The official spokespeople for the NAFC are Jocelyn Formsma (Executive Director), and Christopher Sheppard (Board President). All requests must be sent through the Communications Team. The NAFC’s Communications Team works to raise awareness and support regarding the Friendship Centre Movement, as well as broadening the understanding of the Urban Indigenous experience across Canada.
Contact the Communications Team!
- Annie Aningmiuq, Communications & Policy Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sara Kelly, Communications Officer - email@example.com
Our Areas of Expertise
- Friendship Centres and the Friendship Centre Movement
- Anything relating to Urban Indigeneity (issues, population, demographics, etc.)
- Our research, please see here.
Friendship Centre Stories
Here you’ll find stories and articles written in-house about Friendship Centres from across the country. If you have a story you’d like to tell, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Northern Manitoba community imposing curfew to curb spread of COVID-19 [CTV News]
- Youth Outreach Programs Expanding [Nova Scotia]
- Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay [Comox Valley Record]
- Winners selected in art contest in Hay River[Hay River Hub]
- Record de décès par surdose en Saskatchewan en 2020 [Radio-Canada]
- Le Centre d’amitié autochtone ajuste son offre de services [Le Citoyen]
- Halifax emergency shelter project one step closer to approval [The Signal]
- Kikinahk receives $30,000 donation from LLRIB Internal Council [La Ronge Now]
- Halifax council approves next steps for Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre’s rapid affordable housing project [Halifax Examiner]
- Thompson low-income seniors given a boost through hamper program [Winnipeg Sun]
- 21 Québécois qui feront 2021 [Le Devoir]
- Indigenous-led non-profits say they are better equipped to deliver cultural services than Siloam Mission[CBC]
- Family Wellness and Healing Project launching in Meadow Lake [Meadowlake NOW]
- Shelter in La Ronge faces shutdown over COVID-19 concerns [Saskatoon Star Phoenix]
- Joyce Echaquan et la redécouverte de la difficile réalité autochtone [L'Action]
- Saskatchewan quietly approved overdose prevention sites [Saskatoon Star Phoenix]
- Moose Hide campaign expands [CKPG Today]
- Ozone disinfection devices arrive at La Ronge’s Kikinahk Friendship Centre [paNOW]
- Rapport du Groupe d'action contre le racisme : Édith Cloutier réagit [Radio-Canada]
- Province Adds Beds for Homeless in Halifax [Nova Scotia Government]
- Friendship Centre launching mental health support program [My Grand Prairie Now]
- Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre executive director talks affordable housing [Global News]
- Prince George Friendship Centre to benefit from government support [MY PG NOW]
- Prince Albert Indian and Métis Friendship Centre looking to open men’s affordable housing [CTV News]
- Des panneaux pour valoriser la présence autochtone à Saguenay [le Quotidien]
- Des résidences étudiantes autochtones à Chibougamau? [La Sentinelle]
- Province provides more support for friendship centres as urban Indigenous peoples struggle during pandemic [Energetic City]
- Mobilisation et soutien pour la famille de Kristen [L'Écho de la Tuque]
- ‘Breastfeeding is a traditional food that should be protected’ [The Discourse]
- 18 millions $ pour l'hébergement des étudiants: une bonne nouvelle pour les Centres d'amitié autochtones de la région [le Nouvelliste]
- Comment «rouvrir des plaies» autour de l’affaire Joyce Echaquan [Le Devoir]
- Anwatan-Miguam : Projet de logements de transitions pour les Autochtones [Radio-Canada]
- Out in the cold: COVID-19 leaves Labrador homeless wandering[CBC]
- Sabrina Muise works with youth to preserve Mi'kmaq culture [The Chronicle Herald]
- Government Announces Membership of the National Housing Council [Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation]
- COVID-19 statistics don’t reflect the reality for Indigenous people living in Canadian cities [The Star]
- How Quebec's Minowé clinic is improving Indigenous access to health care [CBC]
- Lanaudière Native Friendship Centre slated to relocate and expand [Global News]
- Un nouveau centre d'amitié autochtone dans Lanaudière [Radio-Canada]
- Un programme de formation d'éducatrices autochtones lancé au Lac-Saint-Jean [le Quotidien]
- Northern Lights recipient – Is kitsii gome, 7 Brothers Circle [Government of Alberta]
- Connaître l’horreur, éveiller les consciences [L'Écho de la Tuque]
- Indigenous-led clinic to help Quebec community still shaken by Joyce Echaquan’s death [Canadian Press]
- Mort de Joyce Echaquan: le Centre d’amitié autochtone de Trois-Rivières interpelle les médias sur l'échec du système public [L'Écho de Trois-Rivières]
- MMIWG monument planned for Prince Albert [CTV News]
- Traditional Salmon Dinner served to K'jipuktuk community on Treaty Day [Global News]
- Margaret Jerome acclaimed as president of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre [Hay River Hub]
- Friendship Centre launches canoe to mark Orange Shirt Day [The Interior News]
- Plans modified for this year's Orange Shirt Day [Timmins Daily Press]
- Men's homeless shelter opens in Bonnyville [Lakeland Today]
- L’exposition Réconcili’Art inaugurée [Le Nouvelliste]
- The Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre to deliver 28-day addictions program in Rankin Inlet [Kivalliq News]
- Aboriginal friendship centre to raise totem pole for missing and murdered indigenous women [Nanaimo News]
- Atikokan Native Friendship Centre hopes new transition home for youth will change futures [CBC]
- Victoria Foundation announces recepients of $280k in grants [CTV News]
- New workshop focuses on inspiring Indigenous musicians during pandemic [CBC]
- Local organizations receive support for community projects developed amid COVID-19 [LaRonge Now]
- Friendship Centre Offering COVID-19 Supports [895 The Lake]
- Friendship Centres Association helps separate the science from the myths of COVID [Windspeaker]
- Online campaign hopes a little laughter dispels myths about COVID-19 [APTN]
- Urban Indigenous organizations need more COVID-19 funding says NAFC [Future of Good]
- 'Disrespectful': Urban Indigenous population feels short-changed by federal COVID-19 response [CBC]
- Grassroots organizations in Calgary come together to help most vulnerable [APTN]
- Indigenous friendship centres hit hard by skyrocketing requests for help, advocate says [CBC]
- Urban Indigenous left behind by Ottawa's COVID-19 response: friendship centres [Canadian Press]
- Editorial: a friend in need (Friendship Centres) [NNSL]
- Indigenous leaders say coronavirus crisis help is coming up short [Radio Canada International]
- Friendship Centre funding during the pandemic [NNSL]
- Volunteers aiming to make 30,000 cloth masks for Labrador [Chronicle Herald]
- Question in House of Commons regarding increasing funding to Friendship Centres [YouTube]
- Mark Miller responds: "they do amazing work with limited funds, critical for the most vulnerable, Indigenous communities, in urban settings. These supports are incredibly needed right now. We have received a submission from the NAFC, we know they do so much with so little, and we know that needs to be supported on a constant basis."
