BMO Financial Group to donate $1 million to Youth Fusion for Indigenous communities

MONTREAL, May 22, 2018  – BMO Financial Group is pleased to announce a donation of one million dollars to Youth Fusion for aboriginal programming. This substantial donation is intended to maintain and enhance existing Youth Fusion projects in aboriginal communities in Quebec and to promote the expansion of these programs throughout Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Currently, Youth Fusion projects in aboriginal communities include:

  • Weekly activities for over 5,000 Inuit and First Nations youths living in more than 20 communities in Nunavik and the James Bay area.
  • Support for young Indigenous students attending John Abbott College and Dawson College.

“As an active participant in Canadian communities, BMO believes in the promise of personal growth and success through lifelong learning and access to education. Education is at the heart of our philanthropy and we are extremely grateful for this valuable support, which will benefit aboriginal communities throughout Quebec and the rest of Canada,” said Gabriel Bran-Lopez, president of Youth Fusion.

“Youth Fusion has implemented many innovative projects designed to engage, motivate and stimulate young people in our Indigenous communities, and to make them feel more committed to their communities,” said Claude Gagnon, Managing Director, Operations, BMO Financial Group, Quebec. “We want to use this contribution to encourage young aboriginal people to stay in school. We want to give them tools to integrate into society, to become leaders in their communities and, in so doing, to contribute actively in their communities’ development.”

BMO and Youth Fusion have been working together for several years now to inspire youth to stay in school. This partnership contributes to reducing the dropout rate by creating projects that motivate students, providing an incentive for them to stay in school.

About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $728 billion as of January 31, and a team of versatile and highly dedicated employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

About Youth Fusion
Youth Fusion is an award-winning charity that contributes to the persistence in school, employability and civic engagement of youth by developing innovative experiential learning projects that create ongoing links between school systems and the community. Every week, we work with 15,000 young people in over 250 schools in rural, urban and Indigenous communities.


President Chartier Attends OECD Forum

May 16, 2018

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) consists of 35 countries working together to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. On May 14, 2018, President Chartier attended the OECD Ministerial Meeting and Policy Forum in Montreal under the theme “Social Policy for Shared Prosperity – Embracing the Future”.

The Forum shared views on member countries’ challenges and accomplishments in social protection to ensure everyone can fully participate in society. They examined how rapidly changing economic and social environments present both challenges and opportunities for the design and implementation of social policy. This means developing social policies that promote diversity, social inclusion and equality.

Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Chair of the OECD event, Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, noted that Canada’s engagement with Indigenous peoples demonstrates how governments can achieve better decision-making and create policies and programs that better support citizens to fully participate in society. The Forum and Ministerial Meetings demonstrated a strong consensus in favour of inclusion, where all people can benefit from growth, but also have the opportunity to contribute to growth.

President Chartier commended Minister Duclos’ comments and expressed interest in working with the OECD. Earlier, MNC and OECD officials had discussed the potential for OECD to visit the Métis Nation homeland to look at the social and economic development strategies and programs that are being undertaken by Métis Nation governments.


CMAJ: “All my relations”: experiences and perceptions of Indigenous patients connecting with Indigenous Elders in an inner city primary care partnership for mental health and well-being

May 22, 2018


BACKGROUND: Mental health services in urban settings generally have not been adapted to serve the needs of Indigenous patients. We explored how patients’ encounters with Indigenous Elders affected their overall mental health and well-being to identify therapeutic mechanisms underlying improvement.

METHODS: We conducted qualitative interviews of participants enrolled in a 6-month prospective mixed-methods evaluation of a program for mental health and well-being that featured the inclusion of Elders in the direct care of Indigenous patients in an inner city primary care clinic. Individual semistructured interviews were conducted to explore patients’ experiences and perceptions of their participation in the Elders program.

RESULTS: We included 37 participants from at least 20 different First Nations. All but 1 participant described substantial benefits from their encounters with Elders, and none reported being negatively affected. Five overarching themes were identified: experiencing healing after prolonged periods of seeking and desperation; strengthening cultural identity and belonging; developing trust and opening up; coping with losses; and engaging in ceremony and spiritual dimensions of care as a resource for hope.

INTERPRETATION: Our evaluation illustrates that the Elders program was perceived by participants to have a broad range of positive impacts on their care and well-being. Although this study was based on experiences at a single urban clinic, these findings support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action regarding the inclusion of Elders as a strategy to improve care of Indigenous patients in Canadian health care systems.

Mental health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada are related to underlying economic, social and political inequities that are legacies of colonization and the oppression of Indigenous cultures — now recognized as “cultural genocide” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.16 Therefore, disproportionate rates of mental illness and suicidality must be understood in context, not as intrinsic predispositions of Indigenous people but instead as reflecting persistent inequities.2,710 This is evident for many Indigenous people living in inner cities where the effects of poverty, racism, and other layers of discrimination and marginalization on mental health are impossible to overlook.8,9,11,12

In general, mental health services in urban settings have not been adapted to serve the needs of Indigenous patients, and this is reflected in the comparatively low rates of voluntary utilization, 13,14and much higher rates of acute admissions to hospital for suicidality and other mental health crises.15 Qualitative studies point to numerous reasons why Indigenous people express reluctance to engage with mainstream health care services: including racism, “being treated as a second-class citizen,” and lack of Indigenous staff and cultural practices.8,1620 Ethnographic data suggest that Indigenous people living in the inner city may seek out recognized Elders as informal sources of mental health care in lieu of mainstream services.12

There is widespread agreement that First Nations, Inuit and Métis Elders can play a crucial role in the mental health of Indigenous Peoples.1,5,13 Elders are recognized by their communities for possessing common qualities that are highly valued — leadership, accumulated wisdom, compassion, community devotion and dedication to personal healing.5,21,22 The designation of Elder is achieved by “those who have shown wisdom and leadership in cultural, historical, and spiritual matters within their communities, and might not necessarily be old. Elders represent an essential connection with the past; they are keepers of the community knowledge and supporters of its collective spirit.”13 Encounters with Elders can provide opportunities for patients to assert or reclaim cultural identity as part of their mental health treatment and reverse the cultural marginalization many Indigenous people have experienced in urban health care settings, such as emergency departments and hospital outpatient programs.13,14 One of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s “calls to action” is the inclusion of Elders in the treatment of Indigenous patients in Canadian health care systems.1

However, Elders have not been formally included or recognized as legitimate care providers within Canadian health care systems, and there have been no previous studies exploring the implementation and impact of an intervention that formally includes Elders in the provision of mental health care for Indigenous patients. Previous research found that involving Elders in a community mental health promotion strategy for teens resulted in a reduction in suicides.23 Involving Elders in patient care has also been shown to substantially decrease rates of domestic violence, 24 and to improve understanding and trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff and patients.25

Our study is part of a larger investigation examining the impact of an Indigenous Elders program on the mental health and well-being of Indigenous patients in an inner city primary care setting. Quantitative results, which have been reported elsewhere,26 showed clinically and statistically significant reductions in depressive symptoms and suicidality. The goal of this study is to explore how encounters with Elders affected patients’ overall mental health and well-being to identify the therapeutic mechanisms underlying improvement.

Read More:


Stornoway Diamond Corp.: Renard Team Wins Quebec Mine Rescue Competition

LONGUEUIL, Québec, May 22, 2018 — Stornoway Diamond Corporation(TSX:SWY) (the “Corporation” or “Stornoway”) is proud to announce that the Renard Mine Rescue team comprising David Langlois, Adam Paquet, Danny Bérubé, François Gilbert, Guillaume Lemay, Patrick Tremblay, Raphaël Duchesne, Simon Gélinas, Steve Veillette and Yannick Savard was the overall winner at the 56th Quebec Provincial Mine Rescue Competitionthat took place between May 17th and 19th in Boucherville, Quebec. In addition to the honour of winning the overall title, the Renard team took home the title of ‘Best Team on the Field’, and team leaders David Langlois and Raphaël Duchesne won for ‘Best Team Management’.

Patrick Godin, Stornoway’s COO, commented: “We are incredibly proud of the Renard Mine Rescue Team and what winning this competition represents for the overall health and safety culture at our mine. This achievement requires long hours of training, dedication and hard work, and all of Stornoway’s employees at the Renard Mine can be comforted in the knowledge that their colleagues in Mine Rescue are now rated the best in Quebec.”


