You Wanted to Know - Federal Programs and Services for Registered Indians


Table of Contents

Who Is Eligible to Receive Benefits?

The answer is in the federal Indian Act. It defines an Indian as "a person who, pursuant to this Act, is registered as an Indian or is entitled to be registered as an Indian." To be eligible to receive benefits under the Indian Act, individuals must be registered in the Indian Register, which is maintained by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND). The recognition by the federal government of persons registered under the Indian Act is referred to as Registered Indian Status. Please note that most of the benefits mentioned in this booklet do not apply to Non-Status Indians Ñ individuals of First Nation ancestry who are not registered under the Indian Act.

Knowing which programs and policies apply to you may be difficult. Social legislation varies across the ten provinces and three territories and so do the services available to Canadians in general and to Aboriginal people in particular. What you are eligible for depends largely on where you live.

You can, however, find out about specific benefits provided by the federal government by contacting regional and district offices of DIAND, Health Canada (contact information is listed at the end of this document) or First Nation offices and tribal councils.

Who Is Eligible for Registration?

Over the years, there have been many rules for deciding who is eligible for registration as an Indian under the Indian Act. Important changes were made to the Act in June 1985, when Parliament passed Bill C-31, An Act to Amend the Indian Act, to bring it into line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The amendments:

  • repeal discriminatory provisions of the Act, such as those related to gender, marriage and enfranchisement
  • restore status and membership to persons who lost their status under previous legislation
  • give First Nations the option of assuming control of their membership

If you are in one of the following categories, you may be able to restore your status as a Registered Indian:

  • women who lost their status by marrying a man who was not a Status Indian
  • children who lost their status because of their mother's marriage
  • most people who were enfranchised (agreed to give up their status)
  • children who lost their status at age 21 because their mother and their father's mother did not have status under the Indian Act before marriage
  • children of unmarried women with status under the Act whose registration was successfully protested because their father did not have status under the Act

You may also be eligible to be registered as an Indian if one or both of your parents are eligible for registration.

To find out more about eligibility for registration under the Indian Act, contact your First Nation office or the nearest DIAND regional or district office.

How do I Apply for Registration?

Registration does not happen automatically.

For persons born on or after April 17, 1985:

  1. Obtain a certified copy of the child's birth registration that shows the names of the child's parents. This document can be obtained from the Division of Vital Statistics for the province or territory where the child was born.
  2. Write a letter that states that you wish to register the child as an Indian. Give the name of the parent with whom the child should be registered (children are registered with only one parent). Both parents must sign this letter.
  3. Send the copy of the birth registration and the letter to your First Nation office or to your nearest DIAND office.

For persons born before April 17, 1985:

  1. Obtain and fill out one of the following forms:
    • For a person who is 18 or older: the "Application for Registration of an Adult under the Indian Act."
    • For a person who is under 18 or for a person who is intellectually impaired: the "Application for Registration of Children under the Indian Act."
    Note: Both forms can be obtained from offices of DIAND, First Nations or Aboriginal associations and Aboriginal friendship centres.
  2. Include as much information as you can about the applicant's Aboriginal background and the name or location of the First Nation or First Nations to which the applicant's ancestors belonged. If you know the names of relatives who have been registered, you should include these also.
  3. Send the completed form to:

    Indian Registration and Band Lists
    Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
    Ottawa, Ontario
    KIA 0H4

If DIAND staff require more information, they will contact you by mail or telephone.

What are Treaty Rights?

First Nations signed treaties with British and, later, Canadian governments before and after Confederation in 1867. Although these treaties differed, they usually provided for certain rights and payments. Some of the older treaties, for example, included payments for ammunition, annuities, triennial clothing allowances (for Chiefs and Councillors), hunting, fishing and other benefits.

Your rights as an individual treaty Indian depend on the precise terms and conditions of your First Nation's treaty. Your First Nation council or DIAND office is the best place to learn more about the rights and benefits to which you may be entitled. You should know, however, that if you live in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta, your right to hunt, trap and fish, except for commercial purposes, is guaranteed by the Natural Resources Transfer Agreements, 1930.

Other rights are guaranteed by the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as by treaties. Registered Indians who live in the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are free to fish and hunt in all seasons throughout the territories. For further information, contact the Yukon Regional Manager of Lands and Trust Services, DIAND or the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) - Department of Renewable Resources.

Who is Eligible for Treaty Payments?

Your rights as an individual treaty Indian depend on the precise terms and conditions of your First Nation's treaty.

A person is entitled to annual treaty payments if he/ she is:

  • a Registered Status Indian; and
  • a member of, or affiliated with, a treaty band.

Who is Eligible for First Nation Funds?

You may have the right to a share of any money distributed to First Nation members from the capital and revenue moneys belonging to the First Nation. This money usually comes from oil and gas royalties or from the proceeds from land claims settlements.

Please contact your regional DIAND office or your First Nation council for more specific details.

Who Can Call the Reserve Their Home?

Land has been set aside for the use and benefit of the First Nation as a whole; individual First Nation members do not have a right of individual possession except by application of the Indian Act.* First Nation councils may enact residency by-laws that regulate on-reserve residency, but these by-laws cannot infringe on individual residency rights arising from the Indian Act.

