstanding Land Claim and Land Related Issues

Ministry programs

IAO works to create lasting wellness and prosperity with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Ontario to help make reconciliation meaningful to people.

Promoting economic opportunities for Indigenous employment, economic and community development;

  • working with the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) to engage First Nations leadership in a refocus of the Far North Act to reduce red tape and promote economic development for First Nations in the Far North including the Ring of Fire
  • working with the NDMNRF to support the development of operations and strategies related to the Ring of Fire area, including implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement with supportive First Nations and supporting the identification of communities for consultation and engagement
  • working with NDMNRF to move forward with resource revenue sharing from mining, forestry and aggregates to help Indigenous communities share in benefits from resource development
  • working with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to engage Indigenous communities and leadership on aspects of the Environmental Assessment Modernization initiatives
  • as part of the yearly audit, IAO will be providing materials to support activities carried out by the Ontario Auditor General’s Office, to ensure compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights across the Ontario Government
  • supporting leadership meetings between the Premier’s Office, provincial ministers and the leadership of Indigenous communities and Provincial-Territorial Organizations
  • leading the enhancement of the Aboriginal Procurement Program to increase government procurement opportunities for Indigenous businesses to help ensure Ontario is open for business
  • working with partner ministries to refresh the government’s approach to Indigenous economic development, including launching a table of Indigenous experts to provide input and perspectives on how government can best support wealth creation for Indigenous communities and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID‑19
  • working with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), and NDMNRF to develop a cross-government strategy to address roads and related infrastructure in the North and remote North, including all-season roads, highway twinning and highway safety
  • working with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) to support Indigenous led, culturally appropriate transitional and long-term housing solutions and support services to Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness
  • working with MAG, other partner ministries, and the federal government to engage Indigenous communities and organizations on the legalization of recreational cannabis in Ontario, including undertaking discussions to explore on-reserve approaches that advance mutual priorities
  • working with MAG and Ministry of Finance (MOF) to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements with interested Indigenous communities on the regulation of cannabis on-reserve.
  • working with the Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI) in implementing Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan to improve and expand broadband, digital services and cellular access in unserved and underserved areas, including remote and rural First Nations
  • working with MOF to engage First Nation communities and leaders on tobacco and potential new partnerships regarding on-reserve approaches to tobacco regulation
  • working with MOF on engaging with First Nations to ensure that their perspectives and interests in tobacco are considered in developing solutions to unregulated tobacco
  • collaborating with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) on engaging Indigenous partners in the province’s approach to employment services integration and supporting employment and skills development opportunities for Indigenous people
  • working with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (MHSTCI) to support the growth and promotion of the Indigenous tourism industry in Ontario
  • supporting the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility (MSAA) in their efforts to make Ontario more inclusive for all, including Indigenous persons with disabilities
  • supporting the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) to enhance opportunities for Indigenous people around job creation and employment, entrepreneurship, economic development, research and innovation
  • working with MTO and NDMNRF to address issues such as remote airport infrastructure and operations, aerial spraying and forestry
  • 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
  • Through the New Relationship Fund;
    • supporting the participation of Indigenous communities and organizations in meaningful consultation and engagement with government and the private sector on land and resource matters
    • increasing economic development and skills training opportunities and enabling long-term lands and resource planning in participating Indigenous communities
  • Through the Indigenous Economic Development Fund;
    • through the Economic Diversification Grant stream of the Fund, provided $1.2 million in 2021–22 to 17 projects to enable the recipients to undertake strategic economic planning to assist them in expanding their economic base and to explore opportunities for job creation in response to the impacts of the pandemic
    • through the Business and Community Fund stream of the Fund, provided $5.8 million in 2021–22 to address the on-going needs of small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses impacted by on-going restrictions due to COVID‑19. Funding was also made available for the start-up and expansion of Indigenous businesses to stimulate the Indigenous economy
    • to deliver these programs, IAO partners with Aboriginal Financial Institutions to deliver the Indigenous Economic Development Fund
    • aboriginal Financial Institutions are autonomous, Indigenous-controlled, community based financial organizations providing developmental lending, business financing, non-repayable grants, and support services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses in Ontario
  • Through the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program;
    • supporting the construction, renovation and/or retrofit of Indigenous community infrastructure projects (on-and off-reserve) that contribute to economic development, job creation and create positive social benefits for the community
  • Through the Participation Fund;
    • Collaborative relationship building through the Leadership and Relationship Tables with;
      • relaunch of the Relationship Tables with First Nations Provincial Territorial Organizations to support organizational capacity, issues resolution and priorities impacting the member of communities of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Anishinabek Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, Independent First Nations, and the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians
      • the Métis Nation of Ontario to support the increased participation of Métis communities and individuals in Ontario society
      • the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres to support urban Indigenous people in Ontario
      • Tungasuvvingut Inuit to support the unique needs of Inuit people in Ontario
    • support the Ontario Urban Indigenous Coalitions in Barrie, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Toronto, and Ottawa

Make meaningful health and social improvements in the lives of Indigenous people;

