Tikinagan welcomes expanded authority in Thunder Bay District
Posted: February 3rd, 2020
From: Tikinagan Chiefs Committee
Tikinagan Child and Family Services welcomes expanded authority in Thunder Bay District
Decision allows Tikinagan to serve families from its 30 First Nations
Sioux Lookout, Ontario – February 3, 2020 – Tikinagan Child and Family Services welcomes the decision of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to allow the agency to provide child protection services to families from their area First Nations who reside in, or are visiting, the Thunder Bay district.
The Ministry advised Tikinagan of the decision on the Thunder Bay designation on August 20, 2019. Tikinagan was issued its new designation on November 29, 2019 which authorized Tikinagan to begin offering child protection services in Thunder Bay on January 30, 2020.
“This is a ground-breaking decision as its effect is to expand the geographical designation of Tikinagan to provide child protection services to our Indigenous children and families in Thunder Bay,” said Chief Chris Kakegamic, a member of the Tikinagan Chiefs’ Committee and Chief of Keewaywin First Nation.
The 30 First Nations in northwestern Ontario served by Tikinagan have wanted their families in Thunder Bay to be served by Tikinagan for almost two decades. The Tikinagan Chiefs’ Committee, representing these First Nations, has been asking for this expanded designation since 2013.
The Chiefs’ Committee was in lengthy discussions with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding the collective First Nations’ demand that their chosen child protection service provider, Tikinagan, serve their families in Thunder Bay. They insisted that Tikinagan’s designation be expanded so that the agency can provide child protection and related services to their children and family members who are residing in, or visiting, the entire district and city of Thunder Bay.
“We thank the Ministry for listening to the voices of Tikinagan’s 30 First Nations and recognizing that we are the agency that should be serving our own people no matter where they are,” said Kakegamic. “It is clearly better for children and families at risk to have closer connections with the extended family, the community, the First Nation leadership and the specific First Nation culture so that their best interests can be served.”
“We are happy that the Ontario government has finally recognized our inherent right to look after our children wherever they may be,” said Chief Donny Morris, a spokesperson for the Chiefs’ Committee and Chief of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. Citing section 35(1) of the Constitution, he added, “This is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution as part of the supreme law of Canada.”
Chief Lorraine Crane, Board Chair of Tikinagan and Chief of Slate Falls Nation, emphasized: “It’s all about the children. We have every confidence that Tikinagan, guided by the Chiefs of the 30 member First Nations, our Elders and our youth, will deliver the customary care to which our children and families are entitled.”
Marc-Nicholas Martin-Paulichenko, Communications
Tikinagan Child & Family Services
(807) 737-7400 ext 2252