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reconciliation; governance and self-government. Examples of progress in some of these areas are provided below.
Programs for Aboriginal children and families
The Government of Canada’s First Nations Child and Family Services Program is an
example of social programs for First Nations children and families living on reserve. Under this program, the federal government funds First Nations and other recipients to deliver culturally- appropriate child welfare services to First Nations families and children on reserve. In all cases, recipients receive their mandate from the reference province to deliver child and family services on-reserve.
In 2006-2007, there were approximately 8,282 First Nations children in care. This number
is disproportionately high in comparison to the general population and is indicative of the broader social concerns that exist on many reserves, those of poverty, poor housing conditions, substance abuse and exposure to family violence.
In response to these underlying concerns as well as to recommendations by the Auditor
General of Canada to better address gaps in policy, funding, accountability and reporting,
governments in Canada, in partnership with First Nations, undertake measures to incrementally
shift agency programming to a prevention focused approach. This shift began in 2007 is working
towards completion by 2013.
Examples of government measures include British Columbia’s work with Aboriginal
communities, leadership and individuals to develop capacity within the Aboriginal communities to take on child and family services, with the objective of achieving in fewer Aboriginal children
in care, more culturally appropriate services delivered to Aboriginal people, and increased involvement by Aboriginal community members in decisions pertaining to their children. Through Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements in British Columbia, school boards and Aboriginal communities jointly identify the direction needed to improve the success of Aboriginal students, take steps to reach their shared goals and reflect local Aboriginal culture. The Province has provided grants to help Friendship Centre Societies with enhanced early childhood development programming and family literacy initiatives.
Other government measures include the enactment by the Government of Yukon of the
Child and Family Services Act, which recognizes the importance of culture and community in
the lives of children and families; and the importance of involving First Nations in planning and decision-making where First Nations children are involved in child protection matters. The Government of New Brunswick continues to advance its work with First Nation communities and organizations on issues such as the provision of culturally sensitive mental health and addictions services. Manitoba's The Child and Family Services Authorities Act devolved responsibility for development and delivery of programs for Aboriginal families to a Métis and two regional First Nation authorities. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador funds an
Aboriginal grants program for women and children to support their efforts to promote violence prevention.
Extension of the Canadian Human Rights Act to matters under the Indian Act
The Canadian Human Rights Act was amended to repeal section 67. This amendment
closed a long-standing legislative gap noted by national and international bodies and allows for issues of discrimination arising under the Indian Act to be addressed under this legislative