  • collaborating with ministries and Indigenous partners to inform policies, legislation and programs that improve the quality of life for Indigenous people in Ontario in the areas of child and family services, social assistance, health, mental health and addictions, food security, IRS investigations, systemic racism, emergency response, education and justice
  • working with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) to create the conditions that make it easier for First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners to have choices and opportunities for a high-quality postsecondary education
  • working with MCCSS, through co-leadership of the Priority Care Settings Populations Table (formerly the Equity and Priority Populations Table), to ensure that Indigenous considerations are appropriately incorporated into response initiatives impacting priority populations and congregate care
  • Supporting government commitments that address community safety and well-being of Indigenous people including;
    • MOH and other ministries, in delivering on the investment of $3.8 billion in mental health and addictions, as well as in expanding access to the provincial mental health and addictions system, including through targeted, culturally safe services for Indigenous peoples.
    • The Ministry of Long-Term Care (MLTC) and other ministries, in addressing long-standing and systemic issues in the long-term care sector, including challenges impacting Indigenous and First Nations homes
    • The Ministry of the Solicitor General (SOLGEN) in the implementation of the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 to ensure that First Nation communities and Indigenous people living in urban centres receive sustainable, accountable, equitable and culturally responsive policing, including through providing a legislative basis for First Nation police services
    • MTO, NDMNRF, Ministry of Energy (ENERGY) and the federal government to provide small air carriers serving remote communities in Northern Ontario with urgent funding to continue supplying critical goods and services during the COVID‑19 pandemic
  • working with MCCS in support of their work on the implementation of the co-developed Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS), including in respect to the ministry’s discussions and negotiations with Indigenous partners on Indigenous systems building and self-governance
  • with MCCS, MOH, and MLTSD to continue supporting the funding relationship with Right to Play’s Indigenous Programs (formerly known as Promoting Life-Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY), which supports consistent grassroots programming that provides prevention for at-risk youth and supports the development of leaders within 40 First Nation communities
  • co-leading with MCCS the work across provincial ministries and with federal and Indigenous partners to design and implement Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s Strategy in Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls
  • supporting the implementation of 51 recommendations from the Expert Panel report for the modernization of the Mercury Disability Board’s (MDB) claims assessments and processes. The MDB provides benefit payments to members of Wabaseemoong Independent Nations and Grassy Narrows First Nation (Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek) who demonstrate qualifying medical symptoms or conditions consistent with mercury poisoning
  • continuing to work across ministries and with Indigenous partners to address the recommendations from the Seven Youth Inquest that were directed at the province to support the safety and wellbeing of Indigenous students who attend school in Thunder Bay
  • working across ministries and with Indigenous and federal partners to support the identification, investigation and commemoration of IRS burials across Ontario, including delivering funding and in-kind support and exploring policy, regulatory and legislative vehicles that are responsive to IRS work
  • supporting the Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) with engagement and advice as it implements its commitments under Ontario's current five year anti-racism strategy (2017–2022)
  • continuing to assess and review implications and opportunities of federal legislation, policies and commitments for Indigenous communities and organizations in Ontario, including in the areas of child and family services, health, languages, and policing, as well as Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (formerly Bill C-15)
  • providing advice and support to ministries, including in collaboration with MAG, regarding recognition of Aboriginal rights, assertions of jurisdiction, and governance matters for First Nations and Métis
  • providing support and advice to MAG and SOLGEN as they work with First Nations leadership and the federal government on potential gaps and barriers related to the enforcement and prosecution of First Nations Laws.
  • providing advice relating to federal rights-related policies, and technical support in federally led self-government discussions or negotiations regarding provincial responsibilities and interests
  • continuing to work with MHSTCI and MMAH along with other ministries to ensure Indigenous interests related to heritage and burials and archaeology are meaningfully considered.
  • working with provincial, federal and Indigenous partners to lead the development and implementation of protocols and supporting guides, tools, and training which improve government response to emergencies in First Nations communities
  • coordinate and/or support government response to emergencies in First Nations communities — including COVID‑19, by working with the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC), other Ontario ministries, Indigenous partners, and federal government departments
  • tracking and monitoring social emergencies in First Nations communities in collaboration with PEOC.
  • tracking and monitoring natural disasters and critical infrastructure failures in First Nations communities in collaboration with the PEOC
  • engaging federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners on practical opportunities that will improve socio-economic conditions for First Nations in the North, including water quality, energy transmission, Ring of Fire, infrastructure, employment development, and health and mental health.
  • providing advice and assistance to ministries regarding consultation, engagement and relationships with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous communities and organizations

Addressing Ontario's legal obligations on Treaties, Land Claims, Land Related Matters and the Duty to Consult

  • Working with ministries, Indigenous communities, municipalities and industry to ensure consultation obligations are understood and met, including;
    • working across government, to lead and develop operational guidance, tools, training and other supports which address the day-to-day needs of ministries in meeting the duty to consult, and which support consistent and coordinated engagement with Indigenous partners on policy and program initiatives
  • lead the implementation of the Ontario Portal for Indigenous Consultation (OPIC). OPIC is a technology solution designed to improve coordination and consistency across ministries in how Ontario meets its duty to consult. It acts as a centralized information repository on Aboriginal and treaty rights and allows for the implementation of consistent and coordinated consultation processes across government
  • provide corporate guidance on emerging and evolving consultation matters that includes practical and sound advice in order to improve consistency and coordination as ministries fulfil their Duty to Consult. For example, IAO updated the Métis Toolkit: Guidance on Consultation and Engagement with Métis
  • researching and assessing nine land claim assertions
  • continuing to make progress on the 58 claims accepted for negotiation and any new claims accepted for negotiation
  • continuing to make progress on more than 16 land-related matters and issues, such as transfers of lands pursuant to a policy-based agreement
  • working to carry out Ontario’s commitments in implementing an additional 12 claim settlements that have been successfully negotiated
  • working across government, to monitor First Nation community issues and coordinate Ontario’s response
  • working with ministry partners, where possible, to seek negotiated solutions to issues currently under litigation
  • continuing to implement the framework for identifying Métis communities that can credibly assert Aboriginal rights as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Powley

COVID‑19 response

IAO to coordinate a multi-level government response to COVID‑19 by working closely with Indigenous partners, federal departments, and other provincial ministries to identify and respond to the most pressing needs in First Nations communities and urban Indigenous populations in Ontario.

  • Ontario has developed a central command structure within government to help streamline Ontario's response to COVID‑19. This command structure includes a number of sector-specific tables that facilitate cross-ministry issues such as food security, health supplies, vaccine distribution, and vulnerable populations. IAO co-chairs the cross-functional table on equity and priority populations, which works to promote cross-government collaboration in developing COVID‑19 response initiatives for priority populations, including Indigenous communities
  • IAO continues to support Indigenous communities, organizations and leadership with the tools and supports they need for challenges related to COVID‑19. To do this, IAO continues to work through the ministry’s First Nations Vaccine Distribution Table and the Urban Indigenous Vaccine Distribution Table, which were established to inform the government’s COVID‑19 policies and public health measures, address the views and specific risk factors and local experiences of First Nation communities and urban Indigenous organizations
  • IAO also participates at the Central Coordination Table and Public Safety Coordination Table to regularly discuss urgent and emerging COVID-related issues and provide insight on the incorporation of Indigenous considerations
  • This ministry is working to build upon existing programs and human capacity within Nishnawbe Aski Nation and other remote, northern First Nations to raise awareness and provide seamless communication in Indigenous languages regarding COVID‑19
  • IAO is continuing to listen to feedback from First Nations and other Indigenous partners on program funding design and guidelines to ensure funds are accessed quickly and efficiently and directed where they are needed most

2022–23 strategic plan

  • IAO's strategic plan demonstrates a commitment to effectively using public funds, providing greater value for money, and supporting government policies, while the ministry supports Indigenous peoples and communities in responding to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
  • Over the 2022–23 fiscal year, the ministry aims to continue delivering on its vision to create lasting wellness and prosperity with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Ontario to help make reconciliation meaningful to people.
  • IAO maintains its strategic approach, which is focused on;
    • economy: to create lasting Indigenous economic prosperity by increasing access to employment, skills training, capital, and education
    • partnerships: strengthening relationships among government ministries and Indigenous leaders, service providers and communities to achieve better service delivery and advance socio-economic opportunities and outcomes for Indigenous peoples
    • rights and Interests: continue to negotiate and settle land claims and land-related matters, work with partner ministries to meet Duty to Consult obligations, participate in or support discussions on self-governance and jurisdiction
    • people: maximizing available resources for responsive programs, services and infrastructure for Indigenous people and organizations, and to reduce barriers to advance Indigenous employment and wealth creation
  • The ministry will continue to deliver on its Key Performance Indicators:
    • resolving outstanding Land Claim and Land Related Issues
    • policies & programs reflecting Indigenous interests and perspectives
    • increasing administrative efficiencies
    • creating jobs in Ontario for Indigenous people
    • increasing economic opportunities for Indigenous people
  • IAO will continue to collect and report on the horizontal indicator for programs across government — improving social outcomes for Indigenous people
  • The ministry anticipates some risk in its ability to deliver its regular programming due to the COVID‑19 pandemic, however, by working closely with Indigenous communities and organizations, as well as with key ministry partners and the federal government, IAO will continue to adapt its programs to ensure funds are directed to where they are needed most
Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2022–23 ($M)
CategoryAmount
$M
COVID‑19 approvals(N/A)
Other operating112.34
Capital6.00
Total118.34