While the majority of Registered Indians are members of a First Nation, it is important to note that not all Registered Indians are members of a First Nation. If your First Nation is one of the 250 First Nations that controls its own membership, you will have to apply directly to your First Nation for membership.

To learn more about your reserve rights and responsibilities, contact your First Nation council or the Regional Director of Lands and Trust Services (LTS), DIAND. For information on the nearest DIAND regional office, please refer to the end of this document and phone for more details.

Must Registered Indians Pay Taxes?

It depends. There are some situations in which Registered Indians do not pay taxes. Under sections 87 and 90 of the Indian Act, Registered Indians do not pay federal or provincial taxes on their personal and real property that is on a reserve. Personal property includes goods, services and income consistent with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) policies.

* In this document, when the term "First Nation" is used in the context of the Indian Act, it refers to an Indian Act band.

Since income is personal property, as a Registered (or entitled-to-be-registered) Indian, you may also be exempt from paying income tax on income earned on a reserve. For example, Registered Indians who work on a reserve do not pay federal or provincial taxes on their employment income. See the CRA's June 1994 guidelines of "Indian Exemption on Employment Income."

Registered Indians do not pay federal or provincial sales taxes on personal and real property on a reserve. The federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) does not apply to on-reserve goods or to those goods acquired by a Registered Indian off-reserve, if the goods are delivered to a reserve by the vendor or the vendor's agent. Most provincial sales taxes are applied in a similar fashion. Special provincial rules may apply to items such as automobiles and alcohol. For example, in some provinces, an automobile must be registered to a reserve address to be tax exempt. For more information, contact the relevant provincial tax authorities.

A pamphlet outlining how federal GST affects sales and purchases by Registered Indians is available from all CRA offices.

What About Social Assistance and Welfare Services?

Like all Canadian citizens, Registered Indians who meet the eligibility requirements may receive social assistance and social services. These programs are provided by federal, provincial, territorial, municipal or First Nation governments, depending on where recipients live.

Registered Indians are also eligible for the universal social security benefits provided by the federal government to all Canadians, such as the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Child Tax Benefit.

Your First Nation council or DIAND office can give you more details. In the Northwest Territories, contact the nearest office of the GNWT Department of Social Services.

What Sort of Housing Help Exists?

Registered Indians have several options for housing assistance from DIAND and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

DIAND provides funding to support on-reserve housing-related activities, including the construction of new houses and renovation of existing units. The program is administered by First Nation councils or their designated housing authorities who establish comprehensive, community-based housing plans to meet the needs of their members. These plans include the allocation of available funding, the establishment of programs, policies and procedures and the planning and implementation of housing projects.

Based on your income and assets, you may get financial help from a financial institution following established lending criteria to obtain, purchase or renovate on-reserve housing. Because on-reserve property cannot be mortgaged by a private lender, security may be provided through Ministerial loan guarantees with the consent of your First Nation council. CMHC provides operating subsidies to First Nation councils for non-profit rental housing through its On-Reserve Rental Housing Program (Section 95).

CMHC's Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) is available to on-and off-reserve residents renovating existing housing. The program is administered on reserves by the First Nation councils or their designated housing authorities. Off reserves, the program is operated by CMHC and/ or the provincial or territorial government in co-operation with CMHC.

You can learn more about these programs by contacting your First Nation council, the Regional Director of Funding Services, DIAND, or the nearest CMHC office. Information is also available on our Web site.

Please note that, in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, housing assistance is the responsibility of the territorial governments. For further information, contact the territorial government or the CMHC office in Yellowknife.

Is Education Provided?

Elementary and secondary educational services are available to Registered Indian children living on reserves through three education systems:

  • First Nation-operated schools on reserves
  • provincially-administered schools off reserves
  • federal schools operated by DIAND on reserves

DIAND provides financial assistance, through administering authorities such as First Nation councils, to eligible Registered Indian students enrolled in, or accepted to, eligible post-secondary education programs. DIAND also funds some programs designed for First Nation students at First Nation and post-secondary institutions.

Educational services for Registered Indians in the Yukon and Registered Indians and Inuit in the Northwest Territories are provided by the respective territorial governments. Registered Indians and Inuit in northern Quebec receive educational services from the province of Quebec under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

Details are available at your First Nation council office or from the Regional Director of Education, DIAND.

Is Help Available for Economic Development?

DIAND has developed a number of initiatives to encourage and promote economic development in First Nation communities. This programming pertains to the following three areas: community economic development, general business assistance and resource-based opportunities.

Community Economic Development:

  • Community Economic Development Program (CEDP) provides funding to First Nations, Inuit and Innu so they have the capacity (through Community Economic Development Organizations [CEDOs]) to plan for and pursue economic development opportunities.

CEDOs are the predominant economic development agents. They operate in 437 communities and provide support in a number of ways, including:

  • helping to develop community economic plans and strategies
  • providing advisory services
  • planning and facilitating business development projects
  • providing contributions, repayable contributions or loans to community members for training, business or resource development projects
  • investing equity positions in start-up enterprises or expansions
  • providing job-related training and employment programs
  • managing financial and technical services

General Business Assistance:

  • Opportunity Fund provides financial assistance to First Nations, Inuit and Innu to establish viable business enterprises. The program is delivered through First Nation and Inuit CEDOs that have submitted an acceptable business plan that documents an opportunity for the development of a viable business. The Opportunity Fund Program helps Aboriginal businesses to attract joint venture partners or secure conventional debt financing to take advantage of a business opportunity.

  • Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB) aims to increase the number of Aboriginal firms doing business with the federal government. The PSAB is open to Aboriginal businesses and joint ventures and can include sole proprietorship, limited company, co-operative, partnership or not-for-profit organizations. Aboriginal firms are encouraged to pursue federal contracts that are open to all qualified suppliers in addition to those that have been set aside for competition among qualified Aboriginal suppliers.

  • Aboriginal Resource Net is an online directory (developed by DIAND) of federal programs and funding sources available to assist Aboriginal people in developing new businesses or expanding existing ones.

Resource-based Opportunities:

  • Resource Access Negotiations funds First Nation and Inuit communities and their mandated organizations to negotiate benefit agreements with resource developers involved in major projects near reserve communities. Long-term employment, training, business contracts and other benefits result from the agreements.
  • Resources Acquisition Initiative assists First Nation and Inuit businesses, through matching equity, to acquire natural resource permits and licences and to finance business start-ups and expansion in the natural resources sector.
  • Federal-Provincial-Territorial Regional Partnerships Initiative (FPTP) is a flexible partnering fund that enables Aboriginal governments and Aboriginal community-owned and -controlled enterprises to participate more fully in partnership forums and initiatives with the private sector and other levels of government in major regional resource-based economic opportunities. The program typically assists Aboriginal participation in major opportunities in mining, forestry, eco-tourism and agriculture.

What Health Care Coverage is Available?

Health services for First Nations and Inuit are the responsibility of provincial, territorial and federal governments. The provinces/ territories provide and/ or pay for insured physician and hospital services. The federal government provides treatment and public health services in remote areas and public health services in non-isolated First Nation communities through the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada. Services include community preventive health and health promotion programs and services and environmental health surveillance. Emergency diagnostic and treatment services are provided by the MSB when not available otherwise. Health care premiums in Alberta and British Columbia are also covered. For information about the MSB's Non-Insured Health Benefits Program, please refer to the "Health Canada" section of the "Other Federal Programs and Services" chapter.

The federal government encourages and supports the transfer of control of health programs to First Nation and Inuit organizations. Financing for these services is provided by contribution and contract arrangements.

For further information, or if you need any of these services, contact your First Nation council or your regional MSB, Health Canada office.

In Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, the territorial governments are responsible for medical and health services. Contact your First Nation council, the territorial Department of Health or your regional health board for more information or assistance.

What Programs are Available for Aboriginal Youth?

Since 1996, the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy (YES) has helped to expand existing community initiatives for Aboriginal youth or to develop new initiatives where none existed before. With the exception of the Youth Business Program, the First Nations and Inuit YES programs are highly decentralized and are administered by First Nation and Inuit communities. The flexibility of the programs allows for the development of activities based on specific needs and enables youth to have a sense of ownership and belonging to their communities.

DIAND's YES initiative consists of five programs. To be eligible for these programs, you must be a First Nation youth living on reserve or an Inuit youth living in a recognized Inuit community. Other specific eligibility requirements are listed below.

First Nations and Inuit Summer Student Career Placement Program supports opportunities for career-related work experience and training to in-school First Nation and Inuit youth during the summer months. The overall purpose is to assist students in preparing for their future entry into the labour market. The program provides for wage contributions to create jobs for Inuit and First Nation students at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

First Nations and Inuit Youth Work Experience Program funds proposals from First Nation and Inuit governments and organizations to provide supervised work experience for out-of-school unemployed youth. Participants improve their job skills and future employment prospects while contributing to their communities. For a period of six to nine months, the program pays minimum wage plus benefits to eligible youth between the ages of 16 and 24 years.

First Nations and Inuit Youth Business Program focuses on out-of-school, unemployed First Nation and Inuit youth living on reserve or in recognized Inuit communities. This program enables Aboriginal lending institutions to offer eligible youth aged 15 to 30 proactive business opportunity advice and counselling, mentoring and advisory support, and seed capital to explore or develop a business opportunity.

First Nations and Inuit Science and Technology Camp Program promotes science and technology as career choices. Participants gain first-hand experience in various science and technology disciplines. The program provides funds to First Nation and Inuit governments or organizations either to design and run a science camp or to provide sponsorship.

First Nations Schools Co-operative Education Program funds proposals to establish or expand co-operative education programs in First Nation schools on reserves. The program creates school-based work/ study opportunities that provide meaningful work experience in a supportive environment.

To learn more about these programs, contact your First Nation council, hamlet office or regional DIAND office.

What about Land Claims?

The Government of Canada has been committed to settling Aboriginal land claims since 1973. The federal government negotiates two types of land claims:

  • comprehensive land claims, based on the concept of continuing Aboriginal rights and title which have not been dealt with by treaty or other legal means

  • specific land claims arising from alleged non-fulfilment of Indian treaties and other lawful obligations or from the alleged improper administration of lands and other assets under the Indian Act

In most of the country, DIAND provides contributions and loans to Aboriginal claimant groups so they can research and negotiate their claims. In British Columbia, however, the Government of Canada, together with the provincial government and the First Nations Summit, have established the British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC). The BCTC is a neutral facilitating body which allocates federal and provincial funding to Aboriginal groups involved in negotiations in the province.

Details are available in Federal Policy for the Settlement of Native Claims, a policy paper produced by DIAND for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Contact Publications and Public Enquiries (Kiosk), DIAND, at (819) 997-0380.

What about Aboriginal Self-Government?

In August 1995, the Government of Canada adopted an approach to negotiating practical and workable arrangements with Aboriginal people to implement their inherent right to self-government.

The federal approach to Aboriginal self-government, based on negotiation, will result in new arrangements to give Aboriginal communities the legitimate tools they need to exercise greater control over their lives.

Self-government arrangements will recognize Aboriginal people's right to make decisions about matters internal to their communities, integral to their unique cultures, traditions and languages, and connected with their relationship to the land and resources.

Under the federal policy, Aboriginal groups may negotiate self-government arrangements over a variety of subject matter, including government structure, land management, health care, child welfare, education, housing and economic development. Negotiations will be between Aboriginal groups, the federal government and, in areas affecting its jurisdiction and interests, the relevant provincial or territorial government.

Because Aboriginal groups have different needs, negotiations will not result in a single model of self-government. All self-government agreements will be based on the following key principles:

  • The inherent right of self-government is an existing Aboriginal right under the Canadian Constitution. Self-government will be exercised within the existing Constitution. It should enhance the participation of Aboriginal people in Canadian society.

  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will apply as fully to Aboriginal governments as it does to all governments in Canada.

  • Due to federal fiscal constraints, all federal funding for self-government will be achieved through the reallocation of existing resources.

  • Where all parties agree, certain rights in self-government agreements may be protected in new treaties under section 35 of the Constitution, as additions to existing treaties or as part of comprehensive land claims agreements.

  • Federal, provincial, territorial and Aboriginal laws must work in harmony. Laws of overriding federal and provincial importance such as the Criminal Code will prevail. The interests of all Canadians will be taken into account as agreements are negotiated.

Self-government arrangements may take many forms based on the diverse historical, cultural, political and economic circumstances of the Aboriginal groups, regions and communities involved.

For additional information, please contact:

Publications and Public Enquiries (Kiosk), DIAND
Room 1415, Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, Hull, Quebec K1A 0H4
Tel.: (819) 997-0380
Fax: (819) 953-3017

Are there Other Programs for Registered Indians?

Registered Indians in Canada enjoy some privileges not available to other citizens. Reduced travel rates are one example. If you are a Registered Indian with a status card, you are entitled to a 33 per cent discount on VIA Rail fares when travelling in western Canada. For details, call VIA Rail at 1-800-561-8630.

You may also benefit from special immigration services with the United States. Under section 289 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, Registered Indians from Canada are permitted to move to the United States without going through the normal immigration process. You must present a recognized identification card (Indian status card) to officials at the border crossing. If you do not have a card, a written statement from your First Nation council is required along with documentation proving your lineage is at least 50 per cent North American Indian.

If you need further details about immigration services, contact the United States Consulate Office nearest you. A list of consulates is provided at the end of this booklet.

Other Federal Programs and Services

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

On-Reserve Non-Profit Rental Housing Program: Subsidies are available to First Nations to build or purchase suitable, adequate and affordable rental housing on reserves. The subsidy, provided for the duration of the housing loan, is for the difference between eligible project expenses and project revenues (CMHC has a minimum revenue requirement). Funding for this initiative is ongoing.

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program: Funding in the form of a loan is available to repair or rehabilitate existing substandard housing to bring it to the minimum level of health and safety codes and to build access for persons with disabilities. All on-reserve households may be eligible. Depending on family income level, a portion of the loan may be forgiven. For off-reserve households, eligibility is based on household income. Fourteen per cent of the off-reserve homeowner program is targeted nationally to Aboriginal people. Funding is available to homeowners and landlords. Funding for this program extends to March 31, 2003.

Emergency Repair Program: Non-repayable contributions are available for emergency repairs to homeowners living off-reserve in rural and remote areas. Under this program, 80 per cent of funds are targeted nationally to Aboriginal people. Funding extends to March 31, 2003.

Home Adaptations for Seniors Independence Program: One-time, non-repayable contributions of up to $2,500 are available on- and off-reserve to adapt housing to make it easier for seniors to continue living in their own homes. Applicants aged 65 years and over whose household income is less than the maximum established for their area may apply. Funding is to March 31, 2003.

Shelter Enhancement Program: Capital contributions are available, both on- and off-reserve, to groups operating shelters for victims of family violence. These contributions are for repairing and upgrading existing facilities or the construction of new units. The contributions are in the form of forgivable loans. Funding for this program is ongoing.

Housing Internship Initiative for First Nations and Inuit Youth: Through this initiative, CMHC works in partnership with sponsor organizations to develop housing employment projects to meet specific community needs. The initiative provides financial support towards the wages of First Nation or Inuit youth, aged 17 to 29, living on First Nation reserves and in Inuit communities. Funding is to March 31, 2001.

Urban Native Non-Profit Housing Program provides financial assistance to off-reserve Aboriginal non-profit housing corporations for the operation of subsidized rental housing projects for up to 35 years. Funding for new projects ended December 1993.

Rural and Native Housing Program provides assistance to purchase or rent units in off-reserve rural areas and communities of 2,500 or less. Funding for new projects ended December 1993.

Aboriginal Capacity Development: Though this is not a separate program, CMHC provides funding and facilitates training to enhance the skills of First Nation people in areas of housing construction and management. Funding for this initiative is ongoing. For information, call 1-800-668-2642.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)

Spiritual Services for Aboriginal Federal Inmates: Aboriginal Elders are hired to address the spiritual and cultural needs of Aboriginal inmates incarcerated in federal correctional institutions. Elders conduct ceremonies and counsel Aboriginal inmates in traditional, spiritual and cultural matters. For information, call (613) 995-2557.

Native Liaison Services: Aboriginal individuals are hired to bridge the communication gap between Aboriginal inmates and the largely non-Aboriginal corrections staff. The liaison workers participate in the case management process to ensure that decisions affecting Aboriginal offenders reflect a sensitivity to the offenders' cultural perspectives. For information, call (613) 995-2557.

Aboriginal Addictions Treatment is a six-week addictions treatment program, developed for CSC by a national Aboriginal addictions treatment organization. The program is offered to Aboriginal offenders. Aboriginal persons administer the treatment and the program involves the participation of Elders. For information, call (613) 995-2557.

Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC)

Summer Career Placements provides wage subsidies to non-profit organizations and private sector businesses that would, otherwise, not be able to create career-related summer jobs for students. The jobs, lasting 8 to 16 weeks, give senior high school, college and university students experience in their chosen fields. For information, contact your nearest Canada Employment Centre.

Native Internship Program offers summer employment in HRDC offices to Aboriginal students. For information, contact the nearest Canada Employment Centre, First Nation council office or campus placement office.

Youth Service Canada for First Nations Youth in Communities: In partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, this program targets and delivers community service projects for unemployed and out-of-school youth living on reserves. Projects for youth between the ages of 18 and 24 run up to nine months. For information, contact your nearest Canada Employment Centre.

The Employment Equity Act: The 1995 Act applies to federally-regulated employers in the private sector, as well as federal departments and agencies and Crown Corporations with 100 or more employees. Under the Act, employers are required to identify and remove barriers to the recruitment, promotion, retention and training of members of four designated groups: women, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities. More specifically, the Act requires employers to:

  • provide employees with a questionnaire for self-identification purposes
  • identify jobs where members of the designated groups are under-represented
  • communicate information on employment equity to employees and consult and collaborate with employee representatives
  • identify possible barriers in existing employment systems
  • develop an employment equity plan, including positive policies and practices, measures to remove employment barriers, timetables and goals for achieving a more equitable workplace
  • make reasonable efforts to implement the plan
  • monitor, review and revise the plan from time to time
  • prepare an annual report on employment equity data and activities

The Act mandates the Canadian Human Rights Commission to audit employers to ensure compliance with the Act's requirements. An Employment Equity Review Tribunal was created to deal with non-compliance cases. Under the Act, the Minister of Labour makes available to employers detailed data on the availability of the four designated groups in the Canadian labour market and provides the employers with the appropriate systems, information and advice.

The Federal Contractors Program (FCP): Under FCP, suppliers of goods and services to the federal government who employ 100 persons or more and who want to bid on contracts of $200,000 or more are required to commit to implementing employment equity as a condition of their bid. These contractors are required to identify and eliminate barriers to selection, hiring, promotion, retention and training of members of the four designated groups. Failure to comply with prescribed employment equity measures can result in the loss of opportunity to compete for future government business.

As well, contractors must take steps to improve the employment status of these designated groups by increasing their participation in all levels of employment. The Labour Program at HRDC conducts in-depth compliance reviews. If they yield negative results, the contractor will be informed and will be expected to initiate remedial action for review within a prescribed time limit not exceeding 12 months. For information, call (819) 953-7531.

Natural Resources Canada

Land Surveys (Federal): The Legal Surveys Division surveys Indian reserves, national parks and territorial and offshore lands to establish rights for oil, gas, minerals, fee-simple ownership and leases, as well as rights-of-way and surface rights.

Land Survey Records (Federal): The Surveyor General of Canada keeps survey records and documents of Indian reserves, national parks and territorial and offshore lands. Copies of these documents are available to the public. For information, call (613) 995-4570.

Health Canada

The First Nations & Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada provides a variety of health services and programs to eligible First Nation people and Inuit who are residents of Canada. These services are delivered through a network of health facilities and include environmental health programs, health education, addiction and substance abuse prevention programs, nutrition services, community health services, diagnostic and treatment services in isolated areas and non-insured health benefits. The Non-Insured Health Benefits Program provides supplementary health benefits to eligible First Nation people and Inuit to meet medical or dental needs not covered by provincial, territorial or third-party health insurance plans. These benefits include dental, vision and pharmacy; medical supplies, equipment and transportation; crisis intervention; mental health services; and health premiums in Alberta and British Columbia.

