Labrador Innu to deliver Income Assistance program
Government of Canada pleased to fulfill a long-standing commitment to the Innu
April, 04, 2016 – Sheshatshiu First Nation (NL) – Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs is pleased to announce the transfer of the delivery of the Income Assistance program to the Innu Round-Table Secretariat of Labrador. The transfer fulfills a long-standing Government of Canada commitment to the Innu of Labrador.
To the Innu Round-Table Secretariat, the transfer will give the secretariat direct control over addressing the most pressing needs of Innu residents in Natuashish and Sheshatshiu First Nations. Until now, residents in the communities have received income assistance from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, with INAC reimbursing the Province for expenditures.
The Income Assistance program transfer agreement with the Innu Round-Table Secretariat of Labrador, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Government of Canada was reached following nearly 10 years of negotiations. During the initial years the Province will help to oversee and mentor the Innu and INAC so that both parties are ready to assume the direct oversight and administration of the program in accordance with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s program authorities.
This is an example of the government’s commitment to build a solid, positive and permanent relationship with the Innu of Labrador, and to follow through on its commitments to reconciliation.
- In 2015-2016, income assistance to Natuashish and Sheshatshiu was approximately $700K;
- Mushuau Innu (Natuashish) First Nation, Labrador is located around 500kms north of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and has a population of approximately 980;
- Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, Labrador is located around 50kms north of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and has a population of approximately 1400.
“With this transfer the Innu will be able to ensure culturally-sensitive Income Assistance services to their residents in Natuashish and in Sheshatshiu. This means better outcomes in the future for the community and its members.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
“For the Innu, the transfer of the Income Assistance program is a major accomplishment as the Innu Nation moves forward on the road to self-government.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
“A significant function of self-government is being able to offer a full suite of public services to our members. As in any government, when a family falls into financial need, the basic safety net of Income Support is required to help them get back on their feet. We as a government, can now deliver that to our own people, as other First Nations have been doing for decades.”
Grand Chief of the Innu Nation
“The Innu Healing Strategy guides much of our work in Sheshatshiu. Improving effectiveness of services is a major item in bringing positive change to lives of Innu people. Innu control of education services has brought much change over the past five years. We expect delivery of local Income Support services will bring more chances for people and our community to heal.”
Chief Eugene Hart,
Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation
“For many years Innu in financial need have not been treated the same as others in the province. With federal funding to an Innu organization, the Innu Round Table Secretariat, we can now directly deliver services the same as others receive throughout the province. This is about Innu finally having the authority and responsibility to deliver basic services to Innu.”
Chief Gregory Rich,
Mushuau Innu First Nation
“We are pleased to see the Innu assume responsibility for the income support program. Our officials want to ensure the transition is successful and will provide support for a 12 month period as the administration of the program is transfer to the Innu. Steps such as this one, ensure that the Innu have the ability to deliver programs in a manner that best meets their needs and traditions.”
The Honourable Perry Trimper,
Minister of Environment and Conservation and MHA for Lake Melville
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation