Eel Ground FN: Information Re: Meeting with INAC Minister on Social Assistance
February 15, 2016
Meeting with INAC Minister on Social
In late January, a group of Chiefs from the Atlantic region, including Chief Leroy Denny (Social Lead, Nova Scotia); Chief George Ginnish (New Brunswick); Chief Rebecca Knockwood (Social Lead, New Brunswick); Chief Brian Francis (PEI) and Assembly of First Nations Regional Chiefs Morley Googoo and Roger Augustine, met with Minister Bennett from Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Canada (INAC) to discuss the next steps in the discussion on Social Assistance.
At this meeting, the Chiefs sought clarity from the Minister on INAC’s plans, as a letter sent by the Minister on December 11, 2015 indicated that changes to the Social Manual were to be implemented by April 1, 2017, but in other discussions said that the new Social Manual was off the table.
The Chiefs were clear that they did not want INAC to implement their new Social program and Chiefs wanted to figure out a system that will work best for the people in their own Provinces.
Minister Bennett stated that she wanted to ensure fairness and understood that a “one size fits all” approach will not work for the whole Atlantic region. She informed the Chiefs that the new program will be off the table for a year to allow an opportunity for the Chiefs to determine what needs to be done and to develop a plan for the people that they represent.
Chief Denny discussed the Social Terms of Reference that was developed and was signed by him and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs Co-Chairs. He informed Minister Bennett that signature of the Federal Government is still outstanding.
The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs will use this time over the next year to discuss what our next steps are. Although discussions will be done by individual provinces, the Chiefs agreed that collective discussions will be had, so that all First Nations in the Atlantic Region can be supported by the individual working groups.
For additional information, please contact:
Crystal Dorey Communication Officer
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office [email protected] 902-843-3880