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Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax to receive $28.8 M in new federal investment to support expansion

Press Release

From: Indigenous Services Canada

October 27, 2022

Indigenous Peoples living in, or moving to urban centres are one of the fastest growing populations in Canada. To meet their needs, Indigenous service organizations like Friendship Centres play a crucial role in ensuring First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have safe and accessible spaces and to high-quality culturally-relevant services.

The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre (MNFC) has been providing essential programs and services to Indigenous Peoples in downtown Halifax since 1972 and supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, families, children and seniors, in a holistic and culturally-appropriate way.

Currently, there are over 55 programs that are delivered by the Centre, ranging from early childhood education, training, employment, housing and homelessness, and justice to harm reduction of violence and supports for culture and languages. The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre’s current facility is facing significant limitations in serving a growing and diverse urban Indigenous clientele. To adequately meet the needs of the growing urban Indigenous population, the Centre has had to relocate three times since its opening.

Today, Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax on behalf of the Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, and Pam Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, announced $28.8 million to support the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre for the construction of a new building, allowing them to expand their services and operations.

This funding comes from the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund, and builds on a $4 million investment announced earlier this year through the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples (UPIP) funding stream. This funding will contribute to the construction of a new center to better serve and support over 7,000 Indigenous clients living in Halifax. It will help fill in critical infrastructures gaps and support economic, social and health outcomes.

Quotes

“I believe this support will initiate an unparalleled turning point in the progress Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are making toward Reconciliation. Ensuring that our ever-expanding population has the resources necessary to address the intergenerational and systemic barriers we encounter on a daily basis has necessitated a broad expansion of our operations which has been insufficiently accommodated by our infrastructure to date. The announcement today is an acknowledgement and a clear understanding that when we work together we can dramatically change the quality of life for Indigenous people.”

Pam Glode-Desrochers
Executive Director, Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

“The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship / Wije’winen Centre continues to be a place where our Indigenous sisters and brothers living in urban areas can find access to essential services, hope, understanding, and friendship. As the demands for their services grow, the need to expand their operations also becomes more apparent. We celebrate today’s funding announcement with all those who visit and work at this wonderful Centre.”

Chief Deborah Robinson
Acadia First Nation

“The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre has been a core resource for Indigenous peoples in Halifax for 50 years. Their vast offerings support Indigenous people with services in early childhood programs, training, employment, housing, justice, harm reduction, and culture and languages. And they have done all this with a building that has become much too small to fit in all that great work. With this $28.8 million investment from Indigenous Services Canada, the Friendship Centre will be able to build and expand their services in a brand new facility, meeting the needs of Indigenous peoples in Halifax for the next generation. This is reconciliation in action: ensuring that communities can work for everyone.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“Investing in culturally-relevant services for Indigenous Peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax is an important step on our road to reconciliation here in Nova Scotia. This investment will help the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre provide vital supports to its community members, and we will continue to work with local partners to identify more opportunities to build on initiatives like this one.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Today’s $28.8 million federal investment means the long time dream of building a new facility for the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre is finally coming true. The Friendship Centre is a place where urban Indigenous Peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax come together in celebration of their culture and history, and where they can receive culturally-relevant support when they need it. In an age of reconciliation, and through working in partnership, today’s federal investment represents a significant step forward in how we meet the needs of urban Indigenous peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax.”

Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • On May 19, 2022, $4 million was provided to the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre through the Major Infrastructure funding stream of the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples (UPIP) program, to contribute to the design and construction of a new facility.
  • The Government of Canada’s Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund’s urban component supports the infrastructure priorities identified by Indigenous partners and communities in urban centres. The Government of Canada and Indigenous communities are working in partnership to address critical infrastructure gaps and support economic, social and health outcomes.
  • The urban component of the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund provides $194.9 million over three years (2022-2023 to 2024-2025) to support investments in major and minor infrastructure projects for all urban and rural Indigenous service delivery organizations.
  • Infrastructure funding supports capital projects, including, but not limited to, essential health and safety, accessibility, and energy efficiency in order to ensure safe and accessible spaces for program and service delivery.
  • This investment supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to addressing the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people as outlined in the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. Investments like this help provide safe, no-barrier spaces for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people to access their culture and languages and to strengthen their cultural identity, no matter their location, including urban environments.

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Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
[email protected]

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
[email protected]

Media Relations Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
Corinne MacLellan
902-209-3234
[email protected]

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