Ministry allocation of 2022–23 base spending by standard account ($118.3M)

Transfer payments: $84,598,900

71%

Salaries & benefits: $19,913,614

17%

Transportation & communications: $1,029,300

1%

Services (less Recoveries): $12,529,900

11%

Supplies & equipment: $267,500

0%

Other transactions: $1,000

0%

Ministry allocation of 2022–23 base spending by vote item ($118.3M)

Indigenous Affairs: $98,896,700

84%

Ministry administration: $12,321,500

10%

Capital: $6,001,000

5%

Land Claims & self-government: $102,000

0%

Statutory appropriation: $1,019,014

1%

Detailed financial information

Table 2: Combined operating and capital summary by vote
Votes/programsEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Actuals
2020–21footnote 1
$
Operating expense — Ministry administration12,321,500500,0004.211,821,50011,678,80010,812,668
Operating expense — Indigenous Affairs98,896,70029,031,80041.669,864,90077,345,30086,696,216
Operating expense — Land Claims and self-government initiatives102,000100,0005000.02,00017,016,314149,435,300
Total operating expense to be voted111,320,20029,631,80036.381,688,400106,040,414246,944,184
Operating expense — Statutory appropriations1,019,014N/AN/A1,019,014134,454,0007,336,417
Ministry total operating expense112,339,21429,631,80035.882,707,414240,494,414254,280,601
Consolidation adjustment — General real estate portfolioN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A(1,286,198)
Total including consolidation and other adjustments112,339,21429,631,800N/A240,494,414240,494,414252,994,403
Operating assets — Accounts receivableN/AN/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Total perating assets to be votedN/AN/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Ministry total operating assetsN/AN/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Capital expense — Ministry of Indigenous Affairs6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Total capital expense to be voted6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Ministry total capital expense6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Consolidation adjustment — General real estate portfolioN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Total including consolidatin and other adjustments6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)118,340,21428,898,90032.389,441,314247,373,714255,956,171
Historical trend analysis
Historic trend analysis dataActuals
2019–20
$
Actuals
2020–21
$
Estimates
2021–22footnote 2
$
Estimates
2022–23
$
Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)86,409,670255,956,17189,441,314118,340,214
Percent changeN/A196%−65%32%

For the 2020–21 fiscal year, the IAO incurred expenses totalled $255.9 million, an increase of 196% over 2019–20 Actuals. This significant increase year-over-year is mainly due to planned initiatives to help support Indigenous communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic and the recognition of contingent liabilities associated with land and land-related claims.

The ministry’s 2020–21 year-end spending is 65% greater than the 2021–22 Estimates primarily due to costs incurred associated with land and land-related claims for which the ministry does not receive an allocation. As a number of these claims are still ongoing negotiations, these figures may fluctuate based on the final settlement amount.

The increase to IAO's in 2022–23 is mainly due to planned initiatives to support Indigenous businesses and economic recovery, establish a duty to consult unit to engage with Indigenous communities, and to support the identification, protection, maintenance, and memorialization of IRS burial sites.

For additional financial information, see:

Ministry organization chart

Effective March 31, 2022

  • Minister
    • Deputy Minister
      • Legal Services Branch
      • Corporate Management Division
        • Corporate Management Branch
        • Strategic Human Resources Business Branch
      • Indigenous Relations and Programs Division
        • Programs and Services Branch
        • Indigenous Relations and Ministry Partnerships Branch
      • Negotiations and Reconciliation Division
        • Divisional Services Unit
        • Negotiations Branch — Northeast and South
        • Negotiations Branch — Northwest
      • Strategic Policy and Planning Division
        • Performance Measures and Data Unit
        • Residential Schools Unit
        • Strategic Initiatives Social Policy Branch
        • Strategic Planning and Economic Policy Branch
      • Communications Services Branch
      • Land and Resources I & IT Clusterfootnote 3

Highlights of 2021–22 results

IAO is committed to improving outcomes for Indigenous People in Ontario. In 2021–22, the ministry;