The Renard Diamond Mine is Quebec’s first producing diamond mine and Canada’s sixth. It is located approximately 250 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 350 km north of Chibougamau in the James Bay region of north-central Québec. Construction on the project commenced on July 10, 2014, and commercial production was declared on January 1, 2017. Average annual diamond production is forecast at 1.8 million carats per annum over the first 10 years of mining. Readers are referred to the technical report dated January 11, 2016, in respect of the September 2015 Mineral Resource estimate, and the technical report dated March 30, 2016, in respect of the March 2016 Updated Mine Plan and Mineral Reserve Estimate for further details and assumptions relating to the project.

About Stornoway Diamond Corporation

Stornoway is a leading Canadian diamond exploration and development company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY and headquartered in Montreal. Our flagship asset is the 100% owned Renard Diamond Project, Québec’s first diamond mine. Stornoway is a growth oriented company with a world-class asset, in one of the world’s best mining juPrisdictions, in one of the world’s great mining businesses.

On behalf of the Board
/s/ “Matt Manson”
Matt Manson
President and Chief Executive

For more information, please contact Matt Manson (President and CEO) at 416-304-1026 x2101
or Orin Baranowsky (CFO) at 416-304-1026 x2103 or Jodi Hackett (Manager, Communications) at 416-304-1026 x2104
or toll free at 1-877-331-2232

Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter M. Ghislain Poirier, Vice-président Affaires publiques de Stornoway au 418-254-6550,

** Website: Email: **


Opinion: Reduce the poverty-to-prison pipeline for women – The Province

Over the last decade, the number of women in Canada’s jails has spiked 30 per cent.

Even more troubling, after a 60-per-cent increase over the same period, Indigenous female prisoners now account for 37 per cent of all incarcerated women, and 50 per cent of women in maximum security.

According to the 2017 correctional investigator report, there is no evidence of increased female criminality. Women in custody are in fact likely to be victims of physical (90 per cent) and sexual (67 per cent) abuse themselves, with addiction issues and children relying on them.

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Feds must allow First Nations to tax, regulate cannabis – Policy Options

There was little surprise when the Assembly of First Nations, at its Special Chiefs Assembly in early May, called on the government of Canada to amend Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. The chiefs sought to prevent provincial regulations from applying on reserves and to allow First Nations to share in the revenue that will be generated by legalizing the production and distribution of cannabis. The move followed recommendations from the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples to delay the implementation of the legislation until Indigenous peoples have been properly consulted.

What was much more surprising was the decision of the Trudeau government to exclude Indigenous governments from the cannabis regime in the first place.

As recent Senate hearings have shown, First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders have presented compelling testimony that they were left out of the engagement and deliberation on the legislation, both on the important and related public health issues and on how the laws governing cannabis will be administered in the future. This assertion seems to have been validated by the Minister of Health when, in response to a question from Senator Scott Tannas, she was unable to state even one change the government had made to its draft legislation as a result of engagement with Indigenous peoples.

Read More:

Media advisory: Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen to Meet with Aboriginal Students in Quebec

Longueuil, Quebec, May 22, 2018 — On Wednesday, May 23, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen will be meeting with a group of seventh and eighth graders at a Kahnawake school to talk about his career and space exploration and to answer their questions.

Media representatives are invited to attend the event at the school.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Time What Who Where
9:00 a.m. (ET) Presentation on an astronaut career Jeremy Hansen, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Kahnawake Survival School
Route 132 East
Kahnawake, QC J0L 1B0

– 30 –

Contact information

Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
Telephone: 450-926-4370


New Government of Canada fund to help reduce climate change impacts and better protect Canadians against natural disasters

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

May 18, 2018 – Gatineau, Quebec

Investing in disaster mitigation and adaptation infrastructure projects to strengthen communities against the effects of climate change is critical to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Canadians, promoting economic growth, and strengthening the middle class.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, was at the Hull Marina to help announce the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. This 10-year national program will invest $2 billion in projects that help communities better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, seismic events, and droughts. This announcement follows the official launch yesterday, in Calgary, by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi.

The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund will support large-scale infrastructure projects with a minimum cost of $20 million. Such projects include diversion channels, wetland restorations, wildfire barriers, and setback levees.

These projects will safeguard public health and safety, protect people’s homes, make sure access to essential services is not interrupted, and help communities protect their residents’ quality of life.

Applicants wishing to be considered for funding under the program will have until July 31, 2018, to submit an expression of interest to Infrastructure Canada. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, provinces and territories; municipal and regional governments; Canadian public or not-for-profit post-secondary institutions that partner with a Canadian municipality; and band councils and First Nation, Inuit, or Métis governments.