- NWT friendship centres soldier through crisis with lost funding [NNSL]
- Sunday Scrum: Convening Parliament during the COVID-19 pandemic [CBC]
- Tanya Talaga mentions work of Friendship Centres during Sunday Scrum
- Victoria Native Friendship Centre working flat out to support the community [CBC Radio]
- Friendship Centres struggling during pandemic [Brandon Sun]
- Offering essential services during COVID-19 keeps Cariboo Friendship Society busy [Williams Lake Tribune]
- Friendship centre finds new ways of supporting community despite lack of money from feds [APTN]
- Supporting Mental Health Ooknakane Friendship Centre Offering Youth Programming [Castanet]
- [Urban breakdown] Indigenous Winnipeggers deserve more funding Chiefs say [Winnipeg Free Press]
- The helpers: Saskatoon unites to feed urban Indigenous families [Saskatoon Star Phoenix]
- Impact of COVID-19 on urban FNs [AFN Podcast]
- [Start of funding with Urban] First Nations communities see increase in COVID-19 cases, minister says [Global News]
- Funding food hamper efforts [Brandon Sun]
- COVID-19 outbreaks in 23 First Nations prompting concerns [Canadian Press]
Do you have a program or story you would like to share on how your Friendship Centre is supporting your community during COVID-19? Please contact us!
Last updated: January 22, 2021
Friendship Centres provide essential support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic
As Canadians have shuttered into their homes during these last few months to ride out the waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) would like to acknowledge their member Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations who have gone above and beyond to support their Indigenous communities.
Understanding the financial hardships felt by many Canadians these past few months, our Friendship Centres have been working around the clock to create food and cleaning supply hampers.
The Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre purchased supplies for 278 weekly grocery hampers and cleaning/sanitizing packages for their membership families and elders. They are extremely proud to announce that their hampers have reached 536 individuals. (see Figure 1)
Despite our necessity to stay physically distanced from one another, many Friendship Centres have expanded their services–or created new positions entirely–so that they can be offered remotely.
The Rocky Native Friendship Centre Society created two new online support worker positions aimed at providing training for community members on how to access different technology platforms such as Zoom. For many Friendship Centres, video calls have become the new norm for connecting with clients. (see Figure 2)
Social media platforms have also become vital tools that have allowed Friendship Centres to stay connected with their community during the pandemic. Laurianne Petiquay, executive director of the Centre d'amitié autochtone La Tuque, says that they “have made more use of their social networks these past few months and have been able to reach many new members!”
However, as great as virtual connections can be, the reality is that not all community members have access to systems that allow them to connect technology.
“An important first step for connecting virtually with our community,” said Jannah Kohlman, executive director of the Nawican Friendship Centre, “was to identify clients who do not have access to these means.”
“Through federal funding, we were able to purchase technology–phone, laptops, tablets–for those in dire need of support during isolation to prevent relapsing and encourage social interaction through these other means,” continued Kohlman.
Despite the success found in these virtual connections, the temporary shutdown of transportation services offered by many Friendship Centres, has been very difficult for our elders as it has resulted in both physical and social isolation.
“Some of our elders utilize these services regularly so that they can stay connected with family, attend work opportunities and medical appointments,” said Anna Zanella, executive director of the Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert.
Thankfully, this shutdown did not last too long and the Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert were thrilled when they were finally able to re-open their transportation services along the Highway 16 Corridor to their elders.
“It has been our great pleasure to meet with our elders, who remain upbeat and continue to take everything in stride,” continues Zanella. “They are truly an inspiration!”
This pandemic has highlighted the importance of our Friendship Centres in providing programs that not only assist members physical, but their mental well-being as well.
The Port Alberni Friendship Centre have initiated a new program called, Switchback, which consists of teachings around self-awareness, dealing with internal and external conflict, identifying and coming to terms with past trauma, and recognizing triggers and what to do with those feelings.
“We felt that students really needed to learn coping and self-esteem strategies,” said Cyndi Stevens, executive director of the Port Alberni Friendship Centre. “This program teaches so much–life skills, increases their confidence and self-esteem, and more importantly, it reconnects the youth,” continued Stevens.
Another key component of the program includes inviting elders to connect with the group virtually in order to provide the younger generation with wisdom, encouragement, and love.
And although many Friendship Centres were forced to temporarily close, not a minute was wasted as a few Friendship Centres, such as the Wachiay Friendship Centre, used this time to complete renovations that will better serve their community.
At the Wachiay Studio Inc.–an enterprise that promotes Indigenous art and culture by providing affordable printing services to Aboriginal artists, “we have completely removed the offices, which will allow more room for our new presses and dryer,” said Michael Colclough, executive director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society.
And we cannot forget about having a little fun! Friendship Centres have enjoyed organizing many different crafting activities for their community members over these last few months. The Rocky Native Friendship Centre Society have delivered several different crafting kits to community members in varying themes such as, beading, tobacco or mint planting, birdhouses, and more! The Nawican Friendship Centre organized a Covid-19 mask decorating concert for their youth! (see Figure 3)
Many Friendship Centres have also used this time to develop creative outdoor programming activities. At a time where our stress levels are at an all-time high, connecting back with Mother Earth and the land can be extremely beneficial.
The Miywasin Friendship Centre had a lot of fun organizing physically distanced programming, which have allowed community members to gather in small numbers for activities such as medicine picking and an Indigenous history scavenger hunt across Medicine Hat! (see Figure 4)
However, despite the success that many Friendship Centres have been able to achieve during these last few months, the stark reality remains that Covid-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future and many are worried about what the next few months will bring.
Immediate concerns felt by my many Friendship Centres are regarding the ongoing physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of their community members and staff–many who have been working overtime these past few months.
At a time like this, volunteers are more important than ever! Wondering how you can help? Touch base with your local Friendship Centre to see how you can be of assistance! We are all in this together!
Urban Indigenous Forum: Addressing systemic racism in healthcare
On November 6, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) hosted an online forum on systemic racism in healthcare. Our goal with this forum was to honour urban Indigenous experiences in accessing our right to healthcare as well as the experiences of those who transport between on-reserve and northern communities to urban settings.
We are currently experiencing technical difficulties in posting the video of the forum, however, you can listen to the audio here.
This forum was a crucial first-step in highlighting the important work that needs to be done in order to ensure Indigenous people can access their right to healthcare with dignity and respect, however, our work does not end here. It is our view that an Indigenous, community-informed process is essential in our path forward as we work to create and provide a report to provincial and federal governments regarding our recommendations.
- the action that is currently happening on the ground in our communities
- the role of urban Indigenous service providers in healthcare
- explore Indigenous-led healthcare systems in place
- Senator Yvonne Boyer – Senator, Senate of Canada; former Associate Director for the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa; former Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health and Wellness at Brandon University
- Jennifer Brazeau – Executive Director, Centre d'amitié autochtone de Lanaudiére
- Édith Cloutier – Executive Director, Centre d'amitié autochtone de Val d'or
- Dr. Alika Lafontaine – Physician, Alberta Health Services; Associate Clinical Professor, Lecturer, University of Alberta
- Dr. Janet Smylie – Director of Well Living House, Research Scientist at St. Michael's Hospital, Physician, Professor at University of Toronto
- Moderated by Jocelyn Formsma – Executive Director, The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC)
NAFC announces the recipients of Round 1 of the Investment Readiness Program
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased to announce the following Round 1 Investment Readiness Program recipients:
- Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association, Alberta
- Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, Smithers, British Columbia
- First Light St. John's Friendship Centre, St. John’s, Newfoundland
- Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Association, Lac La Biche, Alberta
- Lillooet Friendship Centre Society, Lillooet, British Columbia
- Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre, Thompson, Manitoba
- Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec, Quebec
- Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria, British Columbia
- Wachiay Friendship Centre Society, Courtenay, British Columbia
The NAFC is one of five Readiness Support Partners working to distribute funding to increase investment readiness with social purpose organizations (SPOs).
“The Investment Readiness Program gives the NAFC an opportunity to support Friendship Centres in developing and growing their social enterprises,” says Jocelyn Formsma, NAFC executive director. “We hope to not only achieve investment readiness, but also to help Friendship Centres build capacity, which in turn helps them to build community wealth while addressing community needs.”
“By providing capital in the form of non-repayable grants, we are ensuring that Friendship Centres do not have to take on the burden of debt while starting, growing or scaling their revenue generating enterprises,” continues Formsma.
“We greatly appreciate the opportunity given by the National Association of Friendship Centres to explore and develop a long term sustainable plan for our Centre for the benefit of all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” said Donna Webster, executive director of Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Association.
For many Friendship Centres, this funding could not have come at a better time given the financial strain many have felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are at the explore stage of our vision to create a social enterprise focused on fair-trade and authentic Indigenous arts and crafts,” explains Stewart Anderson, strategic advisor for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. “The funding through the Investment Readiness Program will allow us to look at potential projects during these uncertain times, without having to risk our own financial resources, which we can fully allocate to community needs.”
For the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, the funding will be used to create a business model for a commercial community kitchen at their hall and the creation of an Indigenous Culinary Arts Program and associated catering business.
The funding we were awarded will “ensure that we have sustainable access to food in times of crisis, and it will ensure that we can both provide access to food in our community while generating collective wealth,” stated Annette Morgan, executive director of Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society.
For others, this funding will be used to benefit Indigenous artists and “create incredible positive changes within our community,” said Michael Colclough, executive director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society.
The Wachiay Friendship Centre Society will use their funding to upgrade the equipment at the Wachiay Studio Inc. – an enterprise that promotes Indigenous art and culture by providing affordable printing services to Aboriginal artists.
“Our new screen-printing equipment will more than triple our current daily capacity to print textile merchandise and limited-edition art,” continued Colclough.
A few of the other projects that will be initiated with this funding include: a Boutique Inn, online stores for selling Indigenous crafts, and business plans for various social enterprise projects.