  • provided $12.5 million to Indigenous communities and organizations to support their participation in meaningful consultation and engagement with government and the private sector in lands and resources matters, through the New Relationship Fund
  • disbursed $5.8 million in funding to address the issue of significant revenue losses facing small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses due to COVID‑19, as well as $1.2 million to enable organizations to complete strategic economic planning for expanding their economic base and exploring job creation
  • provided $6 million to support the construction, renovation and/or retrofit of Indigenous community infrastructure projects (on- and off-reserve) that contribute to economic development, job creation and social benefits to the community, through the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program
  • provided $1.7 million in funding through the Ontario Indigenous Representative Organization Fund to support Indigenous organizational capacity and development
  • facilitated mandatory Indigenous Cultural Competency Training for all Ontario Public Service employees. This training is being extended until 2024 to provide public servants with increased capacity and awareness to deliver critical programs and services to Indigenous communities
  • supported the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) in the ongoing policy development work to help fulfill the government’s mandate to expand resource revenue sharing to additional Indigenous communities
  • supported job creation by providing $3 million to the Métis Voyageur Development Fund, one of Ontario’s most successful Aboriginal Financial Institutions that uses ministry funds to provide loans and grants to Métis businesses and entrepreneurs across the province. Since it began operations in 2012, the Métis Voyageur Development Fund has distributed over $33 million in loans and grants to Ontario Métis entrepreneurs and businesses, leveraged over $28 million in additional funding, and helped create or sustain over 580 jobs
  • increased procurement opportunities with the provincial government for Indigenous businesses through the Aboriginal Procurement Program. The Program has directly supported over 185 new procurements valued at over $64 million for Indigenous businesses in Ontario since 2015
  • supported regular meetings between the Premier’s Office and Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs) to address shared priorities, provided advice and support materials to numerous meetings between government Ministers and Indigenous leadership, and maintained strong collaborative working relationships with PTOs and urban Indigenous service organizations at Relationship Table meetings held virtually throughout the fiscal year
  • designed and launched Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s Strategy in Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls. The Strategy was composed of 118 initiatives, organized in six pathways, across ten partner ministries. Ontario was one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to release its response to the National Inquiry
  • launched a table of experts in Indigenous economic development to provide input and perspectives on how government can best support wealth creation for Indigenous communities and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID‑19
  • provided funding to support a research project focusing on the experiences of Indigenous women across Ontario and the impacts of COVID‑19 in relation to their employment, training and business development needs
  • invested $252,000 to deliver three broadband internet projects to improve internet service and access in 16 northern and remote First Nations communities for 12 months. These projects will improve connectivity and bandwidth for these underserved First Nations during a time when they need access the most
  • coordinated Ontario’s response to social emergencies and critical infrastructure failures and/or natural disasters
  • coordinated cross-ministry funding and supports for First Nations leading Indian Residential Schools (IRS) burial investigations, including $11.8M in IRS operational and Mental Health and Addictions funding
  • from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, IAO worked with provincial ministries, the federal government, and First Nations partners to respond to five critical infrastructure failure emergencies, 12 COVID‑19 emergencies, four social emergencies, and eight natural disaster emergencies
  • from February 2021 – February 22, 2022, Ontario has responded to 33 declarations of emergencies from First Nations Communities. This includes 16 declarations due to COVID‑19, Seven declarations for social emergencies, five declarations for critical infrastructure failure, and five declarations for natural disaster emergencies
  • coordinated a multi-level government response to COVID‑19 by working closely with Indigenous partners and with the federal government to identify the most pressing needs in Ontario First Nations and other Indigenous communities and to confirm the most responsive actions
  • supported effective self-isolation in remote and northern First Nation communities by enabling communities to contract with private or public facilities for use for self-isolation
  • supported culturally appropriate COVID‑19 pandemic planning in remote and northern Indigenous communities by developing standard community training and awareness protocols, and addressing community needs around access to food, water, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help reduce the risk of COVID‑19
  • facilitated the inclusion of all Indigenous populations, both on and off reserve, as a Phase 1 priority population throughout all stages of the COVID‑19 vaccine rollout
  • As of July 31, 2022, the First Nations population in Ontario vaccination rates are;
    • 18+ Population: 81% have received their first dose, 73% have received their second dose, and 38% have received their third dose
    • 12–17 Population: 58% have received their first dose and 44% have received their second dose
    • 5–11 Population: 42% have received their first dose and 25% have received their second dose
  • As of July 31, 2022, the urban Indigenous population in Ontario vaccination rates are;
    • 18+ Population: 58% have received their first dose, 55% have received their second dose, and 31% have received their third dose
    • 12–17 Population: 13% have received their first dose and 11% have received their second dose
    • 5–11 Population: 6% have received their first dose and 4% have received their second dose
  • IAO working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) rolled out up to $43.4 million in 2021–22, to support community‐led vaccination efforts and enhanced public health and pandemic response measures in First Nations and urban Indigenous communities
  • IAO also invested an additional $4 million to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and urban Indigenous organizations. This funding assisted Indigenous communities in responding to the escalating impacts of the pandemic and its effects on ongoing social and public health emergencies
  • coordinated with ministries and the federal government to respond to individual First Nations communities impacted by COVID‑19 in a tailored and efficient manner.
  • IAO maintained engagement with Indigenous leadership to coordinate the response to COVID‑19 and respond to community identified issues as they arise
  • worked with ministries on assessing the impacts and opportunities for Indigenous communities and organizations in the development and implementation of policies, legislation, and programs in a broad range of areas including economic development, land and resource development, community self-regulation on tobacco and cannabis, broad health system transformation, mental health and addictions, poverty reduction, child welfare, education, food security, Far North land use planning, social assistance, employment and skills training, community and supportive housing, seniors and accessibility, land use planning, heritage and culture, anti-racism, community safety and policing and justice
  • provided corporate guidance on emerging and evolving consultation matters that includes practical and sound advice to improve consistency and coordination as ministries fulfill their Duty to Consult obligations
  • Provided corporate guidance on Indigenous engagement and consultation. IAO has worked closely with ministries on topics including, but not limited to;
    • Minister Zoning Orders; justice modernization and transformation; health transformation, including addictions and mental health; COVID‑19 Vaccine rollouts; emergency planning and management; IRS and child welfare; and education transformation
  • continued to assess, in collaboration with Métis partners, Métis communities capable of holding Aboriginal rights consistent with the guidance set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Powley
  • coordinated provincial review and analysis, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG), of Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act; participated in a federally led provincial-territorial engagement process on the development legislation as well as Canada’s next steps towards its implementation
  • worked across ministries and with Indigenous partners to continue to address the recommendations of the Seven Youth Inquest and submitted Ontario’s fourth annual progress report to the Office of the Chief Coroner. To date, the province has completed the majority of the recommendations directed at Ontario, with the remaining in progress
  • hosted the fifth annual Treaties Recognition Week, delivering this important initiative in a wholly virtual and digital environment as a result of the COVID‑19 pandemic and the related restrictions around in-person gatherings
  • IAO delivered three public virtual events, directly supported 11 events in libraries and post-secondary institutions and developed five new Living Library videos. This year’s social media and digital efforts reached more online users than ever before, breaking previous years’ records for views, impressions and participation
  • provided $11.6 million in funding through the Support for Community Negotiations Fund to support an Indigenous community's capacity in the land claims process
  • coordinated a multi-level government response to COVID‑19 by working closely with Indigenous partners and with the federal government to identify the most pressing needs in Ontario First Nations and other Indigenous communities and to confirm the most responsive actions
  • supported NDMNRF and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) in working with the federal government to provide small air carriers serving remote communities in Northern Ontario with urgent funding to continue supplying critical goods and services during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The funding helped to support jobs and economic activity in Ontario’s Far North and ensured critical services and goods continued to be available to remote First Nation communities
  • IAO continued to support the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) in working with First Nations partners on the development of a distinct plan to renew social assistance in First Nations communities
  • IAO supported the development and release of the Poverty Reduction Strategy by ensuring Indigenous considerations were reflected and identifying related initiatives that support Indigenous prosperity and well-being along with indicators that can be measured for Indigenous people. The refreshed strategy encompasses a range of important Indigenous-specific initiatives;
    • Indigenous Economic Development Fund
    • Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy
    • Indigenous Supportive Housing Program
    • Indigenous Women's Advisory Council
    • First Nations Delivery Credit
  • worked closely with MAG, the Ministry of the Solicitor General (SOLGEN), and First Nations leadership to address barriers regarding the enforcement and prosecution of First Nations laws, including supporting the development of a collaborative table with Canada and First Nations, launched in May 2021, which will develop recommendations on how to overcome and bridge obstacles, as well as identify pathways to support the implementation of any recommendations that are made
  • worked with partner ministries to provide over $20 million for Indigenous-focused mental health and addictions programs and services to directly support IRS survivors. This funding will ensure that culturally appropriate, trauma-informed supports are available to both First Nations and urban Indigenous organizations as critical work is undertaken to investigate and commemorate former IRS sites across Ontario

Appendix: 2021–22 annual report

The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs overview

In 2021–22, the ministry played a leading role in strategic Indigenous policy for Ontario, leading cross-government initiatives that improved outcomes for Indigenous people, led the provincial negotiation of Indigenous land claims, and supported economic development for Indigenous partners.

