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Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) to receive Nearly $2M from Indigenous Services Canada for new facility and renovation

Press Release

From: Indigenous Services Canada

July 12, 2022 — Toronto, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Peoples living in, or transitioning to, urban centres are one of the fastest growing populations in Canada. Toronto alone is home to nearly 80,000 Indigenous Peoples. Ontario ranks 1st most populous in terms of Indigenous Peoples per province or territory across the country and 85.5% of Indigenous Peoples live in urban areas like Toronto.

Urban Indigenous service organizations play a crucial role in improving the quality of life of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and ensure that they have safe and accessible spaces to access the delivery of high-quality culturally-relevant services.

The Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) is one of the busiest urban Indigenous coalitions in Canada. As a not-for-profit research, policy, and advocacy organization, TASSC brings together 18 local Indigenous support services agencies to improve access to supports and services for Indigenous Peoples living in Canada’s largest city.

TASSC unfortunately lost its office and meeting space in 2020 during the pandemic, and this has resulted in challenges to their operations and support for front line service organizations who rely on them.

Today, the Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, announced approximately a $2M investment to support TASSC to purchase and renovate a new office space. This funding was administered through the urban component of the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund at Indigenous Services Canada.

It is envisioned that this Indigenous-owned and operated space will be shared by TASSC member agencies and the community members they serve in the Toronto area. TASSC’s new home will provide a safe, accessible, and culturally appropriate space that will used by TASSC personnel and its member organizations for operations, meetings, programs and services, gatherings, ceremony, events, and other activities.

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.

Today’s investment in TASSC highlights the Government of Canada’s commitment to addressing the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People and the root causes of violence by responding to the National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice. Investments such as this will help to ensure that all Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are provided with safe, no-barrier, and meaningful spaces to access their cultures and languages in order to restore, reclaim, and revitalize their cultures and identities. It also supports priorities identified within the Federal Pathway and the National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and respect the diversity of Indigenous Peoples in order to meet their unique needs, no matter where they live, including urban environments.

Quotes

“This is a pivotal moment for TASSC. This space offers a unique opportunity for the entire TASSC community to come together in a neighbourhood that already has a strong Indigenous presence. We are so pleased and proud to be able to honour our vision of cooperation, friendship and unity, in this very concrete way. We look forward to continuing to support each other, work together, and celebrate together, in our much needed new space, for the betterment of the people and communities we serve.”

Frances Sanderson
President, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC)

“TASSC was built on the traditional concepts of friendship and collaboration. It is a collectivist mindset that brings us together. This space will offer us the opportunity to continue to collaborate in the spirit of friendship and unity; grounded in our ways of knowing, seeing, being and doing, now and for generations to come.”

Lindsay Kretschmer
Executive Director, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC)

“As an umbrella organization to more than 18 partners, the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) ensures that the urban Indigenous community in Toronto has access to a wide range of supports, including legal services, employment and training resources, child and family service organizations and more. With $2M in new investments announced today from Indigenous Services Canada, TASSC can build and renovate a new home base, allowing them to do more, and reach more people. When Indigenous partners are in the driver’s seat, we see better results for everyone. This is reconciliation in action.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“TASSC deserves a permanent home to maintain and build upon its important work and our federal support will make that a reality, with a lasting impact for Indigenous people in our city.”

Nate Erskine-Smith
Member of Parliament for Beaches-East York

Quick facts

  • There are over 32 urban Indigenous coalitions across the country that work to support the needs of urban Indigenous People.
  • On an annual basis, TASSC’s member agencies serve over 11,500 clients and members, employ 400 staff and engage 400 volunteers, provide training experiences for 50 students and offer over 100 events for community gathering and celebration.
  • The procurement of this property further enhances TASSC’s visibility and community presence in the downtown Toronto core and physically positions TASSC near many of their member agencies in a quickly developing neighborhood, creating much needed additional program and services space.
  • 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.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Andrew MacKendrick
Director of Communications & Issues Management
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
[email protected]

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

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