National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) Hosts First Ever Member of
Parliament Briefing Day on the Hill

OTTAWA, Nov. 13 /CNW/ - For the first time in the history of the Friendship Centre Movement, over 40 delegates from across Canada are coming to Parliament Hill to brief more than 70 Parliamentarians on the need to include Friendship Centres in Budget 2010. The day will conclude with a reception to officially launch the Friendship Centres All-Party Caucus to be co-chaired by Jean Crowder, MP (Nanaimo - Cowichan, NDP) and Chris Warkentin, MP (Peace River, CPC).

    
       Media are encouraged to attend the reception (below) or pre-book
        interviews with NAFC delegates who will be available to comment on
           the issues being discussed with Members of Parliament.

    Who:      Friendship Centre Delegates, Members of Parliament, Party
              Leaders, National Association of Friendship Centres, Aboriginal
              and Community Leaders.

    Where:    131 Queen Street, Room 08-51, Ottawa, ON

    When:     November 17, 2009, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
    

The reception is co-hosted by the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), Jean Crowder, MP and Chris Warkentin, MP. As Canada's largest infrastructure of Aboriginal service delivery providers, NAFC advocates for the needs of urban First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples.

    
           Aboriginal Friendship Centre Program (AFCP) Backgrounder
    

There are 125 Friendship Centres across Canada, and in many cities, Friendship Centres are the only providers of culturally-enhanced programs and services to urban Aboriginal residents. For over 50 years, Friendship Centres have been assisting in the transition of Aboriginal people from rural, remote and reserve life to an urban environment. For many Aboriginal people, Friendship Centres are their first point of contact to obtain referrals to programs and services. Given that the Aboriginal population is the fastest growing segment of the Canadian urban population, these Centres are vital pillars in the infrastructure of urban Aboriginal society.

The federal government has invested in Friendship Centres for more than 40 years. The long-term sustainability of Friendship Centres requires enhancements to the funding levels that were established in 1996. While the urban Aboriginal population over the past decade has more than doubled in some cities, funding through Canadian Heritage's Aboriginal Friendship Centre Program (AFCP) to support the core activities of Friendship Centres, has not changed. In order to protect the federal government's investment, and to ensure the long-term sustainability of these institutions, these funding levels need to be examined in the context of today's realities. On average per year, it costs over $300,000 to operate a Friendship Centre, yet the average amount of core funding allocated by AFCP is just over $129,000.

This year, Friendship Centres across Canada will deliver over 1,300 programs and services worth almost $108 million to almost one million participants. In addition to $16.1 million in support for core operations from AFCP, Friendship Centres will deliver over $40 million for federal departments; almost $60 million for provincial/territorial governments; almost $3 million for municipal governments; and close to $5 million for non-governmental and other Aboriginal organizations.

As Canada's largest infrastructure of Aboriginal service delivery providers, NAFC advocates for the needs of urban First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples.

SOURCE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDSHIP CENTRES

For further information: For further information: or to pre-book an interview, please contact: Geraldine King, Communications Officer, NAFC, (613) 563-4844 ext 328 or mobile (613) 296-6234 or gking@nafc.ca (no spaces)

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NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDSHIP CENTRES

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