2020–21 results

In 2021–22 the ministry took steps to develop a robust fiscal strategy to deliver on the government’s priorities while continuing to restore accountability and trust. The ministry worked with Indigenous partners to reduce red tape and administrative costs, to enable renewed focus on delivering programs and services that make a difference in the lives of Indigenous people. The ministry achieved the following results.

  • Advised ministries on engagement and consultation with Indigenous communities for a range of provincial policy initiatives and legislation
  • supported regular meetings between the Premier’s Office and Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs), provided advice and support materials to numerous meetings between government Ministers and Indigenous leadership, and maintained strong collaborative working relationships with PTOs and urban Indigenous service organizations at Relationship Table meetings held virtually throughout the fiscal year
  • worked with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and First Nation communities and organizations on tobacco regulation by supporting projects to explore on-reserve approaches to tobacco regulation undertaken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
  • worked with the MOF, to procure two independent Indigenous facilitators to lead province-wide engagements with First Nations to ensure that their perspectives and interests in tobacco are considered in developing solutions to unregulated tobacco
  • supported Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) and other partner ministries in conducting engagement and information sharing with Indigenous communities and organizations on the legalization of cannabis, including undertaking discussions with interested communities to explore approaches to cannabis regulation that advance mutual priorities
  • worked with MAG and MOF to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements with interested Indigenous communities on the regulation of cannabis on-reserve
  • hosted the fifth annual Treaties Recognition Week, delivering this important initiative in a wholly virtual and digital environment as a result of the of the COVID‑19 pandemic and the related restrictions around in-person gatherings
  • delivered three public virtual events, directly supported 11 events in libraries and post-secondary institutions and developed five new Living Library videos. This year’s social media and digital efforts reached more online users than ever before, breaking previous years’ records for views, impressions and participation

Promoting economic opportunities for Indigenous employment, economic and community development

  • Provided $12.5 million to Indigenous communities and organizations to support their participation in meaningful consultation and engagement with government and the private sector in lands and resources matters, through the New Relationship Fund
  • in response to the need to stimulate the Indigenous economy, the ministry provided up to $5.8 million through the Indigenous Economic Development Fund to Indigenous-owned small and medium-sized businesses and $1.2 million to support the recovery of Indigenous communities through strategic planning
  • provided $6 million to support the construction, renovation and/or retrofit of Indigenous community infrastructure projects (on- and off-reserve) that contribute to economic development, job creation and social benefits to the community, through the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program
  • provided $1.7 million in funding through the Ontario Indigenous Representative Organization Fund to support Indigenous organizational capacity and development
  • supported the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) in the ongoing policy development work to help fulfill the government’s mandate to expand resource revenue sharing to additional Indigenous communities
  • supported job creation by providing $3 million to the Métis Voyageur Development Fund, one of Ontario’s most successful Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which uses ministry funds to provide loans and grants to Métis businesses and entrepreneurs across the province. Since it began operations in 2012, the Métis Voyageur Development Fund has distributed over $33 million in loans and grants to Ontario Métis entrepreneurs and businesses, leveraged over $28 million in additional funding, and helped create or sustain over 580 jobs.
  • increased procurement opportunities with the provincial government for Indigenous businesses through the Aboriginal Procurement Program. The Program has directly supported over 185 new procurements valued at over $64 million for Indigenous businesses in Ontario since 2015
  • launched a table of experts in Indigenous economic development to provide input and perspectives on how government can best support wealth creation for Indigenous communities and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID‑19
  • provided funding to support a research project focusing on the experiences of Indigenous women across Ontario and the impacts of COVID‑19 in relation to their employment, training and business development needs
  • invested $252,000 to deliver three broadband internet projects to improve internet service and access in 16 northern and remote First Nations communities for 12 months. These projects will improve connectivity and bandwidth for these underserved First Nations during a time when they need access the most
  • supported NDMNRF in the development and implementation of operational strategies, guidance and options related to consultation and community identification in the Ring of Fire development area
  • in 2020, a land transfer agreement between Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, Ontario, and Canada was executed. Ontario transferred the former Ipperwash Park lands to Canada to be set apart as reserve for Kettle and Stony Point First Nation

Make Meaningful Health and Social Improvements in the Lives of Indigenous People

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.

  • Worked with provincial ministries, the federal government, and First Nations partners to coordinate the response to four critical infrastructure failures and/or natural disasters, two declarations of a social emergency, three declarations of an emergency for enhanced supports due to COVID‑19 outbreaks, and two requests for emergency assistance by First Nation communities due to social crises
  • IAO continues to lead the implementation of the Indigenous Cultural Competency Training for the Ontario Public Service (OPS) using the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program;
    • the training addresses the pervasive effects of colonization and aims to ensure that public servants have increased capacity and knowledge to work with Indigenous communities and leaders to develop and deliver policies, programs and services
    • as of January 2022, the OPS has registered 42,866 employees for Indigenous Cultural Competency Training. This comprises an estimated 73% of the total workforce based on the 2022 OPS headcount
  • worked with ministries on assessing the impacts and opportunities for Indigenous communities and organizations in the development and implementation of policies, legislation, and programs in a broad range of areas including, but not limited to;
    • economic and land development; self-regulation on tobacco and cannabis; health transformation; education, employment and skills training; supportive housing; child welfare; and community safety and policing and justice
  • worked with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) to incorporate Indigenous considerations and Indigenous-specific initiatives into the refreshed Poverty Reduction Strategy
  • supported the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) in their review of Ontario’s supportive housing to identify opportunities to streamline and improve coordination across the system. Throughout the engagement period between fall 2020 and winter 2021, IAO coordinated and supported three dedicated engagement sessions with urban Indigenous organizations and housing providers
  • provided significant support to ministries, in collaboration with MAG, in assessing and reviewing implications of federal legislation, policies and commitments on Indigenous communities and organizations in Ontario, including;
    • An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families (Bill C-92)
    • Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and federal actions to implement the Declaration
  • coordinated provincial review of Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and participated in a federally led provincial-territorial engagement process on the development of the legislation, as well as Canada’s next steps towards its implementation
  • worked with lead ministries, including MAG and MCCSS, and provided technical advice in support of self-government discussions
  • worked across ministries and with Indigenous partners to continue to address the recommendations of the Seven First Nations Youth Inquest and submitted Ontario's fourth annual progress report to the Office of the Chief Coroner. To date, of the 61 recommendations directed to the province, Ontario has completed 33 recommendations, with 28 recommendations in progress
    • worked across ministries, with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Canada through a collaborative process to better understand barriers to accessing government-issued identification for Indigenous individuals, particularly in remote, northern communities and to discuss potential paths to address these challenges
  • completed the development of the Indigenous Youth Leading Youth Anti-Racism Program Guide and Training Materials. The program was designed by NORDIK at Algoma University with the input from an Indigenous Youth Advisory Circle, which included representation from First Nations and Inuit youth and elders. The program engages non-Indigenous youth audiences through interactive, age-appropriate workshops led by trained Indigenous youth facilitators
  • supported effective self-isolation in remote and northern First Nation communities by enabling communities to contract with private or public facilities for use for self-isolation
  • supported MCCSS with their ongoing work on child welfare redesign, including the implementation of the co-developed Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS) and MCCSS' approach to discussions and negotiations with Indigenous partners on implementing their own child and family services systems
  • supported culturally appropriate COVID‑19 pandemic planning in remote and northern Indigenous communities by developing standard community training and awareness protocols, and addressing community needs around access to food, water, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help reduce the risk of COVID‑19
  • facilitated discussions with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Indigenous organizations on Home and Community Care Modernization and engagement on regulations under Bill 175, the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act, 2020
  • facilitated discussions with the Ministry of Health and Indigenous organizations on Home and Community Care Modernization and engagement on regulations under Bill 175, the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act, 2020
  • worked with partner ministries to provide over $20 million for Indigenous-focused mental health and addictions programs and services to directly support Indian Residential School (IRS) survivors. This funding will ensure that culturally appropriate, trauma-informed supports are available to both First Nations and urban Indigenous organizations as critical work is undertaken to investigate and commemorate former Indian residential school sites across Ontario
  • supported MOH in engagement on regulatory amendments to enable Aboriginal Midwives to apply for OHIP billing numbers in order to improve the healthcare experience and provide comparable care and services to Indigenous midwifery clients as is provided to clients of registered Midwives

