(Toronto, ON, September 25, 2020) On September 23, 2020, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne opening the second session of the 43rd Parliament of Canada.

“We recognize that the announcements within the Speech from the Throne, delivered by Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette, outline the government’s ongoing priorities, many of which impact First Nations in Ontario,” said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald.

Amongst these announcements were specific commitments to continue walking the shared path of reconciliation by advancing work on legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; continued work on safe drinking water and elimination of all long-term drinking water advisories.

“I want to remind Prime Minister Trudeau that almost half of 133 First Nations communities in Ontario are under Boil Water Advisories (BWAs) and four communities have Do Not Consume orders. The original target date to end all BWAs was March 2021. We will clearly not reach this goal. Therefore, we need accelerated and increased funding to ensure that this basic human right is met for First Nations in Ontario.

We support these commitments; however, the path forward requires a deliberate, targeted approach grounded in partnership and collaboration with First Nations. The government must begin by addressing the clear social and infrastructure gaps that disproportionately affect First Nations citizens and communities. Further, we ask for concrete actions to truly address economic and social inequities that have been highlighted by the pandemic.

For us to emerge from this crisis as a more equitable society, it requires a renewed focus on advancing Indigenous rights and sovereignty, eliminating systemic racism, structural oppression and marginalization from the federal government, and a transparent national strategy that will deliver tangible results.

It is encouraging to see the federal government acknowledge the unique burdens placed on women during this time, including the disproportionately high number of jobs lost and increased caregiving demands. I am heartened by the investment for women in the economy and an increase in the Youth Employment and Skills strategy, which will allow additional opportunities for our young leaders.

As we move forward, we are committed to engaging in constructive conversations alongside First Nations leadership in Ontario, leading to an improved Nation-to-Nation and government-to-government relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations in Ontario. During this unprecedented time, we will continue to persevere and keep the curve flattened to preserve the health, well-being, and lives of First Nations citizens.”

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald

-30-

The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario

Media Contact:
Genna Benson
Communications Officer
Chiefs of Ontario
Telephone: 416-523-4020
Email: Genna.Benson@coo.org