INDIGENOUS RESOURCES, PROGRAMS, & SERVICES

RIHM is committed to providing expert healing and vocational assessment and intervention options that are responsive to the unique needs of Indigenous communities in Canada who face a number of healthcare and social consequences as a result of intergenerational-trauma due to Canada’s history of colonialism. Through networking with multiple Indigenous-led partnerships, RIHM offers a range of public service programs and resources for marginalized community members in an effort to combat the negative impacts of historically discriminatory and unjust practices of colonial institutions and mainstream society more broadly. This resource page is dedicated to listing RIHMs Toronto-based partnerships and other GTA’s Indigenous community services and programs dedicated to culturally safe and effective programs and services. For the purpose of easier navigation, we have divided up the listing into two categories of interest with a ‘quick-click’ directory below: ‘community friendly’ resources, which are social programs and services that any community member can get involved with and utilize, and ‘professional & student’ resources, which lead to informative research and resources that people who are within a professional field (whether they are in a practice or study) may find useful when working with Indigenous peoples. The following organizations are in alphabetical order and the provided information is in direct reference to their respective websites.

Community Friendly Resources

Professional & Student Resources

Community Friendly Resources

Aboriginal Housing Support Centre (AHSC)

  • An innovative project developed by Wigwamen Incorporate and made Possible through the City of Toronto’s Homelessness Initiative Fund.

  • AHSC is a non-profit housing help centre, operating since 1999, which was created to support Aboriginal people with their current housing needs.

  • AHSC encourages Aboriginal families and individuals who are paying too much rent for substandard accommodation to apply for non-profit housing.
    • Also provides counselling and support services for families or individuals who are at risk for losing their private market rental to remain housed until a non-profit housing unit comes available.

  • Any and all Aboriginal families and individuals who are in need of affordable housing or at risk of being homeless are eligible for assistance through the AHSC. All services are provided at NO CHARGE to applicants. These include:
    • Referrals to other agencies
    • Workshops
    • Native and Social Housing Application Assistance
    • Housing Searches
    • Internet Based Consultations
    • Furniture Bank Referrals

Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT)

  • The AHT’s approach is “to recover, record, and promote Traditional Aboriginal practices where possible and appropriate” as a community health centre where Indigenous people can have access to a multi-disciplinary health care model.
  • The AHT began as a diabetes research project, which grew into a health centre that now operates a number of services and programs, such as the following:
    • Primary health care services
    • Diabetic education and management
    • Diabetes prevention and management for seniors program
    • Traditional Family Services (TFS)
    • Aboriginal Mental Health and Addiction Services
    • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Services
    • FASD Diagnostic Clinic
    • Mental Health Services
    • Babishkhan: Circle of Care Workers
    • Nmakaandjiiwin (Finding My Way)
    • Community Health Worker Training Program
    • O Ta Ti Baen Program
    • Chiropody Services
    • Naturopathic Services
    • Chiropractic Services
    • Healthy Smiles Ontario Program
    • Dental and Oral Health Services
    • Psychiatric Services
    • Psychology Services
    • Traditional Counselling Services
    • Enaadamgad Kwe (Women’s Helper) Program
    • Oshkii Okitchiidak Youth Program
    • Translation Services
    • Physiotherapy Services

  • More information on the services listed above can be found on AHT’s services & programs page here: AHT Services Offered

  • For community members who are interested in learning more about AHT’s approach to incorporating Anishnawbe culture into their healthcare model, Traditional Teachings Brochures are included on their website for easy access, in addition to other informative documents related to youth programs, addiction services, diabetes prevention, and physiotherapy.

The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto

  • The NCCT is a membership-based, charitable organization located at the heart of downtown Toronto in a beautifully renovated heritage building. Everyone is welcomed to come participate in their wide range of programs and services based on Indigenous cultural traditions and teachings.

  • A few of their programs include:
    • The Indigenous Cultural Awareness/Competency Training Program – which promotes cultural competency for Indigenous relations within Canada for agencies, organizations, institutions, and everyday Canadians to build a foundational awareness of Indigenous peoples and to promote the creation of safe spaces to build a dialogue.
    • A Seniors Program – which is designed to provide a supportive environment for Aboriginal people (ages 59+) residing in the Toronto area through the delivery of client centered services enabling them to live independently by addressing their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs as elders in the community.
    • The ENABG Youth Program – which is a youth engagement/guidance program that focuses on addressing youth mental health and addiction challenges, housing needs, employment training and cultural/recreational programming. This program is youth driven by a council of 7 members, which works with youth between the ages of 12-24.
    • The Okichitaw Indigenous Martial Arts Program – which is a professionally-run self-defence class designed on improving the sense of physical fitness, discipline, and self-control for participants who are interested in safety and protection.

  • NCCT’s other programs include: big drum socials, big drum lessons, Cree language class, beading classes, pow wow lesson (both adult & children), elder’s lunch, regalia making, mixed hand drumming, and many more!

Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training

  • Miziwe Biik is committed to assisting all persons of First Nation (status and non-status), Inuit, and Metis ancestry to attain a better quality of life by providing training and employment opportunities in a supportive environment in which people can affirm their identities and develop to their fullest potential.

  • Their list of projects, cliental services, trade programs, and employer resources are vast, and interested participants can find a number of success stories from previous years through their MBAET Annual Reports page.

  • According to their 2016 report, some of the resources and services available for Toronto’s urban Indigenous community to utilise through Miziwe Biik include:
    • Career and Employment Counseling Services
      • Resume/Cover Letter Writing
      • Interviewing Skills
      • Hidden Job Market
      • Personality Dimensions
      • Self Assessment Tool
    • Employment Resource Centre Services
      • Computers/Internet
      • Photocopier/Facsimile
      • Telephones/Postage/Mailing
      • Toronto Labour Market Information
      • Local, National and Native Newspapers
      • Local Community Information Resources
      • Educational Information/Calendars
    • Employment Placement Services
      • Job Board
      • Local Native Organization Postings
      • Federal Government Temporary Employment Placements
      • National Native Employment Opportunities Newsletter
      • Referrals to Employment Opportunities Newsletter
      • Summer Career Placements
    • Funding Services
      • Service Canada/Employment Ontario
      • Employment Insurance Funding for Clients
      • Client Driven Training Projects
      • Community Project Training Available
      • Advocacy for Employment, Education, Housing
      • Ontario Works

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST)

Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC)

  • “Founded in 1971, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) works to support, advocate for, and build the capacity of member Friendship Centres across Ontario.

  • …Friendship Centres are community hubs where Indigenous people living in towns, cities, and urban centres can access culturally-based and culturally-appropriate programs and services every day.

  • Today, Friendship Centres are dynamic hubs of economic and social convergence that create space for Indigenous communities to thrive.
    • Friendship Centres are idea incubators for young Indigenous people attaining their education and employment goals, they are sites of cultural resurgence for Indigenous families who want to raise their children to be proud of who they are, and they are safe havens for Indigenous community members requiring supports.”

  • Programs & Services address the needs of:
    • Children and Youth
      • Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children (AHBHC)
      • Akwe:go: Urban Aboriginal Children’s Program
      • Children’s Mental Health Project (CMHP)
      • Children Who Witness Violence (CWWV) Program
      • Wasa-Nabin: Urban Aboriginal Youth Program
    • Education to Employment
      • Alternative Secondary School Program in Friendship Centres (ASSP)
      • Apatisiwin
    • Family
      • Homelessness Partnering Strategy
      • Urban Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Program
    • Healing
      • Healing and Wellness Program
      • Health Outreach Program
      • Kanawayhitowin
      • Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin
    • Health
      • Aboriginal Diabetes Program
      • Addictions and Mental Health Programs
      • Life Long Care Program
      • Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program
    • Justice
      • Aboriginal Combined Courtwork Program
      • Aboriginal Criminal Courtwork Program
      • Aboriginal Community Justice Program
      • Aboriginal Family Courtwork Program
      • Gladue Writer

The Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre

  • The Council Fire’s mission is “to provide counselling, material assistance and other direct services to First Nations people as well as to encourage and enhance spiritual and personal growth” as an autonomous, and vibrant cultural agency that involves and services the Indigenous community with confidence for and commitment to their well-being.

