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May 19, 2022 — Halifax Regional Municipality, Traditional Unceded Mi’kmaw Territory, Nova Scotia — Indigenous Services Canada
Indigenous Peoples living in, or transitioning to, urban centres are one of the fastest-growing populations in Canada.
The Government of Canada is committed to working with Indigenous partners to improve the quality of life of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and ensure that urban Indigenous Peoples have safe and accessible spaces to access the delivery of high-quality, culturally relevant services.
The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre has been providing essential programs and services to Indigenous Peoples in downtown Halifax since 1972. Currently, there are over 55 programs that are housed within the Centre, ranging from early childhood education, training, employment, housing and homelessness, and justice to harm reduction and supports for culture and language. To adequately serve the growing urban Indigenous population, the Centre has had to relocate three times since its opening. Its current facility is now facing significant limitations in serving a growing and diverse urban Indigenous clientele.
Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of Patty Hajdu, the Federal Minister of Indigenous Services; and the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced $4.91M in joint federal funding for the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.
This funding includes:
This investment highlights the Government of Canada’s commitment to responding to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice to restore and revitalize Indigenous cultures and languages. It also responds to priorities identified within the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan—Urban Path to Reclaiming Power and Place, Regardless of Residency regarding culture-based programs and supporting urban populations’ access to resources.
“We are so thankful for this first confirmed step in securing a safe and secure place for our urban Indigenous community. The Friendship Center has been on a 20-year journey, looking for a culturally safe space that will allow for the continued growth of our urban community. A place that is not only safe and secure but one that reflects our culture and language. One that instills pride in our community. One that reminds us of who we are. This funding will allow us to continue on our journey, and we look forward to having others come to the table to ensure this vision is fulfilled.”
Executive Director, Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre (Society)
“We must work to meet the needs of urban Indigenous Peoples through a safe and secure environment while maintaining health and safety standards. I strongly believe this funding will help Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre make a difference in the quality of life for Indigenous Peoples living in Halifax by ensuring they have access to an improved, safe, and accessible space that supports the delivery of high-quality, culturally relevant services.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
“The success of Indigenous organizations, businesses, and communities is an important part of growing our economy here in Atlantic Canada. The Every One Every Day initiative will help share cultural knowledge and create new economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
“The Mi’kmaw Native 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. Yet in recent years, the Friendship Centre has faced challenges in securing a physical space to meet the needs of the community. This $5-million federal investment is going to help the Friendship Centre design and build a new facility where it can continue to serve the thousands of urban Indigenous Peoples in Kjipuktuk-Halifax.”
Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and
Industry and Member of Parliament for Halifax
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Indigenous Services Canada
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