The MSB also provides funds to First Nations for The Community Health Representative Program and funding to employ alcohol and drug abuse treatment workers.

The Indian and Inuit Health Careers Program offers bursaries and scholarships to Aboriginal students pursuing careers in health.

Industry Canada

Aboriginal Business Canada provides a range of services and support to Aboriginal individuals and organizations engaged in entrepreneurship. Under direction from the private-sector National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, the program focuses on strategic priority areas of innovation and technology development, trade and market expansion, tourism and youth entrepreneurship.

The program is open to Status and Non-Status Indians, Metis and Inuit. For more information, call (613) 954-5064 or visit the Web site.

Justice Canada

Aboriginal Justice Strategy helps build the foundation of justice systems administered by Aboriginal people. The provincial and territorial governments and the federal government, in partnership with communities, share the costs of setting up Aboriginal justice programs. Funding is available for diversion programs, Justice of the Peace courts and programs that allow for greater community participation in sentencing, mediation and arbitration in civil disputes.

The strategy has the following three objectives:

  • to support Aboriginal communities as they take greater responsibility for the administration of justice
  • to help reduce crime and incarceration rates in the communities that run justice programs
  • to foster improvements in the justice system that respond to the justice needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people

The strategy is a partnership between Aboriginal communities and government. Federally, it involves Justice Canada, DIAND, Solicitor General Canada, the Privy Council Office and other federal departments and agencies. For information, call (613) 957-7846.

Justice Canada also oversees the following Aboriginal programs:

Legal Studies for Aboriginal People Program: The program is designed to help Aboriginal people (Metis and Non-Status Indians) enter the legal profession. Justice Canada awards a limited number of bursaries each year. A selection committee assesses the applications for bursaries according to fixed criteria. For information, contact: Mireille Provost, Program Administrator, by fax at (613) 941-2269; or call the student lines at 1-888-606-5111 (toll free) or (613) 941-0388; or send E-mail to

Native Courtworker Program is a cost-shared program for Aboriginal adults and youth in conflict with the law. The program promotes access to justice by helping Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system obtain fair, just, equitable and culturally-sensitive treatment. Native courtworkers provide counselling (other than legal) to adults and youth who have committed, or are alleged to have committed, a criminal offence. They also help Aboriginal adults or young offenders understand their legal rights and obtain legal assistance. Justice Canada supports Native courtworkers through cost-shared agreements with all provinces and territories except New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. For information, call (613) 957-3180.

National Library of Canada

The National Library of Canada provides information about, and referrals to, Canadian and Native Studies material in its social sciences and humanities collection. The extensive collection covers many topics related to First Nations such as self-government, law, land claims, Aboriginal rights and Aboriginal literature. Special collections include the documents originally held by the Resource Centre of the Canadian Indian Rights Commission (1969-1979). In addition, the rare book collection contains books in 58 Aboriginal languages. For information, call (613) 995-9481.

Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission (PSC) promotes the equitable representation and treatment of Aboriginal people and other designated group members (persons with disabilities, women and persons in a visible minority group) through its recruitment, priority administration, training and retention policies and services. These activities are influenced by its La Releve commitments, its response to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, its obligations under the Employment Equity Act and its shared responsibilities with partners, especially the Treasury Board Secretariat.

A major initiative is the delivery of three components of the Employment Equity Positive Measures Program (EEPMP). The EEPMP objectives are to:

  • promote greater self-sufficiency of departments and agencies in achieving their employment equity objectives and fulfilling legislated obligations under the Employment Equity Act
  • help departments improve the representation of the four designated groups at all levels where under-representation exists
  • support central agencies and provide leadership in addressing employment equity priorities across the public service

The Partnership Fund supports the unique needs of each region in dealing with employment equity barriers. Barrier issues are addressed through partnerships between one or more federal departments, levels of government, public- or private-sector employers, unions or interest groups or associations who agree to work co-operatively towards achieving employment equity. For additional information on how to access this fund, contact the nearest regional or district PSC office.

The Employment Equity Career Counselling Office:

  • facilitates effective and appropriate employment equity career development for designated group members
  • ensures that employment equity career development is available to designated group members across the public service by promoting and supporting the integration of the unique aspects of employment equity career counselling into departmental career counselling services and human resources management
  • promotes and facilitates continuous learning and knowledge transfer, for sustained EE career counselling, into departments and regions. For information, call (613) 992-9794 or e-mail:

In striving to achieve employment equity in the public service, the Commission has approved a number of recruitment programs for Aboriginal people. Currently ten programs aimed at improving overall representation are administered by individual departments. For more information on these programs or the EEPMP, contact your local PSC office or visit the Web site.

