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Indigenous Affairs is no more — departmental split is underway, Liberal government says
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10/18/2018 04:57 AM
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The Liberal government's promised move to dissolve Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development (INAC) and replace it with separate departments reached a milestone Monday with the creation of two new ministries.
The Department of Indigenous Services (DISC), with Toronto-area minister Jane Philpott at the helm, will now oversee government programs mainly geared toward status Indians, including welfare, education, infrastructure — including the move to end long-term water advisories — housing and the non-insured health benefits program. The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) has also been formally transferred from Health Canada to the new department, the government said in a news release.
"These structural changes will allow our government to work more effectively with Indigenous partners to provide services that improve people's day-to-day quality of life," Philpott said.
By bureaucratic standards, the creation of DISC has happened relatively quickly, as the announcement to dissolve INAC was only made in August. More than 4,500 employees scattered across the country will find themselves working for either the new department, or INAC's other successor, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, which will be led by minister Carolyn Bennett.
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This website will change as a result of the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Consult the new Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada home page or the new Indigenous Services Canada home page.
Working together to make Canada a better place for Indigenous and northern peoples and communities.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) supports Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and northern peoples in their efforts to:
improve social well-being and economic prosperity
develop healthier, more sustainable communities
participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development — to the benefit of all Canadians
INAC is one of 34 federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North. INAC's responsibilities are largely determined by numerous statutes, negotiated agreements and relevant legal decisions. Most of INAC's programs and spending are delivered through partnerships with Indigenous communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. INAC also works with urban Indigenous peoples, Métis and Non-Status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas).
INAC's mandate is derived from a number of sources including:
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act
Indian Act, as amended over the years
statutes dealing with environmental and resource management such as the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act (2013)
other statutes such as the Northwest Territories Devolution Act (2014)
INAC is also mandated to work with First Nations to implement legislation designed to provide them with jurisdictional powers outside of the Indian Act. INAC's mandate is further defined by specific statutes enabling modern treaties and self-government agreements and implementation of those agreements. Learn more about these Laws and regulations.
INAC negotiates comprehensive and specific claims as well as self-government agreements on behalf of the Government of Canada. INAC is responsible for implementing its obligations under these agreements and processes, as well as overseeing the implementation of obligations of other government departments flowing from these agreements. INAC also:
provides support for services on reserves such as education, housing, community infrastructure and social support to Status Indians on reserves
administers the land management component of the Indian Act
executes other regulatory duties under the Indian Act.
The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs acts as the Government of Canada's primary interlocutor for Métis, Non-Status Indians and urban Indigenous peoples. INAC also serves as a focal point for Inuit issues, which supports the inclusion of Inuit-specific concerns in federal program and policy development.
Through its Northern Affairs mandate, INAC is the lead federal department for two-fifths of Canada's landmass, with a direct role in the political and economic development of the territories and significant responsibilities for science, land and environmental management. In the North, the territorial governments generally provide the majority of social programs and services to all Northerners, including Indigenous peoples.
The Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act, which came into force on June 1, 2015, established Polar Knowledge Canada as a new federal research organization. This new organization combines the mandate and functions previously held by the Canadian Polar Commission and the Canadian High Arctic Research Station's Science and Technology Program, which was formerly led by INAC. The organization is responsible for advancing Canada's knowledge of the Arctic and strengthening Canadian leadership in polar science and technology.
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The Liberal government is dividing the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in an effort to end "colonial" structures and build stronger relations with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the change as part of a federal cabinet shakeup that brings two new MPs to the cabinet table. New Brunswick MP Ginette Petitpas Taylor was promoted to health minister and backbench MP Seamus O'Regan was installed as veterans affairs minister.
Jane Philpott, the former health minister, becomes minister of Indigenous services, responsible for providing services for non-self-governing communities, while the current Indigenous affairs minister, Carolyn Bennett, becomes minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and Northern Affairs.
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Philpott said dividing the departments into two will dismantle old "colonial structures" that were designed to dominate and assimilate Indigenous peoples.
"This is a historic day for Canada," she said after the swearing-in ceremony. "The work that is being done today, these are seismic shifts in the structures that oversee the relationship that Canada has as a representative of the Crown with Indigenous peoples in the country."
The recommendation to split responsibilities stems from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which submitted its report in October 1996.
Old news but wow it keeps on circulating. Trudeau really failed to help the natives, didn't he? I was doing some research and stumbled upon this by accident lol, felt like I'd share.
I'm just stirring the pot tho haha
Another "Bad guy" of GLP