For the full eligibility list and other program details, visit the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund website.


“The effects of climate change are devastating to communities and the economy. Now more than ever, we need to take measures to reduce the potential impacts of natural disasters related to climate change. Here in Canada’s National Capital Region and across the country, we are experiencing more extreme weather, such as the recent flooding in Ottawa-Gatineau. Helping Canadians to adapt to the impacts of climate change and build resilience is a pillar of Canada’s climate plan. Today’s launch of the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund will allow Canadian communities to be better prepared for climate change impacts, and it will ensure essential community services remain in place.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi

Quick facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada will invest more than $180 billion over 12 years in public-transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund will support large-scale disaster mitigation and adaptation projects with a minimum eligible cost of $20 million, which help ensure continuous essential services and reduce the potential impacts of severe weather and other natural hazards.
  • From 1983 to 2004, insurance claims in Canada from severe-weather events totalled almost $400 million a year. In the past decade, that amount tripled to more than $1 billion a year.

Related products

Associated links


Caroline Thériault
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)


New federal funding of over $650,000 will help improve women’s economic security in Québec

From: Status of Women Canada

Projects will help secure a better future for women by removing major barriers to economic stability in the region

May 18, 2018 – Québec City, QC – Status of Women Canada

The Government is committed to advancing gender equality and creating more opportunities for women in all aspects of Canadian life. By investing in projects that improve women’s economic security, we are helping to ensure that women, their families and communities can prosper.

Women continue to be disproportionately affected by economic insecurity. In 2015, women in Canada earned just 87 cents for every dollar earned by men. They are also much more likely to work on a part-time basis, making up 76% of all part-time workers, with 25% of women reporting childcare responsibilities as their reason for working part-time.

On behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Québec, today announced Government of Canada funding for projects that will increase women’s economic security in Québec.

The Corporation de développement économique communautaire ( CDÉC) de Québec will receive $325,972 in funding for their project, “ Women in Business” , which will address the systemic barriers facing women entrepreneurs in Québec City, such as sexism and unequal access to investors, market opportunities, and business networks. Through this project, CDÉC de Québec will work with three main organizations – Québec City’s entrepreneur division, Fonds d’emprunt Québec and Entrepreneuriat Laval – to integrate Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in their programs and policies to identify and close the gaps between women and men entrepreneurs.

The Regroupement des groupes de femmes de la région de la Capitale-Nationale (RGF-CN) will receive $325,810 in funding for their project, “Advocating for Women Outside the Workforce”. Working with partners, RGF-CN will conduct a needs assessment of diverse women excluded from the job market because of issues such as housing access and job integration in the Québec City-Portneuf-Charlevoix region. This project will identify priorities and provide recommendations for concrete solutions to improve the economic security of women in the region.

In October 2017, Status of Women Canada invited organizations to propose projects that support women’s economic security across Canada by addressing some of the root causes of inequality, including barriers such as access to child care, pay inequity and the gender wage gap. Through this call for proposals, entitled Support for Women’s Economic Security, more than 30 projects have been approved for a total of $10 million in funding. Approved projects will unfold over a period of three years.This funding builds on our ongoing efforts to support women’s economic empowerment and advance gender equality for all Canadians.


“When women are without good jobs and stable incomes, we all bear the costs and consequences. Investing in the middle class and those working hard to join it means investing in women’s economic security so they, their families, and their communities can prosper. Our government knows that when we invest in women, we strengthen the economy for everyone, and that’s why these projects are so important: they are creating the right conditions for women to thrive in their careers – and their lives. By funding organizations that will target the barriers holding women back, we are ensuring that all Canadians – regardless of gender – have a real and fair chance at success.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Status of Women

“We are unwavering in our commitment to advancing gender equality, and these projects are an example of how community-level action can lead to significant changes for women in Canada. These new projects will address the barriers women face in achieving economic stability, creating a brighter future for the women, their families and their community of Québec and helping them achieve their full potential.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Member of Parliament for Québec

“Business support structures like CDEC increase a business’s chance of survival. Although women are becoming entrepreneurs in greater numbers than men, they remain under-represented in the supply chain. This new funding will allow us to help break down the barriers faced by women entrepreneurs in Québec, so that they may take advantage of opportunities that exist and create successful, thriving businesses.”

