Ontario Friendship Centres to get funding boost

Press release

Funds will expand access to cultural-based mental health and healing activities

TORONTO — Ontario is providing $812,500 to the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres to help raise awareness, reduce stigma and support Indigenous-led mental health and wellness initiatives for Indian Residential School (IRS) Survivors, families and communities across the province.

The funding will be used to provide access to cultural-based workshops, traditional healing activities and education initiatives that foster self-respect and identity and help improve mental health and emotional supports. Funding will also be used to raise awareness for individuals, families and communities of the history and impacts of the IRS system. This funding is in addition to dedicated funding being provided to First Nations leading burial investigations at former Residential Schools across the province.

“The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) is pleased with the announcement from the Ontario government to uphold its promises of supporting Residential school survivors. This pledge of $812,500 will help support the strenuous work of raising awareness, reducing stigma, and supporting the Mental health and well-being of those touched by the appalling shadow of Indian residential schools. We look forward to working further with the Ontario government and partners to advocate for further advancement of the support of Indigenous peoples by Indigenous peoples,” said Gertie Mai Muise, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

“It is critical that culturally appropriate, trauma-informed mental health supports are available for Indian Residential School Survivors, their families and Indigenous communities,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Our government continues to seek direction from Indigenous partners on their funding needs for Indian Residential School burial investigations, including funding for critical mental health supports.”

Ontario continues to engage with Indigenous leaders, Residential School Survivors, Indigenous Elders, communities and organizations to seek ongoing guidance on how to best support IRS-related work and to facilitate access to funding as seamlessly as possible.