Canadian Heritage

Aboriginal Programs of the Citizens Participation Directorate: These programs serve First Nations, Inuit and Metis, by contributing to Canadian identity and attachment. The programs:

  • recognize and utilize the cultural strength of the Aboriginal community as essential to the realization of its full potential
  • enable Aboriginal people to be full partners with governments in making decisions on issues that affect their quality of life
  • support the participation of Aboriginal youth in identifying priorities and developing and implementing approaches and programs to enhance their potential
  • foster the recognition of Aboriginal cultures as integral to Canadian identity and heritage

The community-based programs focus on the off-reserve Aboriginal population and are initiated and managed by Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal Representative Organizations Program provides funding to 27 Inuit, Metis and Non-Status Indian representative organizations at the provincial, territorial and national levels. The program maintains a consultative framework for Aboriginal people to participate in federal/provincial policy and program development affecting their claimed constituencies. Similar funding is provided to First Nation organizations under DIAND.

Aboriginal Friendship Centre Program is designed to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people residing in, or travelling through, urban communities. This program provides operational support to the National Association of Friendship Centres and 99 friendship centres in Canada's urban areas. The program is managed and administered by the National Association of Friendship Centres, which also administers Young Canada Works for Aboriginal Youth under Human Resources Development Canada's Youth Employment Strategy.

Aboriginal Women's Program provides funding to three national Aboriginal women's organizations. It also supports projects to encourage Aboriginal women to initiate and influence public policies and decisions affecting their individual and community wellbeing. The program promotes the enhancement of strong leadership and management capacity and it makes the Federal Family Violence Initiative accessible to off-reserve Aboriginal women.

Northern Native Broadcast Access Program provides production and distribution funding to 13 Aboriginal communications societies to operate and maintain regional network production centres and to produce and broadcast radio and television programs for Aboriginal audiences in the Aboriginal language of the region.

Aboriginal Languages Initiative is designed to revitalize and maintain Aboriginal languages by increasing the number of language speakers and expanding the domains in which Aboriginal languages are spoken. The initiative is inclusive of all Aboriginal people and responsive to different community needs, circumstances and priorities. The initiative is managed and delivered by the Assembly of First Nations for First Nation languages, the MNC for Michif languages and the ITC for Inuktitut languages. It is designed to complement, rather than replace or duplicate, existing federal or provincial language education programs.

Urban Multi-Purpose Aboriginal Youth Centres Initiative strengthens the capacity of Aboriginal people to address urban Aboriginal youth issues. It provides Aboriginal youth with the opportunity to direct and manage initiatives to address issues associated with urban living. The initiative is inclusive of all Aboriginal youth and is complementary to existing or emerging programs, facilities and initiatives. The program is managed and delivered by the National Association of Friendship Centres, the MNC and its provincial affiliates and the ITC and its regional Inuit associations. In select western cities, the program is delivered by the regional offices of Canadian Heritage in co-operation with established urban Aboriginal youth advisory committees.

Status of Women Canada

Status of Women Canada (SWC) promotes gender equality and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. Through research, it analyses federal policies and programs to ensure their positive impact on women. The research identifies policy gaps, examines the consequences of existing policies and results in recommendations for policies and practices that would improve the status of women.

Through its Women's Program, SWC provides financial and technical assistance to organizations working to advance gender equality. This support has enabled organizations to deal with a broad range of equality issues.

SWC's goals include improving women's economic autonomy and well-being, eliminating systematic violence against women and children and advancing women's human rights. For information, call (613) 995-7835 or visit the Web site.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat strives to achieve equitable representation in the public service of members of four designated groups: Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, persons of a visible minority and women. The Secretariat is working to create an environment that is favourable to employment and career opportunities for all employees, including members of the designated groups.

Employment equity goals and objectives include recruitment, promotion and retention of qualified employees on the basis of merit by removing barriers in employment practices and by implementing positive policies and programs. In addition, the EEPMP, a Treasury Board employment equity program, provides additional support - including tools, services and funding - to help departments and agencies meet their employment equity goals and objectives.

The EEPMP is a four-year program approved by the Treasury Board Ministers on October 8, 1998, which will end March 31, 2002. (The EEPMP is the successor program to the Special Measures Initiatives Program [SMIP]). The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is responsible for the overall co-ordination of the EEPMP and administers the Intervention Fund. The PSC administers three components of the EEPMP: the Partnership Fund, the Employment Equity Career Counselling Office and the Enabling Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities. For information on how to access this fund, contact the Programs and Services Division at (613) 996-8150 or your nearest regional PSC office.

Where to Get More Information

Department of Indian Affairs
and Northern Development (DIAND)
Publications and Public Enquiries
Room 1415
Les Terrasses de la Chaudiere
10 Wellington St.
Hull, Quebec KIA 0H4

Enquiries: (819) 997-0380
Departmental Library: (819) 997-0811


40 Havelock Street
P.O. Box 160
Amherst, Nova Scotia B4H 3Z3
Tel. (800) 567-9604

320 St-Joseph Street East
P.O. Box 51127, Postal Outlet G. Roy
Quebec, Quebec G1K 8Z7
Tel. (418) 648-4297 or 1-800-263-5592

25 St. Clair Avenue East
9th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1M2
Tel. (416) 973-6234

365 Hargrave Street
Room 200
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Tel. (204) 983-2842

2221 Cornwall Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4M2
Tel. (306) 780-5945

630 Canada Place
9700 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4G2
Tel. (780) 495-2773

Northwest Territories
P.O. Box 1500
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories P.O. Box 2200
X1A 2R3
Tel. (867) 669-2500

1084 Aeroplex Building
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0
Tel. (867) 979-1605

Federal Treaty Negotiation Office
P.O. Box 11576
650 West Georgia Street, Suite 2700
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 4N8
Tel. (604) 775-7114

British Columbia
1138 Melville Street, Suite 600
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6E 4S3
Tel. (604) 775-5100

300 Main Street
Room 345
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2B5
Tel. (867) 667-3100

9911 Chula Blvd, Suite 100
Tsuu T'ina, Alberta
T2W 6H6
Tel. (403) 292-5661


For more information, please visit the CMHC Web site.