Rosie Belley, Board member|
Corporation de développement économique communautaire (CDÉC) de Québec

“When structures and institutions take into account the needs and experiences of women who are distanced or excluded from the job market, there is greater potential for improving their economic security. With this funding, we will be able to assess the needs of women in our region and develop recommendations for concrete solutions that address existing barriers, from housing access to job integration.”

Nancy Beauseigle, Executive Director
Regroupement des groupes de femmes de la région de la Capitale-Nationale

Quick facts

  • RBC Economics estimates that adding more women to the workforce could boost the level of Canada’s GDP by as much as 4 per cent.
  • McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by taking steps to advance equality for women –such as employing more women in technology and boosting women’s participation in the workforce – Canada could add $150 billion to its economy by 2026.
  • Projects are being funded through the call for proposals, Support for Women’s Economic Security, which was announced in October 2017.
  • Economic security is composed of basic social security, defined by access to basic needs such as health, education and housing.
  • More than 30 projects will receive a total of approximately $10 million in funding under this call for proposals.
  • Funded projects address institutional barriers to women’s economic security including access to child care, pay inequity and the gender wage gap.
  • The Women’s Program at Status of Women Canada supports eligible organizations to carry out projects to advance equality by addressing systemic barriers.

Related products

Associated links


Célia Canon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Status of Women|

Valérie Haché
Communications Officer
Status of Women Canada


AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says UN Human Rights Council Report Shows Need for Action and Partnership to End Discrimination in Canada and Uphold First Nations Rights

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says UN Human Rights Council Report Shows Need for Action and Partnership to End Discrimination in Canada and Uphold First Nations Rights

OTTAWA, May 17, 2018 – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde’s said the report by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review examining Canada’s human rights record highlights the need for action to end discrimination against First Nations in Canada’s laws, policies and actions.

“It’s clear that the world is aware of the work Canada needs to do to improve the lives of First Nations peoples and to honour, uphold and implement our rights,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “Indigenous peoples are referenced many times in the recommendations and observations from states, including the need to end discrimination in Canada’s laws, policies and the country as a whole. Actions to ensure safety and security for Indigenous women and girls were brought forward numerous times, reinforcing our point that we can and must act now and not wait for the work of the National Inquiry. The only way we can achieve all these important goals is to work together using the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as our guide.”

The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, established in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, held its thirtieth session in May of this year and the review of Canada took place on May 11. Canada’s delegation was headed by the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. The Working Group adopted the report on Canada on May 15.

The report includes a number of recommendations from states that point to ending discrimination and racism against Indigenous peoples in Canada, and calls for Canada to adopt or implement a number of human rights mechanisms. The report also includes a number of “Voluntary Pledges and Commitments” made by Canada. These include commitments to improve services delivered to Indigenous peoples; addressing violence against Indigenous women and girls; recognizing housing as a human right and co-developing distinctions-based approaches to First Nations, Métis and Inuit housing; and ending all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations by March 2021.

AFN has repeatedly called on Canada to act on its statements of unqualified support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by ensuring the passage of Bill C-262 and explicitly renouncing the racist doctrines of discovery and terra nullius by addressing their impacts in all policy and law.

The National Chief noted a commitment by Canada to enhancing federal-provincial-territorial collaboration on human rights implementation through the creation of a “senior intergovernmental mechanism” did not include a reference to involving First Nations.

AFN National Chief Bellegarde stated: “Any senior intergovernmental mechanism must include First Nations and Indigenous peoples as full partners. The denial of our rights created many of the problems we’re dealing with today. We’re an essential part of the solution to a stronger, more fair and just country. This is our right and it is the right way to advance this work.”

The 44 written stakeholder submissions to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that the same recommendations have been made repeatedly to Canada yet little progress had been made. The Canadian Human Rights Commission indicated that the current system for implementation of Canada’s international human rights obligations were inadequate and ineffective. During the review, over 70% of interventions referenced Canada’s obligation to address inequality facing Indigenous peoples and more than 1/3 of the recommendations focused on Indigenous peoples. Canada is required to provide responses to report no later than the thirty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2018.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For further information: or for media requests, please contact: Jamie Monastyrski, Press Secretary, National Chief’s Office, 343-540-6179 (cell),; Monica Poirier, Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-290-0706 (cell),


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