2021-22 Operating Context

The Government of Canada created Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to aid in reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. ISC supports the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership as part of the journey towards reconciliation. The goal of ISC is to improve access to high-quality services, socio-economic conditions, quality of life, and safety for Indigenous communities. ISC aims to support and empower Indigenous people to control delivery of their services. This approach advances self-determination and self-government of Indigenous Peoples and is threaded into ISC's mandate to transition program and service delivery to Indigenous governments and organizations.

Historically, Indigenous Peoples have experienced disadvantages through the context of systemic and institutional racism. Acknowledgement and redress are required to advance a reconciliation agenda with Indigenous partners. ISC will continue to advance reconciliation and help Indigenous communities to fulfill their inherent right as a self-determining nation.

In 2021–22, ISC will work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to focus on advancing health, supporting families, helping build sustainable communities, and supporting Indigenous communities in self-determination.

ISC will bolster these efforts through supporting Indigenous agency in the design and delivery of services. This will ensure that the needs and concerns of Indigenous people are recognized, providing support from the individual level through the family, community, and nation. ISC actively tailors its programs and services through co-development to fit the specific needs and cultural circumstances of each distinct community, wherever possible. In providing essential services, the department must provide sufficient, stable, and predictable funding. Funding facilitates a successful transfer of program and service delivery to Indigenous organizations. It also closes socio-economic gaps and advances substantive equality.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity and urgency of this important work. The pandemic has exposed challenges in the access to and provision of health care service delivery. These measures aim to improve the health and socio-economic outcomes of Indigenous communities. Flexible, Indigenous-led measures to improve the health and socio-economic outcomes of Indigenous communities enables those communities to address the specific needs they have identified, in recognition of their right to self-determination.

These efforts are only the beginning. In partnership, ISC and Indigenous Peoples will shape the composition of, and services offered by ISC, all while recognizing the rights of Indigenous peoples and the distinctions among First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nations and communities. The goal is Indigenous-led design, delivery, and control of services.

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