April 21, 2020 Updates to Indigenous Watchdog

Indigenous Watchdog was officially launched on Feb. 25, 2020 with a blog post about the Wet’suwet’en vs Coastal GasLink protest. Since then, seven additional blogs have been posted addressing a number of distinct issues.

What else has happened over the last two months?

As of April 21, 2020, Indigenous Watchdog has updated the following:

  • 7 updates to Current Reality sections of Child Welfare, Justice, UNDRIP and Business home pages
  • 24 updates across 13 different Calls to Action
  • 9 updates in “Current Problems and Issues in Child Welfare” (new section on “Child Welfare” Home Page)
  • 11 updates in “Current Problems and Issues in Justice” (new section on “Justice” Home Page))
  • 2 updates in “Current Problems and Issues in UN Declaration (UNDRIP)

“Current Problems and Issues” is a new section added to Child Welfare and Justice home pages that provides more details on specific problem areas that have a negative impact on Indigenous people. Other “Current Problems and Issues ” will be added to other home pages over the coming months.

For comparison purposes, the Government of Canada has issued one minor update since Sept. 5, 2019 on their official website tracking the TRC Calls to Action – in almost 8 months!

Click on the links below for further details.

Child Welfare

Child Welfare Calls to Action Home Page
Current Reality
Dec. 19, 2019 – Quebec Government challenges Bill C-92 in Court of Appeal claiming the Bill appropriates the “exclusive” jurisdiction of the provinces in matters of social services including over First Nations Child Welfare.
Dec. 19, 2020 – Assembly of First Nations Quebec – Labrador response to Government of Quebec’s constitutional court challenge to Bill C-92
Child Welfare Calls to Action Home Page
Current Problems and Issues in Child Welfare
April 14, 2020 – Government of Manitoba is fast tracking Bill 34, “The Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes Amendment”. Indigenous organizations are concerned about section 8, “which sets out to legally end the ability of current and former children in care to sue the Manitoba government for clawing back their monthly Children’s Special Allowance (CSA).
Call to Action # 1
Commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care
Dec. 19, 2019  – Quebec Government has launched a legal challenge in Quebec Court of Appeal to assess the constitutionality of Bill C-92: An Act Respecting First Nations, Métis and Inuit Children, Youth and Families
Call to Action # 4
Enact Indigenous Child Welfare legislation
July 25, 2019 – Added Chiefs of Ontario opposition to Bill C-92 through AFN Resolution No. 31/2019 “Ontario Specific Process to Bill C-92, An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Children, Youth, and Families
July 25, 2019 – Added Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs response to Indigenous Responses to Bill C-92
Dec. 19, 2020 – Quebec Government challenges Bill C-92 in Court of Appeal claiming the Bill appropriates the “exclusive” jurisdiction of the provinces in matters of social services including over First Nations Child Welfare
Dec. 19, 2019 – Assembly of First Nations Quebec – Labrador response to Government of Quebec’s constitutional court challenge added to Bill C-92 to Indigenous Responses to Bill C-92

Health

Call to Action # 18
Recognize and implement healthcare rights of Indigenous peoples
Sept. 27, 2019 – Release of “The Health Status of and Access to Healthcare by Registered First Nation Peoples in Manitoba.” Acknowledges that “the current state of Aboriginal health in Canada is a direct result of previous Canadian government policies, including residential schools”.
Oct. 9, 2019 – Government of Manitoba announced enhanced and expanded mental health and addictions programming for youth with three new initiatives today.  The investments total $2.94 million over three years
Feb. 14, 2020 – Ontario is expanding mental health, addictions and well-being services for First Nations and Indigenous organizations, helping to provide culturally-appropriate services closer to home by investing $1.2 million in additional funding to expand community-based mental health and addictions services provided by First Nations and Indigenous organizations.

