About the OFIFC – Indigenous Youth Council

The OFIFC Indigenous Youth Council (OFIFC – IYC) progressively works to increase youth involvement within Friendship Centres. The OFIFC – IYC provides youth representation at a provincial level, supports the needs and growth of urban Indigenous youth, and works to create opportunities for youth to succeed. Well also maintaining strong relationships with Elders, traditional people, mentors, each other, and the local communities.

The OFIFC – IYC commit to assisting in the planning and organization of the Annual Youth Gathering, and other Youth initiatives. Those activities allow the OFIFC – IYC to address the youth concerns, issues and wants as identified by the communities and the council members. Council members will also be responsible for producing regional reports, promoting, and advocating for youth leadership, as well as maintaining communications with the OFIFC Board of Directors, the Friendship Centres, and the Urban Indigenous Youth.

Members will also participate in trainings, represent the IYC in both internal and external committees, and taking part in other networking opportunities. The OFIFC – IYC continues to offer many opportunities to grow and develop the youth within the Friendship Centre movement.

Governance

The OFIFC – IYC is an eight-member council, that is elected yearly at the Annual Youth Gathering held in July. There are two regional representatives from each region, with one of the regional representatives (from each region) to sit on the OFIFC Board of Directors. Four members hold the Regional Representative positions which are elected by the Youth membership on a bi-annual base. The other four members hold Executive Committee positions and are elected by their fellow council members on a yearly base.

Regional Representatives Responsibilities

  • Regional Representatives Responsibilities
  • Attend meetings via conference calls, and in-person meetings
  • Attend and actively participate in all OFIFC – IYC meetings.
  • Ensuring youth concerns and issues are be identified and addressed.
  • Maintain communications with IYC Executive Committee and the provincial youth members.
  • Provide written and verbal reports
  • Provide and promote youth related initiatives happening at local
  • Friendship Centre.

Regional Representatives Responsibilities

  • Shall act with the full delegated authority of the full council in between meeting when necessary.

  • Liaison between the IYC and the OFIFC Board of Directors.
  • Attend all general and executive meetings.
  • Provide reports to the OFIFC Board of Directors.
  • Keep council updates on Executive activities
  • Address concerns and related business as it arises within a timely manner
  • Made up of four positions, each with specific roles and responsibilities:
  • Communication Liaison, Northern Co Chair, Southern Co Chair, and Youth Executive
    Regional RepresentativeNameFriendship Centre
    Southwest Regional RepresentativeJames SchloniesM’wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre
    Southwest Regional Representative –
    OFIFC Youth Board Member
    Nolan HeinoBarrie Native Friendship Centre
    Southeast Regional RepresentativeVACANTVACANT
    Southeast Regional Representative –
    OFIFC Youth Board Member
    Claudia MenessOdawa Native Friendship Centre
    Northwest Regional RepresentativeVACANTVACANT
    Northwest Regional Representative –
    OFIFC Youth Board Member
    Martin CheechooThunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre
    Northeast Regional RepresentativeVACANTVACANT
    Executive CommitteeName
    Southern Co – ChairJames Schlonies
    Northern Co – ChairVACANT
    Communication LiaisonNolan Heino
    Youth Executive (OFIFC Executive Committee Member)Martin Cheechoo

    History of the IYC

    The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) Indigenous Youth Council (IYC) conception began in 2002-2003. A youth steering committee (SC) was created develop the youth council. The SC had decided that the council would be structure but without hierarchal positions. Thia was to ensure the inclusive of all youth and allow each position to be equally important. The SC held the responsibility to develop the original OFIFC-IYC Terms of Reference, which includes the mission statement, mandate, goals and objectives, definitions/abbreviations, membership qualifications, standards of performance, commitment to responsibilities, and the elections process. The SC acted as a resource for a one-year period and was dissolved once the first OFIFC-IYC Executive Committee was elected.

    The OFIFC – IYC has not been without its ups and downs and 2019 an executive decision was made by the OFIFC-IYC stating current operations would be placed on hold for one year, which extended into a two-year restructuring phase. A restructuring committee (IYRC) was formed to assist in the re- development of the provincial youth council as well as aid in youth engagement at the provincial and local level as well as to support the development of local youth councils. The IYRC was dissolved in July of 2020, after the election of the new IYC members.

    Over the years many different youth leaders have come and gone throughout the years. Many Youth involved with the OFIFC – IYC have gone onto bigger and better opportunities and continue to support their local communities. Currently the OFIFC – IYC continues to advocate for the Youth voice, provide funding opportunities to communities, creates networking and training opportunities for the Youth, supports the development of local Indigenous Youth council and supports ongoing youth initiatives within the Friendship Centre movement.