Métis Nation Welcomes Province's Recently Announced Review of Ontario's Child and Family Services System



    Calls on Province to Engage Métis in Review

    OTTAWA, Aug. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO)
responded to the recently announced review of the child and family service
system by Ontario's Attorney-General, in response to the tragic death of
Katelynn Sampson.
    MNO President Gary Lipinski said, "This tragedy emphasizes the need for
improved collaboration, enhanced supports and stronger safeguards within the
overall system as well as within the Aboriginal community in order to
adequately address the best interests of our children and families in
Ontario."
    "We are asking the province to constructively engage the Métis Nation on
this review. We know that strong family and community support networks are
essential to ensuring all Aboriginal children - First Nations and Métis alike
- are protected. We must work together to ensure these types of tragedies do
not occur in the future," added President Lipinski.
    The MNO has formally written to Ontario's Attorney-General as well as the
Minister for Children and Youth requesting that the Métis Nation have an
opportunity to provide its perspective in relation to the current system and
its challenges and impacts on Métis children, family and communities in the
province.
    The MNO has also publicly released two discussion papers, entitled,
"Ontario's Child and Family Services: The Law, Current Policies and the Métis"
and "How the Ontario Child and Family System Deals with Ontario Métis", which
it hopes will help inform the government's review as it relates to Métis
children. These papers were completed as a part of the MNO's ongoing
tripartite process with the Ontario Government and the Government of Canada.
Copies of these papers are available on the MNO's website at
www.metisnation.org.
    MNO Chair, France Picotte, stated, "In the landmark Powley decision, the
Supreme Court of Canada directed governments to work with the Métis to support
and enhance the survival of Métis communities. We have continually heard from
our citizens that nothing is more important to the future well-being of our
communities than the protection of our children. This recently announced
review, along with these two discussions papers, will allow us to begin more
focused discussions on the role the Métis Nation should play within the
current system in this province."
    In several other jurisdictions, the Métis play a significant role in the
delivery of child and family services to their communities. For example, Métis
child and family services agencies exist in Alberta and British Columbia. As
well, in Manitoba, the delivery of child and family services has been
successfully devolved to the Manitoba Métis Federation through legislation.
    "As the Métis Nation continues to strengthen its relationship with the
Ontario Government, we believe this review provides an important opportunity
to work together in order to strengthen the province's child and family
services system, while also meeting the distinct needs of Ontario's Métis,"
concluded Picotte.

    The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique culture,
language and heritage, with an ancestral Homeland that centres around Ontario,
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and extends into the
Northwest Territories and the northwestern United States. The Métis played an
instrumental role in the shaping of Canada, and work tirelessly to share their
culture, traditions and knowledge of the environment with their fellow
Canadians. Today, the Métis live, work, raise their families and pay taxes in
communities from Ontario westward.




For further information:

For further information: or interviews contact: Chelsey Quirk, MNO
Communications Branch, (613) 798-1488, TF: (800) 263-4889,
chelseyq@metisnation.org


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