An agreement signed today by the B.C. government and the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) supports government's 2011 throne speech commitment to establish an off-reserve Aboriginal action plan. The protocol agreement outlines the partnership and principles that will guide the work of both parties as they develop and implement the plan.
The Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan (ORAAP) will include a multi-stakeholder, community-driven approach focused on better education and job training, healthier family life, and strengthened cultures and traditions for off-reserve Aboriginal people in B.C. The B.C. government has established a provincial co-ordination team, including representatives from BCAAFC, Métis Nation British Columbia and the federal government, to oversee the development of ORAAP.
The 2011 throne speech acknowledged the importance of the off-reserve Aboriginal population and committed the B.C. government to work with Aboriginal partners, the federal government and local governments to develop an action plan.
The co-ordination team currently is working to determine pilot communities for the ORAAP.
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Ida Chong -
"The B.C. government has enjoyed a long and positive relationship with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, and we are continuing to strengthen that bond. This agreement will help us realize our shared goal of developing innovative approaches to addressing the challenges faced by B.C.'s off-reserve Aboriginal population."
BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres President Annette Morgan -
"The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres welcomes this opportunity to advance the ORAAP implementation process and to continue to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people living off-reserve. We sign this agreement with a sense of urgency and dedication for achieving real change and positive growth for our people, and we recognize the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation for their leadership and commitment to strengthen our longstanding relationship."
- British Columbia has the second-largest off-reserve Aboriginal population in Canada, with approximately 74 per cent of Aboriginal people living off-reserve, of which 60 per cent live in urban areas.
- Located in Victoria, the BCAAFC is the umbrella association for 25 Friendship Centres throughout B.C. representing the largest service delivery infrastructure for the off-reserve Aboriginal population and serving more than 140,000 Aboriginal people.
- BCAAFC offers a variety of wrap-around services, including cultural resources, employment resources, health promotion and prevention services, counselling supports, and early childhood education and development services.
- BCAAFC's vision is to have a future in which Aboriginal people have a quality of life that enables them to be strong, proud, and healthy individuals and that leads to economic self-sufficiency and sustainability for Aboriginal families and communities.
- The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation's main objective is to produce long-term social, economic and cultural advantages for all British Columbians through reconciliation with the province's Aboriginal people.
- B.C.'s Aboriginal population is the youngest and fastest-growing demographic in the province.
To find out more about treaty and non-treaty agreements in B.C. and to read the MOU, please go to: http://www.gov.bc.ca/arr/treaty/key/default.html
To see a copy of the protocol agreement, please go to: http://www.newrelationship.gov.bc.ca/agreements_and_leg/other.html
To learn more about the BCAAFC, please go to: http://www.bcaafc.com/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 213-6451 (cell)
BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres