Statement - Minister Bennett Responds to First Anniversary of Chief Coroner of Ontario's Report into the Inquest of the Death of Seven First Nations Youth in Thunder Bay

OTTAWA, June 28, 2017 /CNW/ - The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, issued the following statement today:

"The Government of Canada remains committed to the Chief Coroner's recommendations and to our continued work alongside First Nations partners to ensure a proper support system for students who attend schools off reserve, away from their communities and families.

In response to the Inquest's recommendations, we put immediate measures in place to support the wellbeing of First Nations students and help improve their education outcomes. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) provided $6.5 million for ongoing investments, which included increased funding for guidance counselling at First Nations schools, expanded funding for boarding homes, and doubling the number of trips home during the academic year for students who leave their communities to attend school. Matawa First Nations Management Inc. (MFNM) and the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (NNEC) have also been provided an additional $525,000 in funding to explore culturally-appropriate education opportunities for First Nations youth attending Matawa Learning Centre and Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.

The Government recognizes that funding alone is not enough. There are systemic issues at play that will require all partners to work more effectively together. This year, INAC facilitated a work planning discussion – led by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, NNEC, MFNM, and Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council – with the goal of identifying specific actions that will lead to safer and well-supported students in Thunder Bay.

In the spirit of collaboration and reconciliation, the Government continues to working with First Nations partners to ensure First Nations children and youth have access to culturally appropriate, high-quality education that meets their needs in an environment that is dedicated to their health and safety."

This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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SOURCE Government of Canada

For further information: Media may contact: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 613-697-8316; INAC Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160


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