Recipients of Round 2 of the IRP will be announced shortly. To learn more about the IRP and to read a summary of all the prospective projects,, please visit the Investment Readiness Program page on the NAFC website.
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FOR IRP INQUIRIES:
Special Projects Advisor
The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.
The NAFC hires new Partnerships Manager
October 19, 2020
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased toannounce the hiring of its new Partnerships Manager, Francyne Joe. A member of the Nlaka'pamux Nation, Francyne heads the new Partnerships Department which will include responsibilities for external partner relations, member relations, youth leadership training, and capacity development. Her first-hand knowledgeand experien ce on national Indigenous matters such as MMIWG, human rights, housing, education, justice, and economic determination have made her a fierce advocate for Indigenous people in Canada. She has presented on these issues across Canada, at the United Nations, Organization of American States, in Mexico, Morocco and Peru.
"NAFC is excited to welcome Francyne Joe to our growing and inspiring team!" said Jocelyn Formsma,
NAFC executive director. "She has a solid reputation for Indigenous advocacy, and weare so pleased that she is joining us at a time when the possibilities are limitless"
Ms. Joe's role will be to determine and further develop potential partnership opportunities for promoting community-driven research, supporting friendship centre services, and collaborating on initiatives to support NAFC's mission, values, and strategic direction. With her extensive work history, government experience, and network, her goal is to increase NAFC's profile andadvance the numerous friendship centers that provide critical supports for urban Indigenous people across Canada.
"I am pleased to join the NAFC team and look forward to working alongside the local friendship centers (FCs) who provided essential services and programs to more than 1.4 million urban Indigenous people, families and youth last year. When I was a young mother, the friendship centre not only afforded my family with cultural programs and day-camps, it was a safe place to socialize and be yourself. And especially during this COVID-period, we need to recognize the significant supports FCs provide our urban Indigenous communities".
Friendship Centres cautiously hopeful by the government’s recommitment to Indigenous issues
On September 23, 2020, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne to open the second session of the 43rd Parliament. This year’s throne speech held considerable weight due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted Indigenous people.
“We are feeling cautiously hopeful”, said Jocelyn Formsma, executive director of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). “While the NAFC is encouraged by the government’s recommitment to Indigenous issues, we are concerned that a focus on a distinctions-based approach will leave urban Indigenous people and organizations as an afterthought.”
The Government of Canada’s current distinctions-based approach to Indigenous engagement and funding focuses on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, without specifically accounting for those who are in urban or rural areas.
“We would be reassured to know that the Government of Canada is including urban Indigenous people in its distinctions-based approach,” said NAFC president Christopher Sheppard, “However, our experience thus far is that a distinctions-based approach often leaves urban Indigenous people, organizations, and unique communities behind.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Friendship Centres have been on the frontlines providing essential community-driven supports and filling gaps. Urban Indigenous community members rely on Friendship Centres now, more than ever, for trusted information-sharing and a variety of wrap-around supports.
“The NAFC is willing to roll up their sleeves in whatever way we can to assist our urban Indigenous community members in getting through this next year, but we need to be properly resourced by the Government to do so,” said Formsma.
“The vast majority of Indigenous people are currently living in urban, rural, remote and northern communities–off-reserve, outside of Inuit Nunangat, and off Métis settlements,” continued Sheppard. “Because of that, it is crucial that organizations–such as the NAFC, that serve the urban Indigenous population everyday, are included in the roll-out of the Government’s commitments in the years ahead.”
Some of the commitments to Indigenous Peoples mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, include: moving forward with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; addressing systemic racism; police and criminal justice reform; and, continuing the development of distinctions-based health models. To read the full Speech from the Throne, refer to the Government of Canada’s website.
For media inquiries:
Sara Kelly, Communications Officer
The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.
MMIWG Inquiry: Summary of Findings for Urban Indigenous Peoples
The National Association of Friendship Centres is pleased to release their report entitled, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls Inquiry: Summary of Findings for Urban Indigenous Peoples [PDF 205 KB]. This paper summarizes the 231 Calls to Justice as they apply to the work of the Friendship Centre movement.
The application period for Round 2 of the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) is now open! Find a guide on the application process, and information on eligibility here. If you have any questions that can't be answered by the information provided, please contact Shady Hafez, NAFC IRP coordinator.
Apply to the Investment Readiness Program by completing the following application. And submitting via e-mail to our IRP coordinator Shady Hafez by August 17th, 2020.
If you are eligible (check requirements here), you are invited to join us for a webinar. The webinar will be hosted on August 5th at 1:00 p.m. EST and is an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the program.
- You can access the webinar through this link: https://zoom.us/j/6915079326
- Dial by location, find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/acyHd1ICDJ
- Meeting ID: 691 507 9326
The NAFC is one of five Readiness Support Partners mandated by the Government of Canada to deliver funding for the IRP. The IRP, through the five funding partners, will distribute $50 million to social purpose organizations (charities, non-profits, social enterprises, for-profits with a social purpose and co-operatives) to help build their capacity to participate in Canada’s growing social finance market. The IRP is also designed to help social purpose organizations (SPOs) prepare for the Government of Canada’s broader investment in social finance via the Social Finance Fund, a historic new $755 million commitment which was announced in November 2018 and is expected to be launched in 2020.
As a Readiness Support Partner, the NAFC is administering $1.12 million in funding from the Government of Canada that will be made available as non-repayable capital to FCs and PTAs.
NAFC is working closely with the other four national organizations delivering the Government of Canada’s IRP funding. FCs and PTAs may also eligible to receive support from the other funding partners. To learn more about other Readiness Support Partners’ funding programs, criteria, and application periods, please visit their websites:
COVID-19: NAFC Updates
April 3, 2020
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTA) across the country have been on the front lines, doing the best we can, with limited resources to support urban Indigenous communities. With the health, safety and wellbeing of our community members and Movement top of mind we think it’s important to be clear about the recent federal government supports announced.
