Métis Nation of Ontario Encouraged by Plans to Reform Aboriginal Child Welfare System
Demonstrates the Value of Constructive Engagement
On January 18, 2013, Laurel Broten, Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services announced the Government of Ontario’s intention to work with Aboriginal partners to develop a multi-year Children and Youth Strategy. Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski was encouraged by the announcement because of its commitment to engage Aboriginal communities and the inclusion of the Métis in developing the strategy.
“When the government first released its report on Aboriginal Child and Youth Services it missed the Métis component entirely,” explained President Lipinski, “however, to their credit, when brought to their attention, in a report on Métis Child and Youth Services commissioned by the MNO the government incorporated the Métis analysis as part of the deliberations that led to today’s announcement.”
The MNO considers Minister Broten’s commitment to increase the control Aboriginal communities have in designing and delivering children and youth services, and her recognition that priorities differ among Métis, First Nations and Inuit communities and delivering culturally based services, to be very important.“ There are 73,000 self-identifying Métis in Ontario, which constitutes one third of the Aboriginal population in Ontario,” stated President Lipinski, “so clearly we are a community whose voice needs to be heard on these issues.”
President Lipinski added: “We feel the announcement today demonstrates the value of constructive engagement with the Ontario government. In 2008, the MNO and Ontario signed a Framework Agreement that outlined the basis for cooperation in a whole range of economic, social and cultural areas. Since then the MNO and Ontario have cooperated in many useful ventures and we believe that the development of an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy will be another example of the kind of success that can be achieved by working together.”
“It is crucial for our future as a people,” concluded President Lipinski, “that we create institutions and provide services that allow Métis youth and children to be all they can be. We look forward to working with the Aboriginal Strategy Unit to put in place measures that will open up every opportunity for our young people.”
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