Tungasuvvingat Inuit becomes Ontario Children, Youth & Family Designate Service Provider on July 1st
On April 1, 2018, the Ontario Government implemented Ontario’s Children, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA), that for the first time recognized Inuit of Ontario an distinct from First Nations. The CYFSA includes regulation-making authority to establish lists of First Nations, Inuit or Metis communities.
Effective July 1, 2019, Inuit will be listed under the CYFSA with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatarni (ITK) becoming the “listed community” and Tunganuvvingat Inuit (TI) acting as the designate to fulfill the responsibilities of the listed community. As the listed community, ITK will receive notifications when an Inuk child in Ontario comes into contact with a children’s aid society. Information will be directly and automatically provided to TI, which will endeavour to coordinate culturally relevant services for the child or children.
Executive Director Jason LeBlanc stated, “TI is eager to better support Inuit children and families across Ontario and to strengthen the capacity of organizations to improve the outcomes for Inuit children outside of Inuit Nunangat. The collection of data is critical to improving supports and getting a true picture of vulnerable Inuit children in the child welfare system.”
The changes to CYFSA establish an opportunity to gather data however, limit the ability to create long-lasting meaningful change for children in the system. LeBlanc added, ‘There are significant funding limitations from all levels of government that highlight significant gaps. Much of this is due to under-resourcing and the means to provide support for the families. As a consequence of the shortfall in funding, the ability to deliver on the scope of work required for the families will be limited. The children and the families are our main concern and with agencies indicating woefully underestimated numbers of the Inuit population now residing outside of Inuit Nunangat, the needs far outweigh the supports. TI will work to ensure these eanential services are available while also continuing to identify opportunities for improvements and real change for the families.
” The President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Natan Obed stated, “This is an important step in ensuring that Inuit children and farnilies navigating Ontario’s child welfare system receive Inuit-specific services and that Inuit organizations are able to collect data related to Inuit children in care in Ontario and make better-informed policy decisions.”