As many of you know, the federal government announced a $305 million Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICF), $15 million of which would be made available to urban organizations through an upcoming call for proposals. There is no guarantee of funding, and no amount has been set aside specifically for Friendship Centres.
Friendship Centres do not yet have COVID-19 response funds. A proposal is currently being developed by the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) for member Friendship Centres and PTAs.
If funds are secured, the NAFC will distribute directly (we are uncertain exactly when funds will flow out) to Friendship Centres to provide COVID-19 response and community supports as needed and identified by the local urban Indigenous community levels. While some Friendship Centres may opt to provide gift cards to community members, it is not expected that these funds will be distributed directly to individuals.
March 16, 2020
Since the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) has been doing our best to navigate the response and support our network of over 107 member Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations across the country. We are paying close attention to the daily updates provided from public health and are abiding by all of their recommendations.
With the safety of our community members and Movement in mind; our priority is to support Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in whatever they need and in whatever decisions they make and we are in constant conversation with them during this time.
In recent days we have provided Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) with a heads up about the challenges Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations may have in meeting deliverables due to the virus response. We have requested that any information they send out to Indigenous organizations, also be provided to us so we can keep the Friendship Centre Movement informed. We have also requested that the federal government ensure Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations have access to the $1-billion fund announced to combat the coronavirus.
We will be following up with different federal departments in the coming days to ensure we are kept top of mind when it comes to providing information and resources so that we are able to assist local Friendship Centres in keeping the urban Indigenous communities informed, safe, and help curb the spread of the virus as much as possible.
At the national office, we have offered work from home options, canceled all upcoming travel, and have taken extra measures to ensure disinfecting. We know that these are not always possible with frontline work, but we want the Friendship Centre Movement to know that even if we may not all be at the office, we are still available.
If you wish to get in contact with us, please reach out via e-mail. You can find our staff directory here.
COVID-19 New Ways of Running Friendship Centre Programming
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Friendship Centres have proven their commitment to their community members in finding new ways to reach them through social media and technology! Here are a few examples of what we've seen over the past several weeks;
- British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centre: Helping to encourage people to connect online during physical distancing. Providing resource lists/highlighting the impact this will have on Indigenous communities.
- Mission Friendship Centre Society: Wellness Kitchen Live, every Wednesday at 2 p.m. PST (week 1: handwashing and bannock making). Women’s group workshop: making hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes on Facebook live.
- Dze L K'ant Friendship Centre Society: Providing printable signs for seniors and high-risk individuals that do not have the means of communication. Looking at collecting information re: emergency services for off reserve members. An update on their HIV treatment and prevention programming.
- Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association: Sharing advice for teens, and general social media shareables for COVID-19 like posters.
- Athabasca Native Friendship Centre: Providing online resources for arts and crafts, continuing pow wow club online.
- Canadian Native Friendship Centre: youth engagement through contests on social media. General engagement from survey, sharing heartfelt videos and workout videos.
- Hinton Friendship Centre: Providing food bank services for the vulnerable by social media or by phone.
- Riverton & District Friendship Centre: Providing shopping services through call orders for those unable/supporting local food banks.
- The Pas Friendship Centre: Lunch bag donation and delivery.
- The Portage Friendship Centre: providing care packages to their community while also looking for donations.
- Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec: Support and information. Sending out a massive thank you to Friendship Centre employees and volunteers.
- Centre d'amitié autochtone de Val-d’Or: Moving the services of Chez Willy, a place of respite for the homeless, to the Hall Hécla Quebec de la Place Eagle Place. Daily updates provided re: the work they’re doing and essential services to their community (day five update)
- Native Montreal: Craft Circle, embroidery and beading through Facebook Live.
- Centre d'amitié autochtone du Lac-Saint-Jean: providing herbal medicine kits to their community.
- Centre d'amitié autochtone de Maniwaki: Online challenges/contest every few days on Facebook.
- Centre d'amitié autochtone du Saguenay: Maintaining essential services.
- Centre d'amitié autochtone de Sept-Iles: Video conference training for their entire team.
- Centre d'amitié autochtone du Lac-Saint-Jean: Delivering activity kits to their community members.
- Barrie Native Friendship Centre: Staff rotate providing updates from their homes.
- Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre: Started a daily engagement challenge on social media. Drumming in Mi'Kmaqi.
- People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Center: Creating virtual spaces for their community to connect.
- First Light St. John’s Friendship Centre: Providing virtual and teleconference call for community and cultural programs. Many activities via Facebook Live; concerts, Mother Goose sessions, men’s drumming, Inuit programming (see all virtual programming for the week)
Do you have a program or story you would like to share on how your Friendship Centre is supporting your community during COVID-19? Please send us an e-mail!
COVID-19: NAFC Resource List
(Google Doc. updated regularly)
Since the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) has been doing our best to navigate the response and support our network of over 107-member Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations across the country. We are paying close attention to the daily updates provided from public health and are abiding by all of their recommendations.
With the safety of our community members and Movement in mind; our priority is to support Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in whatever they need and in whatever decisions they make. Please note that this information should not be taken as advice.
We have been working hard behind the scenes to develop a resource list which you may find beneficial as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any questions, or require additional support, please contact us:
- For Friendship Centre specific information: email@example.com
- For resources that should be added to this resource: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For communications requests: email@example.com
General resources for Friendship Centers
During this time, we advise Friendship Centres to:
- Contact their funders to confirm flexibility on use of funds, reporting, and completing deliverables.
- Track your expenses that are a response to the pandemic.
- Follow their provincial and local public health authorities for the most updated and relevant information for your community.
Public Health Canada has dedicated a webpage towards Community-based measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada. This provides a more in-depth explanation on COVID-19 and includes conversation on social distancing at a community-level, community-based measures and COVID-19, and how we should move forward with this outbreak.
Here are a few resources that can assist with how to proceed amidst the COVID-19 outbreak at a local Friendship Centre level.
- Community Foundation of Canada - Dealing with COVID-19 as a Community Foundation
- Ontario Non-profit Network: Non-profit on the frontline of COVID-19
- Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis
- Managing through and building resilience during the outbreak
- Sponsorship During Times of Crisis: Cancelled Events, Postponing and Refunds
- Hosting, Postponing, or Cancelling Mass Gatherings
- What Non-profit Board Members Should be Doing Right Now to Address the COVID-19 Situation
- Pandemic Law Canada
- COVID-19 Response Framework for People Experiencing Homelessness
Federal Supports and Funding related to COVID-19
April 29, 2020 Update:
- Separate Temporary Wage Subsidy (10%) and Emergency Wage Subsidy (75%) programs
- Commercial rent relief announcement, emergency business account update
Indigenous Community Support Fund
- Will flow directly to communities (First Nation, Inuit, and Metis, as well as regional, urban, and off-reserve Indigenous organizations) $15 million is set aside for “regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members living away from their communities, and to regional organizations such as Friendship Centres and the Metis Settlements General Council of Alberta”.
- These funds could be used for measures including, but not limited to:
o support for Elders and vulnerable community members
o measures to address food insecurity
o educational and other support for children
o mental health assistance and emergency response services
o preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19
More information can be found here.
The fund is not accepting new applications at this time. NAFC received $3.75 million dollars from the fund to disperse to local friendship centres.
Shelters + Homelessness
Shelters are not mentioned in Bill C-13, however, the following measures have been announced:
- Up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities
- The Government is “continuing to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative” – this is existing funding, not new funding
More information about Reaching Home can be found here
Support for Employers, Small Businesses, Non-Profits
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program will cover up to 75% of employee wages and is open to big and small businesses, non-profits, and charities. Additional info:
o The subsidy will cover annual earnings up to $58,700; the maximum subsidy for each employee would be $847 a week.
o The program is retroactive to March 15.
- The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Non-profits and registered charities are eligible for this.
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA):
o The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
o The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.
o Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
- The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
o To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
o Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.
- Extending the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 75 weeks. This program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
- Temporary wage top-up for low-income essential workers: This is being provided by the provinces/territories and supplemented by the Federal Government. No additional information is available at this time.
More information and applications for the CEWS can be found here.
For more information about the temporary wage subsidy, click here.
Find more information about the rent relief program here.
More information about the emergency business account can be found here.
More information about the work-sharing program can be found here
- Canada will be investing an additional $100 million into organizations that address food security. $30 million is set aside for “local-level organizations who serve people experiencing food insecurity”
- Funding will be delivered through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund.
No applications open yet; more information available here
- Not mentioned in the Act, no specific supports announced to date
- Elder care is listed as a possible expense in the Indigenous Community Support Fund (see above)
- Otherwise, “senior support” is limited to reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds by 25% for 2020
No additional information available at this time
Youth, including youth in care
- Educational and other support for children is listed as a possible expense for the Indigenous Community Support Fund (see above)
- The government is funding Kids Help Phone for an additional $7.5 million
- See also “Non-Governmental Supports” below
- Otherwise, the only other measure specifically related to “youth” is a six-month moratorium on student loan payments, effective March 30 (no application is required, the deferral is automatic)
Learn more about the moratorium here
Employment Insurance (EI)
- Canada will no longer require a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
- The Act introduces the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a new form of income support outside of the EI regime. Workers do not need to meet the EI insurable hours eligibility rules to qualify for it.
Apply for EI sickness benefits online here
Applications open for the CERB in early April. More information can be found online here
Other Federal Payments / Initiatives
- A one-time additional payment under the GST/HST tax credit, which is automatic if you are already receiving the benefit;
- Temporary additional amounts under the Canada Child Benefit, which are automatic if you are already receiving the benefit;
- The federal government has also moved the filing date for income tax to June 2019
Apply for the Canada Child Benefit here
- The Children’s Aid Foundation announced a COVID-19 youth support fund for “youth aging out of the temporary or permanent care of a Canadian child welfare agency”, and have been overwhelmed with applications. As of April 6, applications are on hold, but you can sign up for notifications for when they open again.
More information is available here
Additional Resources / Information:
Indigenous Community Support Fund - https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1585189335380/1585189357198
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Benefits and services: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
Support for Businesses: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-businesses.html
What you need to know about the new COVID-19 benefits program: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-income-supports-covid19-1.5509247
Bill C-13 (An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19): https://www.parl.ca/Content/Bills/431/Government/C-13/C-13_3/C-13_3.PDF
Canada’s Response to COVID-19
A list of resources that outlines the immediate actions that the Government is taking to help and support Canadians facing hardship as a result of this outbreak:
- Government of Canada Takes Action on COVID-19
- Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
- Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- News Releases
- News releases from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
- Structural Profile of Public Health in Canada
COVID-19 Reopening Resources
A list of resources that outlines the plans and guidelines that provinces have set as they slowly lift restrictions and businesses begin to re-open.
Prince Edward Island
- The IncludeMe Canada Social Movement has created a disability-related resource page that can better aid folks with different abilities.
- The World Blind Union has created a resource page that consists of external resources that can better assist folks that may be visually impaired.
- The webpage has audio on handwashing advice.
- The Rick Hansen Foundation has compiled a list of in-house resources and external resources relating to COVID-19. Their resources vary from sharing the best times to go shopping, lessons on accessibility and inclusion, and financial assistance.