700 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P7
Tel. (613) 748-2000


British Columbia and Yukon
400-2600 Granville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 3V7
Tel. (604) 731-5733

100 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario M2N 6Z1
Tel. (416) 221-2642

Prairie, Northwest Territories and Nunavut
PO Box 2560
708-11th Avenue Southwest, Suite 500
Calgary, Alberta T2P 2N9
Tel. (403) 515-3000

1010 de la Gauchetiere West
Place du Canada, 11th Floor
Montreal, Quebec H3B 2N2
Tel. (514) 283-4464

7001 Mumford Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 5W9
Tel. (902) 426-3530


Aboriginal Business Canada, Industry Canada
235 Queen Street, 1st Floor, West Tower
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5
Tel. (613) 954-4064


For more information, please visit the Health Canada Web site.

For general inquiries, please contact:
First Nations and Inuit Health Programs Directorate
Jeanne-Mance Building, 20th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L3
Tel. (613) 952-9616

For information about non-insured health benefits, please contact your nearest regional office of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada:

Ralston Building, Suite 634
1557 Hollis Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V6
Tel. 1-800-565-3294

East Tower, Suite 202
200 Rene-Levesque Blvd West
Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1X4
Tel. (514) 283-1575 or 1-877-483-1575

1547 Merivale Road, 3rd Floor
Nepean, Ontario K1A 0L3
Tel. (613) 952-0093

391 York Avenue, Room 300
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4W1
Tel. (204) 983-4199

1920 Broad Street, 18th Floor
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3V2
Tel. (306) 780-5449

9700 Jasper Avenue/ 730 Canada Place
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4C3
Tel. (780) 495-2694 or 1-800-232-7301

757 W. Hastings Street, Suite 540
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3E6
Tel. (604) 666-3331

300 Main Street, Suite 100
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2B5
Tel. (867) 393-6777

Northwest Territories
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of Northwest Territories
P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9
Tel. (867) 873-7738

Health and Social Services
Government of Nunavut
Bag 800
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0
Tel. (867) 975-5700 or 1-800-661-0833


For more information, please visit the Canadian Heritage Web site.
25 Eddy Street
Hull, Quebec K1A 0M5
Tel. (819) 997-0055


P.O. Box 5879, Station C
St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 5X4
Tel. (709) 772-5364

Nova Scotia
1869 Upper Water Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1S9
Tel. (902) 426-2244

New Brunswick
1045 Main Street, Unit 106, Third Floor
Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 1H1
Tel. (506) 851-7066

200 Rene-Levesque Blvd West
West Tower, 6th Floor
Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1X4
Tel. (514) 283-2332
(877) 222-2397

4900 Yonge Street, Penthouse Level
Willowdale, Ontario M2N 6A4
Tel. (416) 973-5400

Prairies and Northern Region
275 Portage Avenue, 2nd Floor, PO 2160
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2C 3R5
Tel. (204) 983-3601

9700 Jasper Avenue/1630 Canada Place
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4C3
Tel. (780) 495-3350

British Columbia/ Yukon
300 West George Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 6C6
Tel. (604) 666-0176


For more information, please visit the Web site .

490 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8
Tel. (613) 238-5335


Nova Scotia
Cogswell Tower, Scotia Square
2000 Barrington Street, Suite 910
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K1
Tel. (902) 429-2485

1155 St. Alexandre Street
Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1Z2
Tel. (514) 398-9695

2 Place Terrasse Dufferin
P.O. 939
Quebec, Quebec G1R 4T9
Tel. (418) 692-2095

360 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1S4
Tel. (416) 595-1700

British Columbia
1095 West Pender Street, 21st Floor
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 2M6
Tel. (604) 685-4311

615 Macleod Trail, 10th Floor Suite 1050
Calgary, Alberta T2G 4T8
Tel. (403) 266-8962


For more information, please visit the Web site.

Communications Branch
200 Kent Street
13th Floor, Station 13228
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E6
Tel. (613) 993-0999


Pacific Region
555 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 5G3
Tel. (604) 666-0384

Central and Arctic Region
501 University Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N6
Tel. (204) 983-5000

Laurentian Region
P.O. Box 15500
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7Y7
Tel. (418) 648-7747

Maritime Region
P.O. Box 550
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2S7
Tel. (902) 426-2373

Newfoundland Region
P.O. Box 5667
St. John's, Newfoundland A1X 5X1
Tel. (709) 772-4423

Other Useful Products

Tracing Your Ancestors In Canada
Produced by the National Archives of Canada
Hint: Look for this pamphlet under "Publications"

Youth Link
Produced by HRDC
Look under "Publications" on the Youth Resource Network home page