Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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Keith Conn
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Keith Conn
2019-06-06 9:07
Thank you for the question.
We're very close. Chief Turtle can speak to this as well.
The feasibility study has been completed. The design vision is there. They are just finalizing the financial agreements and arrangements to begin construction, which will probably demand some clearing and shrubbing to access the chosen site.
We could, perhaps, start with a shovel in the ground in late summer—in my humble estimation—but we need to secure the agreement first, and we're close to that. It's under negotiation as we speak.
Keith Conn
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Keith Conn
2019-06-06 9:32
I'd better follow suit with the minister, I suppose. Yes, now, this summer; I'm just humbly estimating. It takes time to secure contractors, and the community needs to get organized around that, and they are primed. That was just my humble estimation of summer. It's now June, so July, August....
Keith Conn
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Keith Conn
2019-06-06 9:33
Not at this point, but I think there's a state of readiness, I have to say.
Rudy Turtle
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Rudy Turtle
2019-06-06 9:54
Good morning.
My name is Chief Rudy Turtle. I acknowledge the indigenous land that we are on. Thank you for inviting me here today to speak to you.
I ask that you listen carefully and take my words to heart. I'm here on behalf of my people.
Our community has been poisoned by mercury. Our people are sick because the government let the companies dump mercury in our river. Our people still suffer because for many decades the government has done little to care for us. We get only the same inadequate support that any other first nation struggles with, but we have the added burden of mercury. It is not enough. The Government of Canada knows this. It has been written in expert reports over and over again. But when we seek support from Canada, we meet with delays and red tape.
More than 500 days ago, Canada promised to build and run a mercury care home in Grassy Narrows so that our sick loved ones will finally get the care and support they deserve. This was a solemn promise, and we celebrated it. I honour Jane Philpott, who was the minister then, for her fair dealing. We believed that help was finally on the way. Eighteen months later, only 1% of the funds to build the mercury care home have flowed, and the project is at a standstill.
We know the government has often broken its promises to Grassy Narrows. We suffer every day because of these broken promises. If this government is so slow to keep its promise, how can we believe that the next government will honour it? We cannot allow this promise of a mercury care home to be broken.
We have given Canada a chance to keep its promise to help our people who are suffering from mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. I have told Minister O'Regan I am prepared to sign an agreement that honours Canada's promise of securely funding the mercury care home by putting the money in a trust well before the election. This will give us the certainty we need that the care home will be built and the promise will be kept regardless of the shifting political winds in Ottawa. After 50 years of suffering, our people deserve this certainty.
The 30-year life-cycle cost of the facility is $89 million. That is $17 million for construction and $72 million to run it for the next 30 years. This is required to make sure our people will get the kind of care they need. Canada must also keep its promise for our comprehensive mercury table, to work with us to fix what mercury has hurt in our health, our culture and our livelihood. This must be done following the recommendation of an expert community health assessment and our first nation priorities. Instead, Canada has tried to push us into signing bad deals that shortchange us, do not provide certainty and will not give our people the care they need.
We have signed bad deals before because of the government's pressure, and we are still dealing with the fallout of those bad deals. I will not make a bad deal. I will only sign something that I know my grandchildren will look back on and say their grandfather was a wise man who stood up for his people. Before I sign anything, I need to be sure the mercury care home will be built and it will give our loved ones the care they need. I need to see that the money to finish the job is there and cannot be taken away. After so many words, we need actions that our people can rely on. We have been seeking justice for 50 years. When will our loved ones who are hurting from mercury poisoning finally have a place where they can be cared for with dignity?
We have invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to come to Grassy Narrows five times to see the suffering and to help us. He has refused.
Prime Minister Trudeau, I invite you today to show that you care by coming to Grassy Narrows and putting the full funds for the mercury home in a trust so we will know that you will keep your word. I urge you to find it in your heart to do the right thing for us.
To my people, I pledge that as your chief I will keep fighting for you until we have the justice we need. I will fight until the mercury home is built, everyone is compensated for the terrible impacts of mercury and we finally have the justice we deserve.
Thank you.
D.C. Hawco
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D.C. Hawco
2018-05-29 10:09
Thank you, Deputy.
I guess it's not a surprise, particularly for this table, that the “Strong, Secure, Engaged” focus on people from the Prime Minister and the minister is animating, informing, and shaping our approach.
The deputy referred to “the journey”. That's a broader expression of those transition points that the deputy spoke to in the context of someone who is moving toward retirement. Think about postings. Think about someone who is ill but they're going to return to work, because that's the objective. You talk about the career courses, and all those areas have policy points, so investment of a policy division and increasing the capability there, understanding that we have about 37 primary care clinics across the CAF, 31 of which have dedicated mental health practitioners.
As we move the ill and injured, we recognize they need to have dedicated and specific focused care. That's the establishment of joint personnel support units, that concept of providing dedicated oversight with a proper career case management number so you can get personalized care, awareness of individuals, and the specifics of the files. It's recognizing the $198 million over the course of the government's investment in total health and wellness.
When we think of this as long-standing tracking or suicide prevention, and understanding the factors and the causalities that lead to people making desperate choices at times, we have for many years now been tracking suicide rates and understanding and featuring that in our approach to mental health.
Of course, we have also seen an increase in the number of mental health positions, approximately 455 across those 37 clinics, within 31 that have dedicated mental health professionals.
It's also important that in our civilian system 4,000 mental health care providers have registered to provide care to military members in their own practices. That's a great enabler for an individual to get timely access and a variety of access, because sometimes geography doesn't naturally lend itself or make it easy for a person to access care, because of a posting to a recruiting centre in a town that's not immediately proximate to a major base, as an example.
Jody Thomas
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Jody Thomas
2018-03-20 9:00
We are heavily investing in two aspects. The first is the reopening of Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, where we need to have health care facilities that are equal to what we have on the campus of the Royal Military College in Kingston.
Further, “Strong, Secure, Engaged” provides the funding long term for advanced medical care for serving members, including mental health care, physical care, physical fitness, and psychological testing to ensure that they're mentally well. This project is part of a recapitalization initiative that is part of health care facilities across the country.
Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean is critically important because we will be accepting new students in the degree-granting program this year.
Sonya Howard
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Sonya Howard
2017-10-26 11:08
Madam Chair, distinguished members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, thank you very much for this opportunity to present to you on the economic security of women in Canada.
I wish to acknowledge the Algonquin Nation, whose traditional territory we are on today.
I'm a member of the self-governing Tsawwassen First Nation in British Columbia, just south of Vancouver, as well as policy officer here with the National Association of Friendship Centres. The NAFC's executive director, Erin Corston, sends her greetings.
Today I would like to share three things with you. One, I'd like to give you a very brief statistical overview of some of the experiences of indigenous women living in urban areas in Canada and an overview of the friendship centre movement.
Two, I'd like to share some concrete ways in which friendship centres—and the NAFC, to some extent—work towards economic security with and for urban indigenous women across Canada, as an example that the federal government might consider.
Three, time permitting, I'd like to share some targeted recommendations about how the federal government might leverage an organization like the friendship centre network to meet its aims around the economic security of women and, broadly, poverty reduction.
To start, indigenous women, as the committee members may be aware, make up more than half of Canada's total indigenous population. Further, more than half of those indigenous women live in urban areas, while about 36% live on reserves. That's according to StatsCan's national household survey data. Further, indigenous women were unemployed at nearly double the rate of non-indigenous women in 2011—again according to StatsCan—and 36% of indigenous women experience poverty in Canada, which is also over double the rate of non-indigenous women.
To address these and other disparities, friendship centres work to create economic opportunities for indigenous women in over 100 cities and towns across Canada. For over 60 years, friendship centres have been providing a broad continuum of holistic, client-focused, culturally appropriate, and complementary or linked supports on a status-blind basis to all indigenous peoples who walk through their doors. As Canada's original, community-driven, and reconciliation-based form of essentially urban indigenous strategy, the friendship centre network is, de facto, Canada's most significant off-reserve indigenous service delivery infrastructure.
To that point, with over 2.3 million client contacts nationwide annually, over 100 friendship centres in cities and towns across Canada delivered over 1,800 programs and services to Canada's—depending on which StatsCan data you look at and for what year—at least 780,000 urban indigenous people in 2014-2015. These programs and services work to try to address some of the barriers that Ms. Armstrong also mentioned as well, including day cares, access to housing, health clinics, emergency relief, mental health supports, employment and training supports, education supports, some targeted economic development activities, justice supports, language and culture, sports and recreation, and community wellness. That doesn't even include the elders programming and youth programming that a lot of friendship centres use on a holistic basis as well.
Further, a full 90% of the over 3,200 staff at friendship centres in 2014-2015 were women, which could potentially be one of the largest representations of indigenous women in urban area workplaces.
I've hinted that friendship centres work with and for the urban indigenous community, and the reason they're successful is that they use a culturally based, community-driven, holistic, wraparound, and complementary services approach. It's customized based on the needs presented by each client who walks in the door. Further, friendship centres offer services in a non-judgmental, culturally safe way, based on and incorporating the indigenous teachings of their respective regions. That non-judgmental, culturally safe space is very important, as it turns out.
Ensuring that indigenous women have access to the opportunities and means to take part in the economy starts from a place of health and wellness as an individual, a family, and as a community.
Further a healthy community is a violence-free community. That's why friendship centres like the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax deliver a domestic violence support program in partnership with the province of Nova Scotia and community organizations. That's also why the NAFC originally developed a NewJourneys website. It's intended to be a secure website that people can log onto with a secure password. It presents an exhaustive list of services in urban areas to assist those indigenous people, including women, who may be choosing to move to urban areas or may be fleeing domestic violence.
Access to affordable and safe housing is another foundational area for supporting indigenous women's participation in the economy. To help indigenous people access affordable and safe housing in urban areas, for example, the Red Deer Native Friendship Society in Alberta is working with the United Way and the Province of Alberta to build the Asooahum Crossing cultural centre and affordable housing development, a 16-unit multiplex facility. In B.C. as well, the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society is developing a 42-unit housing project with the Province of B.C. St. John's runs a 24/7 shelter, complete with phone, Internet access, and meals.
Recognizing as well that urban indigenous women face unique challenges taking part in the labour market, friendship centres also provide targeted employment and training programs. They served over 19,000 clients in 2014-2015. Further, and as Ms. Armstrong also hinted in mentioning the need for safe, affordable child care, friendship centres also house day cares, aboriginal head start programs, and CAPC, the community action program for children, as well as prenatal nutrition programs and other family programs to help indigenous women access affordable and reliable child care in urban areas.
I would suggest that there are many excellent examples of this in friendship centres across the country, but the Brandon Friendship Centre is one that I've had a chance to visit and see the two day cares they run, one by invitation of the province, as an example of the complementary services approach to employment and training and child care housed in the same area.
Examples of the other types of complementary services friendship centres provide are health service clinics like the Val-d'Or friendship centre's Minowé Clinic and a hostel for those flying in from northern Quebec for health services, as well as the Acocan health clinic in La Tuque.
Closing off these examples of the types of services that friendship centres provide are interim and emergency relief programs, whether it's clothing banks, transportation supports like bus tickets, weekly bread programs like at the Dauphin Friendship Centre in Manitoba or food boxes, food banks, community gardens, and nutrition programs. These are all very close to the client and very grassroots interventions, but they're all crucial when addressing barriers that indigenous women might face taking part in the economy in urban areas.
Central to the success of all these programs are partnerships with the federal government, the provincial government, local and municipal governments, community foundations such as United Way, and other service providers, because they recognize that there are many players in the indigenous services delivery space in urban areas.
This partnership-based approach, along with the suite of in-house wraparound services, contributes to friendship centres' success in working with and for urban indigenous women and economic security.
I would encourage you to take a look at the detailed recommendations in the NAFC's brief, but I would hope I could squeeze in four.
One, touching on Ms. Armstrong's points as well, is to consider ways to increase accessibility, qualifying for, and uptake of EI part 1 and part 2 employment benefits and support measures, perhaps doubling the window of time within which people can bank EI insurable hours, perhaps lowering the EI insurable hours requirement by at least 25% for groups like urban indigenous women.
Two, when renewing any federal indigenous program and funding streams that address economic opportunities or poverty across federal departments, consider taking into account evidence of where indigenous people live, because that's where the services need to be. If over 60% of Canada's indigenous people live in cities and towns, that should perhaps factor into any funding decisions that are made.
As well as respecting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—
Faith McIntyre
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Faith McIntyre
2017-05-18 12:10
As I indicated, there were five other initiatives included in budget 2017 outside the budget implementation act. One of those that you're referring to is the centre of excellence on mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder. I will, however, start by saying that we currently have a network of 11 occupational stress injury clinics, which are located across the country. We work very actively with the regional health authorities, the provinces, in order to ensure through memorandums of understanding that treatment is available for individuals who require help with OSIs. There are physical locations and support available. There's also—
Faith McIntyre
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Faith McIntyre
2017-05-18 12:11
Okay, thank you for the clarification.
The occupational stress injury clinics are indeed run under the authority of Veterans Affairs Canada, so they are for our client group. We do, however, include the RCMP, which as you know also through a memorandum of understanding are involved in our services as well. I'm uncertain specifically what types of programs these individuals were referring to.
Also, we have one residential clinic, operated by the Province of Quebec out of Ste. Anne's Hospital, where veterans only, and other clients possibly from the RCMP as required, can actually go and physically remain there for a period of weeks for in-patient type care. That is specifically for our client group.
The centre of excellence, with $17.5 million provided over four years, is to assist in moving forward with treatment practices, research, and analysis with key partners and stakeholders so that we can enhance the services that we are already providing as an example through these occupational stress injury clinics.
I'd be more than happy, though, to dig a little further into that. I haven't had a chance to read the testimony of the individuals yesterday, sir, but I can, and I can certainly get back to you.
Faith McIntyre
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Faith McIntyre
2017-05-18 12:35
It is our only VAC residential in-patient clinic, operated through the province. It is accessible to veterans across the country who are, of course, referred for their proper mental health reasons to attend. Their travel is paid. In most circumstances, depending upon the need of the spouse or family member to attend, travel would be considered for them as well. It's difficult to speak broadly, because it would really depend on the circumstances as to why those individuals would need to attend with the veteran. For the veterans themselves, absolutely, it is fully covered.
Andrew Downes
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Andrew Downes
2017-02-23 15:52
JPSUs, as I think you know, are not part of the health care system. These are organizations that exist to support members when they're ill or injured. We don't necessarily have visibility on who's posted there and what the specific diagnoses are. We continue to provide them with care, regardless of the reason that brings them to the JPSU.
Hugh MacKay
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Hugh MacKay
2017-02-23 16:24
You're speaking of our operational trauma stress support clinics. We have an MOU with Veterans Affairs that it is there for Canadian Forces members, but we can take veterans into our—
Hugh MacKay
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Hugh MacKay
2017-02-23 16:25
They do, yes. We have had patients that come in.... We have benefited more from the MOU in that when we had a problem with psychiatry in Shilo, we were able to use the operational stress injury clinic that Veterans Affairs has in Winnipeg to get good care for our military members. It's a reciprocal agreement that we have with Veterans Affairs.
Mavis Benson
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Mavis Benson
2016-11-02 9:13
Yes, what the community is working towards is creating a.... We don't like to call it a treatment centre, but way out at the west end of Cheslatta Lake we have a big cabin that houses probably about 10 people. We're hoping to create a wellness centre that deals with post-traumatic stress disorder and all of the issues that came with colonization.
I suffer from PTSD, and a lot of community members do, and this centre that we are striving to open is going to deal with trauma, sexual abuse, and all the core issues that make us drink, that make us do drugs, and that make us want to commit suicide. I think they're going to take individuals and families, not necessarily only people who want to commit suicide, but everyone, including families who deal with alcohol and drugs, or individuals and youths who are addicted. It's like a comprehensive view of how we holistically deal with this person and these family members as a whole. That's the kind of treatment centre or healing centre, I guess they would call it, that Cheslatta is now working on, and they have been working on it for a while. They are going to be hiring psychologists and certified trauma counsellors rather than just generic counsellors. This is something that they are working on diligently, and I really commend them on that.
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