TORONTO – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) have renewed their agreement to work together in a spirit of collaboration and partnership to address anti-Indigenous discrimination across Ontario and to support urban Indigenous self-determination. This is the second renewal of an agreement originally signed in 2017.
The OFIFC and OHRC are committed to working together to advance reconciliation and substantive equality. It is mutually understood that consistent respect for, and the meaningful advancement of, Indigenous peoples’ human rights is central to reconciliation.
The OHRC and OFIFC will continue to share information and data, engage with urban Indigenous people on policy development, and collaborate on initiatives to build human rights knowledge in urban Indigenous communities. They will coordinate provincial advocacy in key areas such as health care, child welfare, violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, racial under-policing and over-policing, the over-representation of Indigenous people in the provincial corrections system and continued efforts to bring the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into greater focus in addressing Indigenous human rights in Ontario.
This agreement aligns with the OHRC’s commitment to develop and sustain trusting relationships with Indigenous communities built on dignity and respect and to engage Indigenous leaders and community members to identify and advance human rights priorities and actions. Over 85 per cent of Indigenous people in Ontario live in urban areas. This partnership helps connect the OHRC to urban Indigenous communities and to Friendship Centres which are the primary providers of culture-based services in urban settings.
“Addressing systemic discrimination experienced by urban Indigenous people is critical work that we can not let up in advancing. Everyday Indigenous people in urban centres continue to experience harm due to racism and discrimination in accessing healthcare, housing, employment and more. The formalization of our relationship with the OHRC is welcome, and we look forward to building on six years of collaborative work grounded in reconciliation,” said OFIFC CEO Gertie Mai Muise.
“The OHRC is pleased to renew this important collaboration and partnership with the OFIFC, which has helped the OHRC to better understand and take steps to address systemic discrimination experienced by Indigenous people living in cities, towns, and rural areas across Ontario,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Patricia DeGuire.
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Senior Strategic Communications Advisor
Communications & Issues Management
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Chief Engagement Officer
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC)