OTTAWA – A new report by Ontario’s advocate for children and youth is calling for a five-year plan to address the needs and difficulties facing aboriginal young people.
It sets a 60-day timeline for governments of all levels to state their support for the five-year plan and to create a formal body to put the plan into action.
The report also urges governments of all levels to make northern remote and fly-in First Nations communities safer and healthier.
The report, titled “Feathers of Hope,” came out of meetings last year involving more than 160 aboriginal youth from 64 communities.
Among other things, it touches on the lingering effects of residential schools, culture, education, youth suicide, physical and mental health, and drug and alcohol abuse.
The report was jointly released in Ottawa, Toronto and Thunder Bay, Ont.
Samantha Crowe, one of the report’s authors, says she wasn’t surprised by the issues raised by First Nations youth during the meetings.
“So one way or another, all the issues that the youth are saying, they’ve been touched by it, their families have been touched by it,” Crowe said.”We have been experiencing this, we’ve been struggling with it for a very long time.
“The youth are ready for action. They’re ready to change that. They want a healthier and safer community for them to live in. So this is now just a time that they’re saying, ‘Enough recommendations. The time for action is now.’
“They’re ready to work, and they want the government and First Nations leadership to come together to work with them.”
WATCH: Conservatives questioned in House of Commons Monday about “Feathers of Hope” report on First Nations youth