Justice

Justice Calls to Action Home Page
Current Reality
April 20, 2020 -First Nations leadership in BC calls for protection of incarcerated inmates amid COVID-19 pandemic
Jan. 21, 2020 – Office of the Correctional Investigator highlights increased incarceration rates for Indigenous people UP 52.1% since 2010 while non-Indigenous is DOWN 23.5% (stats updated from 2018-2019 Annual Report)
Call to Action # 30
Commit to eliminate overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in custody
Jan. 21, 2020 – Office of the Correctional Investigator highlights increased incarceration rates for Indigenous people UP 52.1% since 2010 while non-Indigenous is DOWN 23.5%
Feb. 18, 2020 – Office of the Correctional Investigator Annual report 2019-20. Recommendations and Government of Canada response.
Call to Action # 31
Provide stable funding to implement alternatives to imprisonment
Feb. 18, 2020 – Office of the Correctional Investigator recommendations to Correctional Services on alternatives to incarceration for Indigenous people
Mar. 2, 2020 – Manitoba is providing new support for a community-led safety strategy and strengthening partnerships to increase the use of restorative justice in northern Manitoba through Restorative Justice North
Call to Action # 41
Appoint public inquiry into MMIWG
Jan. 31, 2020 – “Addressing Gendered Violence against Inuit Women: A review of police policies and practices in Inuit Nunangat
Mar 4, 2020 – Alberta appoints Joint Working Group to inform Action Plan to respond to the Call to Justice of the MMIWG Commission
Mar. 6, 2020 – Re-organization of MMIWG Investigations by the Winnipeg Police Services Board
Mar. 6, 2020 – Ontario Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy A new, comprehensive five-year strategy to combat human trafficking and end child sexual exploitation across the province through a proactive, comprehensive action plan
Call to Action # 42
Commit to recognize and implement Aboriginal Justice Systems
Mar. 5, 2020 – The BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC) and the Province endorsed and signed a new First Nations Justice Strategy to among other things support First Nations to restore their Indigenous justice systems and structures transforms the existing criminal justice system and builds the path toward restoring First Nations laws and justice systems

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UNDRIP Home Page
Current Status
April 7, 2020 – First Nations Supreme Court challenge of Trans Mountain Pipeline Indigenous consulting process
Mar. 9, 2020 – Premier of Manitoba in an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail decrees that UNDRIP is problematic and should not be passed
Call to Action # 43
Fully adopt and implement UNDRIP as the framework for reconciliation
Oct. 25, 2019 – The Government of the NWT has committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
Mar. 9, 2020 – Premier of Manitoba in an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail decrees that UNDRIP is problematic and should not be passed

Youth and Reconciliation

Call to Action # 66
Multi-year funding for community-based youth programs
Feb, 13, 2020 – Add Nunavut Young Hunters Program to Provincial and Territory Indigenous Youth Programs

Commemoration

Call to Action # 79 iii
Develop reconciliation framework for Canadian Heritage and Commemoration
Mar. 4, 2020 – Canadian Heritage: Commemorating the History and Legacy of Residential Schools program funding deadline for projects under $5,000 extended
Call to Action # 80
Establish a Statutory Holiday and commemoration of history and legacy of residential schools
Mar. 4, 2020 – Canadian Heritage: Commemorating the History and Legacy of Residential Schools program funding deadline for projects under $5,000 extended

Sports and Reconciliation

Call to Action # 88
Ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development, support for NAIG
Mar. 25, 2020 -North American Indigenous Games Indigenous Games scheduled to be held July 12 – 18 in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Aldershot and Millbrook, have been postponed due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19

Business and Reconciliation

Business Call to Action Home Page
Current Reality
April 18, 2020 -Federal government announcement of $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
Call to Action # 92
Adopt UNDRIP as a reconciliation framework, apply to policy and operations
Dec. 13, 2020 – Government of Canada commits to increase procurement spend with Indigenous business partners to 5% through mandate letter of Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Federal Government Update on Crown – Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs website

Child Welfare Calls to Action Home Page
Fully implement Jordan’s Principle
Feb. 27, 2019 – Updated the timeframe and statistics for “products, services and supports approved” from July 2016 to July 31 2019 to “Between July 2016 and February 29, 2020, more than 550,000….”

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