Address Ontario's legal obligations on Treaties, Land Claims, Land Related Claims, and the Duty to Consult

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.

  • In 2021, Ontario entered into negotiations with Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation to resolve an outstanding boundary claim. IAO negotiators also signed a negotiation protocol agreement setting out the negotiation process and agreeing to the parameters regarding the First Nation’s boundary claim negotiations
  • in 2021, Ontario and Whitefish River First Nation signed a negotiation protocol agreement setting out the negotiation process and provisions
  • in 2021, IAO launched its virtual public information and 35 consultation process to support the settlement of the Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods Flooding Claims on ontario.ca
  • in 2021, IAO worked with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and other partner ministries to obtain an exemption from the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) which came into effect in July 2021. The effect of this exemption is that Ontario is no longer required to undertake the consultation guided by the requirements of the EAA to transfer Crown land in a land claim settlement
  • in 2021, IAO through a collaborative engagement process with partner ministries updated and posted its Indigenous Land Claims Consultation Process to increase the transparency and accountability of Ontario’s land claim process as well as respond to the 2020 Value for Money Audit for Indigenous Services
  • in early 2022, Ontario accepted Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA) claim asserting they did not sign or adhere to the Robinson-Superior Treaty 1850 for negotiation
  • in early 2022, IAO also worked with partner ministries to clarify and update Ontario’s land claims policy further improving transparency and accountability
  • in early 2022, IAO worked with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) to achieve a significant milestone in the implementation of the 2018 Williams Treaties Settlement Agreement through the direct sale of an Ontario government-held property to one of the 7 First Nations in the Williams Treaties
  • in early 2022, IAO received Stage 2 Treasury Board authorization to sign 13 Treaty 3 Flooding Claim Settlement Agreements on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake to be finalized over the coming months. So far, negotiators for Ontario, Canada, and First Nations, have initialed two settlement agreements, which are now in the process of ratification
  • IAO has led the coordination of Ontario’s response to community issues across ministries, including the facilitation of supports for First Nations, funding a Regional Emergency Summit, encouraging the active participation of the federal government in responding to the Summit’s recommendations
  • in 2021, IAO continued to provide corporate guidance on emerging and evolving consultation matters that included practical and sound advice in order to improve consistency and coordination as ministries fulfill their Duty to Consult obligations

COVID‑19 funding initiatives

  • IAO committed $5 million in 2021-21 to support urban Indigenous service providers to respond to the COVID‑19 emergency and to address intensified needs of vulnerable people, such as elders, single-parent families and those experiencing homelessness. This funding includes a dedicated $1 million in funding to support safe delivery of mental health and addictions supports
  • IAO provided a further $1.5 million in funding in 2021–22 to urban Indigenous service providers to support their vulnerable clients, such as low-income, elderly and homeless Indigenous individuals, to receive necessities that they otherwise would not be financially or physically able to access, such as food, medical and pharmaceutical supplies as well as to address increased need for mental health and addictions supports as a result of COVID‑19
  • IAO supported MOH roll out of up to $50 million over two years, including up to $6.6 million in 2020–21 and up to $43.4 million in 2021–22, to support COVID‑19 planning, vaccine distribution and response in Indigenous communities
  • funding was provided for costs associated with setting up and operating vaccination clinics, as well as implementing alternate modes of vaccine delivery, such as off-site and mobile clinics, to ensure access for all community members
  • this funding also supported the development of communications programs to address vaccine hesitancy, as well as supporting enhanced public health and pandemic response measures in Indigenous communities
  • IAO also invested an additional $4.0 million to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and urban Indigenous organizations. This funding assisted Indigenous communities in responding to the escalating impacts of the pandemic and its effects on ongoing social and public health emergencies

COVID‑19 vaccine distribution

The Ontario government took a phased approach to vaccine distribution across the province where the first phase prioritized vulnerable populations that are at the greatest risk of COVID‑19 infection and severe illnesses and those who care for them.

  • As a part of the first phase, adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit Populations were included in early vaccine distribution prioritization.
  • IAO led the coordination and development of a prioritization matrix for First Nations communities and urban Indigenous populations to determine where to prioritize allocations during the initial shortage of vaccines in Ontario
  • the matrix assigned communities to a tiering framework based on relevant risk factors such as case counts, proximity to borders, and colour zone location
  • to ensure that Indigenous communities and organizations have the opportunity to provide input into the rollout of all COVID‑19 related policies and initiatives, IAO established the First Nations and Urban Indigenous Vaccine Distribution Tables. The Tables are held on a regular basis, beginning in December 2020
  • participants at the Tables include First Nation Leadership, representatives from Urban Indigenous Organizations, and Indigenous health-care service providers
  • these tables ensure that the government’s actions are informed by, address the views and specific risk factors and local experiences of First Nation communities and urban Indigenous organizations
  • following the tables, IAO shares regular updates through eblast to address follow-up items raised at the table, communicate urgent updates on public health guidance and provide additional information and resources to support partners in addressing COVID‑19
  • as Ontario moved through the subsequent stages of vaccine rollout, IAO worked with MOH to ensure that Indigenous populations both on and off reserve continued to be included as a priority population for second doses, booster doses and child/youth vaccination