- The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) has compiled a list of disability-related resources that respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Disability Rights Fund has created a webpage dedicated to disability-inclusive responses to COVID-19 at an international scale.
- The University of Rochester Medical Centre has created a resource page to better assist folks that may be deaf or hard of hearing. There is information that can help you get ready for a hospital visit, how to communicate with hospital staff during COVID-19. The page also consists of a link to a playlist of COVID-19 videos in ASL that the CDC uploaded.
Use of Masks
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has created an informative webpage regarding the use of masks. This webpage also includes a number of useful infographics that can easily be downloaded and shared.
- Public Health Canada has released information on the use of non-medical masks and face coverings.
- This webpage included information on how to put the non-medical masks on, what is deemed as appropriate masks, who should be wearing masks, and also how to make your own mask at home.
- The John Hopkins Education and Research Centre for Occupational Safety and Health has provided an in-depth take on the use of masks and answers FAQ on the use of masks.
- The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared information on the use of cloth face coverings and methods on creating home-made cloth coverings (sew and no sew)
- The CDC has also provided printer friendly versions of the webpage: Use of Cloth Face Covering to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
- The Huffington Post has published an entry on how to wash homemade cloth face masks. This entry includes advice from Health Canada and the CDC and attempts to answer FAQs on the maintenance of cloth masks.
COVID-19 Assessment Centres
- The NAFC has compiled a google document with information on COVID-19 testing sites based on provinces. There is information regarding the locations of these testing sites, how appointments are being made, and when you can collect your test result.
- The Government of Canada created a document outlining what is coronavirus, the symptoms and treatment, how to be prepared, prevention and risk, and Canada's response to this virus.
- There is also an updated list on the areas in Canada with COVID-19 cases.
- There are is also a number of printable resources and downloads that can be easily shared with community members.
- About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Vulnerable Population and COVID-19
- Be Prepared (COVID-19)
- How to Care for a Person with COVID-19 at Home: Advice for Caregivers
- Reduce the Spread of COVID-19: Wash Your Hands
- Cleaning and Disinfecting for Public Settings
- There is also information on the different forms of Hand Hygiene.
- Be sure to check out the following infographics:
- If you are seeking for further information, there is a COVID-19 Virtual Assistant that can help narrow down your search and direct you to the appropriate page to better answer your questions.
- Indigenous Services Canada has provided a number of information and resources pertaining to COVID-19 and Indigenous communities, this also consists of a video from Indigenous Services Canada and their updates on this outbreak.
- Public service announcements regarding COVID-19 have also been provided in various Indigenous languages.
- The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) has shared a list of resources, including the Important Steps for Communities.
- Here is a flowchart to assist when attempting to get further guidance on getting checked over the phone, in person, and what to do if you are showing symptoms.
- This is an active document that consists of international updates and resources on COVID-19 that was compiled by Public Health Ontario.
- The Urban Indian Health Institute has a downloaded resource with people living with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Diabetes Voice has provided information to better assist individuals that are diabetic during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has shared a list of myth busters in relation to COVID-19.
- The Conversation has shared a piece on the most frequently asked questions on COVID-19.
- With the increased spread of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global and Mail has released an opinion piece on the dangers of misinformation.
- CBC News has released an article debunking myths and remedies surrounding COVID-19.
- Provides information on ensuring a safe and clean environment for drug use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Online Intergroup Alcoholics Anonymous group offers a directory of AA Canada meetings in various mediums such as Zoom Meeting, one tap mobile, and one can dial by their location.
- There are resources available for folks’ part of the LBGTQ+ community, folks that are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, loners/internationalists, and atheist/agonistic.
- Ending Violence Association of Canada has provided a directory of resources based on provinces for individuals that are experiencing domestic violence.
- The Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) will continue providing emotional support to women experiencing gender-based domestic violence.
- Shelter Safe will still be providing support to women and children that are fleeing from violence. Their crisis lines will also still be open to provide information on creating safety planning.
- Crisis Services Canada (CSC) has provided a list of local resources and support for individuals that may have suicidal thoughts, and has COVID-19 Resources.
- LGBT Youth Line has provided an online directory of support and resources that can respond to the needs of individuals within the LGBTQ+ community.
- Good2Talk provides support for post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
- Hands The Family Help Network has a list of resources and tools that can help youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Kids Help Now will continue providing support and assistance to youth. (They have also provided additional resources based on one’s location.)
- Child Trends has compiled a list of resources and recommendations on how to better support a child’s emotional well-being.
Mental Health Related Resources
- The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared tips on how to cope with stress during the outbreak of the Coronavirus. There is information to help reduce stress for yourself and those around you, assistance for parents and children, and folks that have been released from quarantine. They have a webpage dedicated to Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event and ways in which we can take care of emotional health. To ensure the safety of individuals that mental health issues, there is information on reducing stigma.
- The Canadian Hearing Services has compiled a list of counsellors that can be connected virtually.
- The Alberta Health Services has provided breathing exercises and activities that can help manage stress.
- The Canadian Mental Health Association has put together some resources that can help with your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. This webpage also provides credible sources that can further assist with topics surrounding mental health.
- The CMHA has also include information regarding stigma and discrimination.
- The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has provided an array of resources and information on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, answers to FAQs, and methods to better assess your stress and anxiety levels, as well as tools to better deal with isolation and self-quarantine.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has provided a tip sheet on social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. This tip sheet explores the feeling and thoughts that you might have while and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation; as well as, providing information to help navigate those experience.
- Mental Health America (MHA) has shared information and resources for managing one’s anxiety, tools that can help stay connected (especially for individuals living with mental illness), and more information to help support youth members.
- Anxiety Canada has shared suggestion on how to best cope and manage the anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- The Children’s Mental Health Ontario has shared information on how to assist a child dealing with anxiety during this pandemic.
- The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child & Youth Mental Health has created a list of resources on how to better support youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also included printable resources and activities to better explain the current happenings.
- This active google document provides free and affordable mental health resources; as well as, a list of crisis hotlines, online therapy websites, and tools to ease one’s anxiety during these times.
Indigenous Specific Resources
Although there hasn’t been any information regarding the use of traditional medicine and COVID-19, we believe it is important to include Indigenous resources in this resources list and may be of value to you!
Indigenous Services Canada
- Protecting the health and safety of Indigenous Communities in close proximity to natural resource operations: Guidance for Indigenous communities https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1592487905243/1592487940872
First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses have access to all measures provided through the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and are encouraged to review it to see what financial supports might be available to them. Attached is a product that provides more information on benefits provided, such as the Funding for small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, Canada Emergency Business Account, Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses. We appreciate your support in sharing this information widely.
For more information on the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, visit: Canada.ca/economic-response-plan
- Guidance on Re-Opening Northern, Remote, Isolated, and Indigenous Communities
- Indigenous Climate Action has provided a number of amazing resources that are Indigenous focused to help stay informed and provide guidance during this outbreak.
- These resources touch on:
- Social Distancing
- Mental Health Support
- Traditional Medicines and Holistic Practices
- Entertainment for Teens and Adults
- Maintaining Community Connection
- Making a Clean Space
- Community Care
- The NDN Collective has shared information on traditional practices that can help manage stress and reinforce community care during COVID-19.
- The Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP. (OKT) has created a blog with general assistance to First Nations regarding pandemic planning, funding and potential legal issues.
- The Yellowhead Institute complied a document to summarize the conversations surrounding Indigenous communities and COVID-19.
- TVO has shared a video identifying the challenges that are specific to Indigenous communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clean & Disinfect
- The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has a helpful and updates resources on COVID-19. Provides an array of information on how to clean and disinfect, how to clean your environment if someone is sick, and information on environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
- The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) demonstrates best practices when ensuring a clean environment, washing your hands, and protecting yourself.
List of Resources and Information Based on Provinces
Prince Edward Island
Supporting Indigenous Cultures campaign
The NAFC took part in the national Supporting Indigenous Cultures campaign published by Mediaplanet. To read our article and also learn about the organizations, academic institutions, and partnerships working to support Indigenous peoples in reaching their highest potential and in building strong communities, follow the link.
We are excited to announce that we are partnering with Future of Good to publish pieces showcasing the people and innovation behind the Friendship Centre Movement.
- What can we learn from innovations happening in Friendship Centres across our Nation
- The Friendship Centre Movement, where women have always been at the forefront
- Urban Indigenous organizations need more Covid-19 funding, says National Association of Friendship Centres
- How Friendship Centres are preparing for a possible second Coronavirus wave
If you, your Friendship Centre or Provincial/Territorial Association has a story you'd like to share, please get in touch.
Our first piece is coming out this weekend, on International Women's Day.
Make sure you sign up for the special series newsletter!
From March 16-19, 2020, the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) and the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society (KAFS) are honoured to host Gathering our Voices 2020 on Secwépemc traditional territory.
Every year, Gathering Our Voices brings together up to 2,000 Indigenous youth delegates as well as chaperones, Elders, speakers, guests, entertainment, staff and volunteers. Young Indigenous people from across Canada are invited to join us to explore, to learn and to engage with culture among peers.
The BCAAFC and its members have long recognized the need for Indigenous youth to come together in a supportive and encouraging environment. Thus, Gathering Our Voices was established in order to raise our hands and honour Indigenous youth for their resilience, strength and leadership.
To learn more about Gathering Our Voices, please visit their website.
1$ million contribution from Mastercard Foundation to help Friendship Centres serve urban Indigenous community
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre (MNFC) would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of $1 million from the Mastercard Foundation to support Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTAs) across the country as they navigate the COVID-19 response.
“Friendship Centres have been on the front lines, doing the best they can, with limited resources to support urban Indigenous communities from the start of the pandemic and these funds will help them continue that work. We appreciate Mastercard Foundation’s recognition of our unique role in supporting the urban Indigenous community now, and are very grateful for their support,” says NAFC president Christopher Sheppard Buote.
The contribution is part of the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program announced earlier this month. The program aims to assist institutions and communities in Africa and within Indigenous communities in Canada to withstand and respond to the impacts of COVID-19, while strengthening their resilience.
“The financial support from the Mastercard Foundation will go a long way to ensure that we, at the MNFC, are meeting the needs of our community here in Halifax. We are happy to work in partnership with the NAFC to ensure this support reaches across the country,” says MNFC executive director Pam Glode Desrochers.
The Friendship Centre Movement employs over 3,600 people and serves over 1.7 million clients (Indigenous and non) annually. Friendship Centres provide essential services in urban areas (including health care, housing, justice and crisis support, daily meals, cultural programming, etc.) and during this pandemic, are picking up the slack as other local services close their doors; meaning their communities rely on them for consistent public health updates and support during this pandemic.
"There is no blueprint for navigating this crisis. However, the actions we take now will shape the post-COVID-19 world. This crisis is teaching us how interdependent we are as well as how powerful collective action can be,” says Reeta Roy, President and CEO, Mastercard Foundation.
Funding the work of the Friendship Centre Movement is important now, more than ever, so Friendship Centres can continue to support their communities when they need it most. The support from the Mastercard Foundation will help our Centres continue to carry out their essential work.
If you’re able to at this time, please consider donating to your local Friendship Centre.