Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Child Welfare Initiative
Link to Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Link to Manitoba Metis Federation Link to Manitoba Keewatinow Okimakinak Link to Province of Manitoba

NOTE: - This document was prepared to provide an orientation to Phase 1 of the AJI-CWI, as well as the overall AJI-CWI. Excerpts of this document appear on other pages of this web site.

The AJI and AJIC - Background

The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry was commissioned in 1988 to examine the relationship between the Aboriginal peoples of Manitoba and the justice system. The report was tabled in 1991 and included an analysis and observations regarding the historical treatment of Aboriginal people by the social service system and, in particular, the child welfare system of the province. The inquiry stated that the Aboriginal peoples of Manitoba were not well-served by the existing system and made several recommendations regarding the child welfare system;

  • Establish the office of Child Protector, as recommended by Judge Kimelman, to protect the interests of children, to investigate any complaint into the practices of any child welfare agency and to be responsible to the Legislature.
  • Provide Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal child and family services agencies with sufficient resources to enable them to provide a full range of direct and preventive services mandated by The Child and Family Services Act.
  • That federal and provincial governments provide resources to Aboriginal agencies to develop policies, standards, protocols and procedures, and to expand a computer system that will permit them to communicate effectively, track cases and share information.
  • That Principle 11 of The Child and Family Services Act be amended to read: "Aboriginal people are entitled to the provision of child and family services in a manner which respects their unique status, and their cultural and linguistic heritage."
  • Establish a mandated province-wide Metis agency.
  • Expand the authority of existing Indian agencies to enable them to offer services to band members living off-reserve.
  • Establish an Aboriginal child and family services agency in the city of Winnipeg to handle all Aboriginal cases.

In 1999, the Government of Manitoba announced a commitment to implement the AJI’s recommendations. Additionally, the provincial government established the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission to advise the government on methods of implementing recommendations of the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (1991).

The Commission prioritized issues of family and child welfare and recommended that:

"The Government of Manitoba seek to enter into agreement with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Metis Federation to develop a plan that would result in First Nations and Metis communities developing and delivering Aboriginal child welfare services."

The Commission makes this recommendation now because we understand that both the Government and Aboriginal representatives are willing to take such action and because of the importance of children and families.

The Framework agreement between the Federal Government and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs highlights child welfare as does the tripartite agreement between the Manitoba Government, the Federal Government, and the Manitoba Metis Federation. Since the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples has also recognized the importance of the area by making a range of recommendations in its final report in 1995."

Through negotiations with First Nations and Metis representatives, the Province of Manitoba signed three separate three-year agreements (Memoranda of Understanding) with the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) (Feb. 22, 2000) representing the Metis; the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) (April 27, 2000) representing southern First Nations; and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) (July 20, 2000) representing northern First Nations. All four parties subsequently signed the Child and Family Services Protocol.  The overall purpose of these agreements is to establish a partnership initiative under a common process to expand off-reserve jurisdiction for First Nations, establish a province-wide Metis mandate and restructure the existing child care system through legislative and other changes.

The Joint Management Committee: Roles, Responsibilities and Composition

As part of the MOU, all three signatories and the Province formed a Joint Management Committee to produce and oversee implementation of a detailed plan to restructure Manitoba’s child and family services system based on the recommendations of the AJI report. As set out in the MOU the responsibilities of the Joint Management Committee are as follows;

  1. overseeing the development of the implementation plan;
  2. creating and directing a sub-committee of the JMC, entitled the Implementation Committee;
  3. establishing working groups as may be appropriate;
  4. setting terms of reference, timelines and monitoring the implementation process;
  5. ensuring that there is consultation with key stakeholders during the development of the implementation plan; and
  6. executing the implementation plan as directed by the parties.

The vision of the Joint Management Committee is:

A child and family services system that recognizes and supports the rights of children to develop within safe and healthy families and communities, and recognizes that First Nation and Metis peoples have unique authority, rights and responsibilities to honour and care for their children.

From this vision, the JMC has developed the following mission statement:

To have a jointly coordinated child and family services system with three distinct mandates (First Nation, Metis and non-Aboriginal); that is community-based; and reflects and incorporates the cultures of First Nation, Metis, and non-Aboriginal peoples.

The Joint Management Committee is comprised of the following representatives selected by the signatories to the MOUs:

  • Two provincial government representatives
    • One representative from the Department of Family Services and Housing
    • One representative from the Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs
  • One representative from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
  • One representative Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak
  • Two representatives from the Manitoba Metis Federation
  • One portfolio Chief selected by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
  • One Metis woman selected by the Manitoba Metis Federation
  • One representative of Winnipeg Child and Family Services

This nine-person membership reflects a commitment to a balance in representation among government, First Nations and Metis stakeholders.

To date, the Joint Management Committee has reached agreement on the following items:

  • The process for the development of a plan for the restructuring of the child and family services system
  • A March 31, 2001 target date for the completion of the proposed plan
  • The creation of an Implementation Committee
  • The sub-division of the key technical areas for the development of the plan into seven Working Groups comprised of an equal representation of the signatories
  • A December 21st, 2000 target date for delivery plans and recommendations from each of the seven Working Groups

The Implementation Committee

Reflecting the same balanced representation as the Joint Management Committee, the Implementation Committee is composed of the representatives of the four signatories to the MOUs. The Implementation Committee is responsible for the overall coordination and management of the Working Groups. Importantly, the Implementation Committee has responsibility for consolidating the workplans emerging from the Working Groups into a single cohesive workplan that is submitted to the Joint Management Committee, and from there, to the leadership of the parties.