Operation Remote Immunity

  • IAO, working with MOH and Ornge, also established Operation Remote Immunity (ORI) 1.0 and 2.0 to vaccinate adults (18+) and youth 12-17 in 31 fly-in First Nation communities and Moosonee
  • IAO also supported the launch of Operation Remote Immunity (ORI) 2.0 and 3.0 which administered COVID‑19 vaccines for youth 12-17 and children aged five to 11 and boosters for eligible populations in Northern and remote First Nations communities

Other COVID‑19 related policies

Rapid antigen tests (RATs)

  • Indigenous populations in Ontario remain a vulnerable population due to their socio-economic determinants of health. In addition to vaccinations, RATs provide an added layer of protection against COVID‑19, as such, IAO has worked to prioritize the distribution of RATs to Indigenous populations and organizations across the province
  • IAO launched a central intake process whereby the ministry serves as a one-window contact for all Indigenous partners for guidance and status updates on RAT orders placed through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program

School re-opening

  • IAO worked with First Nations communities and education partners, as well as MOH, IAO and the Ministry of Education (EDU) to ensure that communities have timely access to all necessary resources, that is RATs, and PPE, to resume in-person learning. For example, IAO is currently working with EDU and MGCS to make HEPA filters/units available to First Nations schools and childcare facilities. IAO worked with EDU to communicate to all school boards to demonstrate sensitivity and flexibility toward the unique circumstances of First Nation students to ensure they are provided with the necessary supports to maintain continuity of learning. School boards have been instructed to actively connect with local First Nation communities to co-develop appropriate learning plans

Enhanced vaccine certification QR codes

  • Following Cabinet direction to strengthen rules for mandatory proof of vaccination by mandating the use of enhanced vaccine certificates and the Verify Ontario app, IAO worked with MOH to develop an exemption to permit nine of First Nation communities who were previously not in Covax, to allow community members to access prescribed settings by providing a paper or electronic proof of vaccination without a QR code
  • this allowed the Province to continue to follow the principles of Indigenous Data Governance by providing a documented exemption to assist communities who are exercising their right to self-governance and decision-making
Table 3: Ministry interim actual expenditures 2021–22
CategoryAmount
$M
Operating expense236.5
Capital expense6.9
COVID‑19 expense4.0
Ministry staff strengthfootnote 4 (as of March 31, 2022)161.3

2021–22 Detailed financials

A. Ministry summary information

The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs’ (IAO) mandate is to: lead strategic Indigenous policy for Ontario by coordinating cross-government initiatives that improve outcomes for Indigenous people; lead provincial negotiations of Indigenous land claims; and support economic and community development for Indigenous partners.

Table A1: Total operating and capital summary by vote
Votes/programsEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Actuals
2020–21footnote 1
$
Operating expense — Ministry administration12,321,500500,0004.211,821,50011,678,80010,812,668
Operating expense — Indigenous Affairs98,896,70029,031,80041.669,864,90077,345,30086,696,216
Operating expense — Land Claims and self-government initiatives102,000100,0005000.02,00017,016,314149,435,300
Total operating expense to be voted111,320,20029,631,80036.381,688,400106,040,414246,944,184
Operating expense — Statutory appropriations1,019,014N/AN/A1,019,014134,454,0007,336,417
Ministry total operating expense112,339,21429,631,80035.882,707,414240,494,414254,280,601
Consolidation adjustment — General real estate portfolioN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A(1,286,198)
Total including consolidation and other adjustments112,339,21429,631,800N/A240,494,414240,494,414252,994,403
Operating Assets — accounts receivableN/AN/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Total operating assets to be votedN/AN/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Ministry total operating assetsN/AN/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Capital expense — Ministry of Indigenous Affairs6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Total capital expense to be voted6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Ministry total capital expense6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Consolidation adjustment — General real estate portfolioN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Total including consolidation and other adjustments6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)118,340,21428,898,90032.389,441,314247,373,714255,956,171
Historical trend analysis
Historic trend analysis dataActuals
2019–20
$
Actuals
2020–21
$
Estimates
2021–22footnote 2
$
Estimates
2022–23
$
Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)86,409,670255,956,17189,441,314118,340,214
Percent changeN/A196%−65%32%

For the 2020–21 fiscal year, the IAO incurred expenses totalled $255.9 million, an increase of 196% over 2019–20 Actuals. This significant increase year-over-year is mainly due to planned initiatives to help support Indigenous communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic and the recognition of contingent liabilities associated with land and land-related claims.

The ministry’s 2020–21 year-end spending is 65% greater than the 2021–22 Estimates primarily due to costs incurred associated with land and land-related claims for which the ministry does not receive an allocation. As a number of these claims are still ongoing negotiations, these figures may fluctuate based on the final settlement amount.

The increase to IAO's in 2022–23 is mainly due to planned initiatives to support Indigenous businesses and economic recovery, establish a duty to consult unit to engage with Indigenous communities, and to support the identification, protection, maintenance, and memorialization of IRS burial sites.

For additional financial information, see:

Table A2: Total operating summary by vote and standard account
Standard accountfootnote 52001-2004 ministry administration
$
2001-01 Indigenous Affairs
$
2001-02 Land Claims and self-government initiatives
$
Statutory appropriation
$
Total ministry
$
Total ministry
%footnote 5
Salaries and wages4,917,00013,058,400N/A64,01418,039,41415.2
Employee benefits450,0001,424,200N/AN/A1,874,2001.6
Transportation and communications312,600716,700N/AN/A1,029,3000.9
Services6,571,70012,158,200100,000N/A18,829,90015.9
Supplies and equipment70,200197,300N/AN/A267,5000.2
Transfer paymentsN/A77,641,9002,000954,00078,597,90066.2
Other transactionsN/AN/AN/A1,0001,0000.0
Less: RecoveriesN/A6,300,000N/AN/A6,300,000N/A
Total12,321,50098,896,700102,0001,019,014112,339,214100.0
Percent of total ministry %11.088.00.10.9100.0N/A

Ministry allocation of 2022–23 operating by vote item ($118.3M)

Indigenous Affairs: $98,896,700

84%

Ministry administration: $12,321,500

10%

Capital: $6,001,000

5%

Land Claims & self-government: $102,000

0%

Statutory appropriation: $1,019,014

1%

Ministry allocation of 2022–23 base spending by standard account ($118.3M)

Transfer payments: $84,598,900

71%

Salaries & benefits: $19,913,614

17%

Transportation & communications: $1,029,300

1%

Services (less Recoveries): $12,529,900

11%

Other transactions: $1,000

0%

Supplies & equipment: $267,500

0%
Table A3: Capital summary by vote and standard account
Standard accountfootnote 52001–03 Indigenous relations capital program
$
Total Ministry
$
Total Ministry
%footnote 5
Capital expenseN/AN/AN/A
Transfer payments6,001,0006,001,000100.0
Total6,001,0006,001,000100.0
Percent of total ministry %100.0100.0N/A
Table A4: Reconciliation to previously published data
Operating expenseEstimates
2021–22
$
Actuals
2020–21
$
Total operating expense previously publishedfootnote 682,734,514254,576,486
Government reorganization: Transfer of functions to other Ministries(27,100)(295,885)
Restated total operating expense82,707,414254,280,601

B. Vote summary information

Ministry of Indigenous Affairs — Vote 2001

The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs’ (IAO) mandate is to: lead strategic Indigenous policy for Ontario by coordinating cross-government initiatives that improve outcomes for Indigenous people; lead provincial negotiations of Indigenous land claims; and support economic and community development for Indigenous partners.

