Backgrounder: Establishment of an Indigenous Affairs Office at the City of Toronto, November 3, 2017
November 3, 2017
At its meeting of July 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2017, Toronto City Council directed the City Manager to: consult with the New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat First Nations, the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council and other relevant stakeholders, and report on the feasibility of establishing a new Indigenous Affairs Office, an organizational structure, a mandate, financial implications and a work plan for implementation; report on all Aboriginal services and resources, including staff, currently provided by City of Toronto divisions, agencies and corporations; and seek support from the federal and provincial governments for City of Toronto Aboriginal services and the establishment of an Indigenous Affairs office. http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.EX26.25
In July 2017, the City retained Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) to assist in responding to the direction from City Council. TASSC worked with Equity, Diversity and Human Rights (EDHR) to conduct research and consultations. TASSC’s report contains 15 recommendations and two considerations. Two of the recommendations are related to the establishment of a centralized Indigenous relations unit at the City. The other recommendations and considerations will be assigned to the proposed Office for review.
The creation of a new office has also been requested by the Aboriginal Affairs Committee and the Indigenous community in Toronto. With Toronto’s increasing Indigenous population, the Indigenous Affairs Office would follow a best practice set by other large municipalities with similar offices.
While the City has embedded the responsibility for Indigenous priorities within Divisions, the City recognizes the need for more focused and coordinated leadership on Indigenous affairs.
A Staff Report is being considered at the November 3, 2017 meeting of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee. Pending approval, it will to go to Executive Committee on November 29 and Council on December 6, 2017.
The proposed Indigenous Affairs Office would report directly to the City Manager, with an administrative reporting relationship to the Director of the EDHR division.
In order to move ahead with establishing the office, Council would need to approve the staffing budget. A total of $0.520 million gross and net is included in the City Manager’s Office 2018 Operating Budget Submission for four (4) new positions and a one-time external consultant expense. A management consultant with expertise on Indigenous relations will be retained to assist the City in developing a mandate for the proposed Indigenous Affairs Office.
The expectation is that the Office will be able to assist the City’s divisions in initiatives such as the following: implement a reconciliation framework/strategy; support divisional and corporate-wide initiatives; provide subject matter expertise/best practices; support the Aboriginal Advisory Committee; report on progress on City’s reconciliation efforts; and support Indigenous cultural competency training.
The City is committed to continuing to build partnerships with Indigenous communities in Toronto and to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. The City recognizes that there is still much work to be done as the organization moves through its understanding and commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
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Media contact: Chris Fernandes, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5211, email@example.com