QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 17, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, launched the new Urban Aboriginal Support Program with his colleague, the Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection, Public Health and Healthy Living, Lucie Charlebois. This reflects the Government of Quebec's commitment in the last provincial budget to allocate $8.9 million over five years for the development and implementation of a support program specifically dedicated to this vulnerable and rapidly growing clientèle.
"This new program adds to the other government measures we recently announced to assist Aboriginals," said Minister Kelley. "The number of Aboriginals living in urban areas is increasing, and we must respond to the evolving needs emerging from this reality. With this additional support program, we are providing direct services to the public while simultaneously improving local infrastructure. We are proud to be supporting the work of community organizations serving indigenous peoples, and we believe strongly that together, working in cooperation with all of our partners, we will continue to improve the quality of life of urban Aboriginals."
"Community organizations play an essential role," said Minister Charlebois. "They offer crucial support to those who are experiencing difficulties. They also provide a warm welcome and a place to turn to for people who are in trouble and do not know which resources are available to help them. The Urban Aboriginal Support Program is a key gesture of solidarity. It will improve the living conditions of Aboriginal women and men in our cities so that they can build a new life there, in a context that fosters their growth and vitality."
As its name indicates, the Urban Aboriginal Support Program seeks to improve the quality of life of members of First Nations and Inuit communities who live in Quebec's cities. It does so by giving the community organizations serving indigenous peoples the means to accomplish their mission. Specifically, the Program is designed to:
- offer direct services that are culturally relevant and reassuring to meet the needs of Aboriginals living in vulnerable situations in our cities;
- support the development of intervention capacities within the community organizations serving Aboriginal women who live in or are passing through an urban area;
- encourage cooperation between community organizations and Quebec's health and social services network;
- help make it possible to improve the socio-economic status of Aboriginals;
- renew and strengthen the infrastructure of community organizations serving urban Aboriginal clients.
"Many Aboriginals migrating to cities are women who just want to live a secure, healthy life with dignity—women who look to the future in the hopes of finding comfort in their daily lives," said the Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Lise Thériault. "I hope with all my heart that they can benefit as quickly as possible from the stability required to thrive and live an active life. Today's announcement gives me the optimism that this will be possible."
« The Aboriginal population living in the Montreal region has greatly increased over the last few years, and we can reasonably expect this trend to continue. On behalf of all Montrealers, I applaud the Government of Quebec's initiative in this regard, and would like to thank our provincial representatives for their commitment to urban Aboriginals. Together, we will make Montreal a more inclusive and accessible city, for the benefit of each and every resident, and we will continue to work with local community organizations at a grassroots level," added the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre.
The Program will be administered by the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones. It involves two components: the first, with a budget of $5 million over five years, seeks to improve direct services; the second, with a budget of $3.9 million over four years, will enable the renewal and strengthening of the infrastructure of non-profit organizations.
All documents related to the Urban Aboriginal Support Program are available at autochtones.gouv.qc.ca. Aboriginal organizations are invited to submit their proposals directly to the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones.
Karl W. Sasseville
SOURCE Cabinet du ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones
For further information: Chantal Gauvin, Press Attachée, Office of the Minister responsible for Native Affairs, 418-643-3166; Bianca Boutin, Press Attachée, Office of the Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection, Public Health and Healthy Living, 418-266-7181; Karl W. Sasseville, Press Attaché, Office of the Deputy Premier,Minister responsible for Small and Medium Enterprises, Regulatory Streamlining and Regional Economic Development, and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, 418-691-5650