Table B1: Operating
Votes/programsEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Actuals
2020–21footnote 1
$
Operating expense — Ministry administration12,321,500500,0004.211,821,50011,678,80010,812,668
Operating expense — Indigenous Affairs98,896,70029,031,80041.669,864,90077,345,30086,696,216
Operating expense — Land Claims and self-government initiatives102,000100,0005000.02,00017,016,314149,435,300
Total operating expense to be voted111,320,20029,631,80036.381,688,400106,040,414246,944,184
S Minister's salary, the Executive Council Act47,841N/AN/A47,84147,841N/A
S Parliamentary Assistant's salary, the Executive Council Act16,173N/AN/A16,17316,1733,657
S Mercury Disability Fund — Trustee, English and Wabigoon River systems954,000N/AN/A954,000134,454,0007,335,401
S Bad debt expense, the Financial Administration Act1,000N/AN/A1,0001,0001,016
Total statutory appropriations112,339,21429,631,80035.882,707,414240,559,428254,284,258
Total operating expense1,019,014N/AN/A1,019,014134,519,0147,340,074
Accounts receivableN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Total operating assets to be votedN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Total operating assetsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Table B2: Capital
Votes/programsEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actuals
2021–22footnote 1
$
Actuals
2020–21footnote 1
$
Capital expenseN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Indigenous Affairs capital programN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Total capital expense to be voted6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Ministry total capital expense6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,879,3002,961,768
Explanation for estimates change from 2021–22
ItemAmount
$
Negotiated settlements(732,900)

C. Item/sub-item summary information

Item/sub-item comparative details by standard account

Table C1: Comparative details — operating expense
Standard accountEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actuals
$
Actuals
2020–21
$
Salaries and wages13,058,4002,261,10020.910,797,30011,873,50010,213,441
Employee benefits1,424,200293,90026.01,130,3001,533,6001,369,940
Transportation and communications716,700N/AN/A716,700173,00081,241
Services12,158,200744,8006.511,413,4008,215,9009,287,769
Supplies and equipment197,300N/AN/A197,30050,20015,229
Transfer payments — Ontario Indigenous Representative Organization Fund1,924,900N/AN/A1,924,9001,675,6001,675,555
Transfer payments — Indigenous Economic Development Fund16,750,0009,750,000139.37,000,0007,131,50023,177,468
Transfer payments — Participation Fund3,650,000(2,850,000)(43.8)6,500,0007,429,70020,952,738
Transfer payments — Support for Community Negotiations Fund12,725,000N/AN/A12,725,00012,097,7006,368,169
Transfer payments — Mercury Disability Fund — AdministrationN/A(150,000)(100.0)150,000861,100146,745
Transfer payments — Policy Development Engagement Fund6,110,000N/AN/A6,110,0002,863,5001,526,757
Transfer payments — New Relationship Fund14,500,000N/AN/A14,500,00013,058,70012,396,004
Transfer payments — Métis Economic Development Fund3,000,000N/AN/A3,000,0003,000,0003,000,000
Transfer payments — Support for Indian Residential School burial sites18,982,00018,982,000N/AN/A9,000,000N/A
Less: Recoveries6,300,000N/AN/A6,300,0001,618,700(3,514,840)
Total98,896,70029,031,80041.669,864,90077,345,300(3,514,840)
Explanation for estimates change from 2021–22
ItemAmount
$
Budget initiative9,750,000
Inter-ministry transfer196,200
Realignment within ministry673,600
End of 2021–22 COVID‑19 initiatives(4,000,000)
Duty to Consult initiative1,556,500
Indian Residential School burial site investigation initiative20,855,500
Total29,031,800
Table C2: Comparative details — operating expense
Standard accountEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actuals
$footnote 1
Actuals
2020–21
$footnote 1
Salaries and wages4,917,000500,00011.34,417,0004,600,9004,109,826
Employee benefits450,000N/AN/A450,000607,500556,660
Transportation and communications312,600N/AN/A312,600100,90064,117
Services6,571,700(27,100)0.46,598,8006,326,5006,059,229
Supplies and equipment70,200N/AN/A70,20043,00022,836
Total12,321,500472,9004.011,848,60011,678,80010,812,668
Explanation for estimates change from 2021–22
ItemAmount
$
Realignment within ministry500,000
Inter-ministry transfer(27,100)
Total472,900
Table C3: Comparative details — operating expense
Standard accountEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actualsfootnote 1
$
Actuals
2020–21footnote 1
$
Services100,000100,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Transfer payments — Land Claim settlements1,000N/AN/A1,00017,015,314149,435,300
Transfer payments — Negotiated settlements1,000N/AN/A1,0001,000N/A
Total102,000100,000N/A2,00017,016,314149,435,300
Explanation for estimates change from 2021–22
ItemAmount
$
Realignment within ministry100,000
Table C4: Comparative details — Operating expense
Standard accountEstimates
2022–23
$
Change from estimates
2021–22
$
%Estimates
2021–22footnote 1
$
Interim actuals
$footnote 1
Actuals
2020–21
$footnote 1
Transfer payments — Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program6,000,000N/AN/A6,000,0006,125,4002,961,768
Transfer payments — Negotiated settlements1,000(732,900)(99.9)733,900733,900N/A
Total6,001,000(732,900)(10.9)6,733,9006,859,3002,961,768
Explanation for estimates change from 2021–22
ItemAmount
$
End of one-time investments(732,900)

Appendix

Table D1: Time-limited discretionary transfer payments
Name of time limited discretionary transfer paymentsVote-item #Capital or operatingDiscretionary transfer paymentTime-limited transfer paymentBudget
2022–23
$
Ontario Indigenous Representative Organization Fund2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited1,924,900
Indigenous Economic Development Fund2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited16,750,000
Participation Fund2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited3,650,000
Support For Community Negotiations Fund2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited12,725,000
Policy Development Engagement Fund2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited6,110,000
New Relationship Fund2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited14,500,000
Métis Economic Development Fund2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited3,000,000
Support For Indian Residential School burial sites2001-01OEDiscretionaryTime limited18,982,000
Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program2001-03CEDiscretionaryTime limited6,000,000
TotalN/AN/AN/AN/A83,641,900