 The Working Groups

  1. Research
  2. Interjurisdictional/Intersectoral
  3. Financial
  4. Human Resources
  5. Service Delivery
  6. Legislation
  7. Technology

The core membership of the Working Groups is composed of the same balanced representation as the Joint Management Committee and the Implementation Committee. However, the Working Groups are also tasked to consult with the various external/internal groups who will/may be affected by the restructuring of the child and family services system. The Working Groups can also invite external expertise.

The Scope of the Working Groups

The tasks of the Working Groups include:

  • research and analyze the features of the current CFS system that will be affected by the restructuring;
  • prepare and present options for redesigning and restructuring the child and family system;
  • document and model the principal features and characteristics of the restructured system, including the impacts upon service delivery, costs, human resources, and external agencies;
  • present options and/or strategies for managing organizational and human resource change, and
  • prepare reports for the Implementation Committee.

 Individual Working Group Focus – In Brief

  1. Research
  2. Preparation of baseline data describing providers and users of the CFS system in Manitoba including; resources and assets, staffing, funding models, statistics and indicators, and demographics populations of Metis and First Nations peoples; a description of needs of Metis and First Nations families; ientification of other models of ‘best practice’ from other jurisdictions.

  3. Interjurisdictional / Intersectoral
  4. The identification of interjurisdictional/intersectoral issues as these relate to the restructuring of the child and family services system and identification of options for resolution; review of policies, funding models and other relevant aspects regarding the delivery of CFS to Metis and First Nations peoples and analysis of their impact upon these peoples; an analysis of the linkages and jurisdictional barriers between the CFS system and other sectors (i.e., Justice, Education, Health Canada).

  5. Financial
  6. Description of current funding models and formulas; description of the current level of resources allocated to the CFS system and collateral providers; description of new funding models and visions that promote the development and restoration of families and the devolution of funding decision-making; identification of options to develop appropriate and adequate funding options.

  7. Human Resources
  8. The identification of issues surrounding education, training, human resources, and unions including ideas of staffing models and educational programs that may need to be developed or revamped; provide options for a workplace adjustment strategy, including identification of workplace retraining options and redeployment options; an analysis of the impact of licensing, accreditation and liability insurance issues; identify staffing resources necessary for newly mandated areas; compile a database of existing staffing resources who may become part of new agencies.

  9. Service Delivery
  10. Develop a model for the provision of integrated intake and assessment services, including a proposal for shared governance, that reflects the specific nature of the communities where it is being applied; develop specific proposals for innovative prevention and early intervention programs emphasizing a holistic approach; develop protocols and service agreements that may be used with collateral care providers to formalize their relationship to the systems; develop recommendations for funding formulas to be submitted to the finance Working Group.

  11. Legislation
  12. Concentrate on the required changes to existing legislation The Child and Family Services Act and The Adoptions Act; include a detailed analysis of the current legislation and its impact, including those sections that must be changed to enable the creation of new mandatesl propose changes to The Acts to incorporate a renewed focus on holistic programs, prevention and early intervention, as well as non-adversarial options; identify changes to Foster Care Regulations and Residential Care Licensing Regulations due to the restructuring process; identify consequential amendments that may be necessary as a result of recommendations.

  13. Technology
    Description of an integrated system which links on-line registries as required and appropriate, including security measures and protection for legacy systems; dcriptions of functionality, including case management and financial management; strategic considerations of infrastructure, integration, initial release and presentation of options for future development on all technology related issues.

A Means of Inclusion

The AJI – Child Welfare Initiative has several means by which the public and key stakeholders are heard and involved in the development of a restructuring plan. Not the least of these means is the foundation of public consultations conducted by the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. The invitations from the Working Groups to the various key stakeholders and experts also play a prominent role in bringing in outside consultation. Each of the four signatories also have their own mechanisms for including and consulting their constituent base.

To further enhance these different means of inclusion, the AJI – Child Welfare Initiative invites interested parties to submit written recommendations on specific issues for the restructuring to the Implementation Committee by December 1st, 2000.

Written submissions can be sent to:

The Implementation Committee

Aboriginal Justice Inquiry – Child Welfare Initiative

c/o 216-114 Garry Street

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4V4

Contact Information:

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
Trudy Lavallee
2nd Floor - 260 St. Mary Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0M6
(204) 956-0610

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak
Winnipeg Sub-Office
Colin Kinsella
201-274 Smith Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 1K1
(204) 987-7500

Manitoba Metis Federation
John Lussier
3rd Floor - 150 Henry Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0J7
(204) 586-8474

Province Of Manitoba
Family Services and Housing
Patrick Falconer
216-114 Garry Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4V4
(204) 945-6731

You can also obtain further details by calling our central information line at 945-1183. If you live outside Winnipeg, please call our toll-free number at 1 866 300-7503.


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