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Indian Residential Schools (IRS) Resolution Health Support Program (formerly Mental Health Support Program) :

Plans, Spending and Results

Name of Lead Department(s):

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

Lead Department PAA Program:

Under AANDC's program alignment architecture, the Strategic Partnerships Initiative is categorized under the Strategic Outcome entitled "The Land and Economy". The Program for the Initiative is entitled "Aboriginal Economic Development".

Start Date:

June 17, 2010

End Date:


Total Federal Funding Allocation (from start date to end date):

$85.5 million over five years (total Grants and Contributions (G&C) and Operations and Maintenance (O&M))

Description of the Horizontal Initiative (including funding agreement):

The Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) is a program intended to support Aboriginal participation in the economy, with a particular focus on forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture. A key component of the new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, SPI enables more than a dozen partnering federal departments and agencies to provide a coordinated federal response to existing and emerging Aboriginal economic development opportunities, which are:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
  • Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Industry Canada, including FedNor
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Office of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
  • Parks Canada
  • Status of Women Canada
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada.

SPI builds partnerships among federal departments, Aboriginal communities, provincial and territorial governments and the private sector to help Aboriginal Canadians take advantage of complex market-driven opportunities in key sectors of the economy. The initiative's funding is intended to fill gaps that cannot be addressed by existing programs.

SPI fosters a whole-of-government approach to Aboriginal economic development by enabling federal partners to align investments and resources around shared objectives. The program helps eliminate funding gaps in existing federal programming that could otherwise limit or exclude Aboriginal involvement in emerging economic development opportunities.

The initiative also helps to build closer partnerships with non-federal partners, including provincial and territorial governments, the private sector and Aboriginal individuals, organizations, businesses and communities. These partnerships will help bring together the people and resources required for Aboriginal communities to take advantage of opportunities in key sectors of the economy.

Shared Outcome(s):

The SPI is designed to ensure a horizontal approach to federal investments which will: ensure that federal investments are aligned and targeted toward market-driven opportunities; that the Government of Canada is able to anticipate, plan for, and engage in opportunities; and that the Government of Canada is able to maximize the results of federal investments and be better positioned to leverage funds from non-federal sources. Additionally, the SPI will create the possibility of a single window approach (shared application, monitoring and reporting) to federal investments in shared priorities and, where there are gaps in programming, a dedicated source of funds can be accessed to make contributions to recipients.

Governance Structure(s):

Central to the governance structure of the SPI is the Federal Coordination Committee for Aboriginal Economic Development (FCC). The FCC validates and prioritizes opportunities for a whole-of-government approach to investment under the SPI. The FCC also identifies relevant federal departments and agencies that will work together to develop work plans with Aboriginal groups to advance these opportunities.

Performance Highlights:

Increasingly, Aboriginal communities are pursuing economic opportunities in large and complex projects that have the potential to create sustainable business opportunities, a stable source of employment and income for members, and valuable streams of own-source revenue. With natural resource companies considering investing over $650 billion in major resources projects over the next decade, many Aboriginal Canadians stand to benefit from the economic, employment and business opportunities that these projects are likely to bring.

For the period 2012–2013, SPI investments supported Aboriginal communities in some of the largest resource development opportunities in Canada. Twelve major initiatives were reinforced under SPI resulting in 40 partnerships, $9.5 million in funding provided by other federal partners, and more than $16 million leveraged from non-federal sources. A total of 157 Aboriginal communities participated in projects sponsored by SPI this year.

SPI is a catalyst in aligning federal efforts and investments. For example, SPI has been an effective mechanism for the development of a federal action plan regarding the Ring of Fire which focuses combined federal efforts in five key areas: business, infrastructure, human capital development, community health and well-being and community capacity to engage in the regulatory process. Another example is the $7.4 billion Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project currently underway at Muskrat Falls, Labrador, which represents one of the largest untapped renewable energy projects in North America. To further facilitate the participation of Aboriginal groups that can benefit from this project, SPI continues to address gaps in community and business capacity in order to gain from opportunities identified in the environmental scan.

SPI is also enabling and strengthening outreach within the Department and with other government department partners, as opportunity profiles are developed which identify complex opportunities that could benefit from a collaborative federal approach. In 2012–2013, six opportunity profiles were completed.

Given the extensive federal cooperation that has developed as a result of SPI, discussions began with other departments who have expressed an interest in becoming signatories to the program. Their participation in the program will improve federal efforts to address key impediments to community readiness, including issues related to community health and well-being and the capacity to participate in federal and provincial regulatory processes. Throughout the upcoming fiscal year, partners will continue to be engaged to complete this process.

Comments on Variances:

Actual spending for the Resolution Health Support Program was less than planned as a result of an over-estimation of the costs associated with the Truth and Reconciliation events. The reported variance between actual and planned expenditures is further expanded by the exclusion of the Employee Benefits Plan and corporate costs from actual expenditures. Surplus funds will be carried over to the next fiscal year and used to deliver health support services to eligible claimants.

Results Achieved by Non-Federal Partners (if applicable):


Contact Information:

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada:

Alia Butt
Policy and Reconciliation Directorate
Resolution and Individual Affairs Sector
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Tel: 613-996-2603

Health Canada:

Julie Orth
Manager, Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program
Mental Wellness Division
Inter-professional Advisory and Program Support Directorate
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada
Phone: 613-952-1377