  • The Council Fire’s Community/Family/Educational Supports and Programs include the following:
    • The Gathering Place - a safe community space within the Council Fire’s Drop-In which is open 365 days a year!
      • It offers access to basic needs and supports using a community development approach towards the reduction of economic barriers. Its goal is to lower feelings of community isolation through access to a variety of formal and informal support programs.

    • The Coyote Youth Program – a training and work experience program for youth ages 18-29. This program is open to youth with Indigenous heritage, newcomer youth, and youth who are experiencing barriers in their educational/vocational development.

    • An Academic Upgrading Program – for students of all ages and skill levels that’s goal is on helping these students achieve high school equivalent skills in order to prepare them for post-secondary education.
      • Class subjects include -> English, Math, Computers, History, Science, and Art; and are offered from Monday to Thursday.

    • Prenatal Nutrition Program (PNP) – a program that is offered to improve the health and awareness of pregnant Aboriginal mothers, their babies from birth to 6 months of age and their families.

    • Family Nurturing Program (FNP) – aka the Community Action Program for Children (CAP-C) is designed to strengthen parents and families with care giving skills; to support community development and healing; and to improve the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of Aboriginal children from 0-6 years of age.

    • The Little Embers Program - priority to ensure that Aboriginal children (ages 7-15) living in the Regent Park area feel grounded in their culture and in their community.

    • The Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin Programs - provide urban Aboriginal children (ages 7-15) with support, tools and healthy activities which will build upon and foster their inherent ability to make healthy choices and improve their quality of life through the delivery of culturally appropriate programs and services.

  • The Council Fire’s Healthcare Sector/Counselling Programs and Resources include the following:
    • Life Long Care Program (LLCP) - provides community-based culturally appropriate long-term care support services to urban Aboriginal elderly, frail, physically disabled, chronically ill, for community participation, independent living and an improved quality of life.

    • Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program (UAHLP) - focuses on promoting healthy lifestyle choices through healthy eating, physical activity and through this program individuals can learn about nutrition that caters to their specific needs and how to perform exercises that are both safe and fun.
      • UAHLP also provides information about health issues prevalent in the community such as Diabetes and Cancer as well as preventative measures such as smoking cessation, healthy eating and exercise.

    • AHF Residential School Survivors Program - facilitates the immediate, ongoing and long-term healing process for the many Residential School Survivors and their relatives (inter-generational) residing in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

    • Community Client Support/Counselling Unit
      • The Counselling Unit is staffed by one full-time Support Worker who focuses on issues surrounding Child & Family service issues as well as support services to individuals experiencing incarceration, probation or parole. Under the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services the Worker works with families and adolescents to ensure that a safe and supportive environment for increased self-awareness and personal growth exists. The program works with this targeted group to provide support through interpersonal relationships and programs geared to respond to their needs.

Wigwamen Incorporated

  • Founded in 1972, Wigwamen Incorporated, a non-profit and charitable organization, is Ontario’s oldest and largest urban Aboriginal housing provider. With 214 units scattered throughout the City of Toronto, a 92-unit apartment building for families and singles in Scarborough, a 60-unit apartment building in Northeast Scarborough, a 103-unit apartment complex for seniors in downtown Toronto, a new nine-unit apartment building in Toronto, a 41-unit apartment building in Ottawa, and now a new 145-unit apartment building in the Canary District of Toronto, Wigwamen is committed to providing decent, safe and affordable housing to thousands of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families, singles and seniors.

Professional & Student Resources

The Aboriginal Cultural Safety Initiative

  • Organized by Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT) the Aboriginal Cultural Safety Initiative is a cultural sensitive program designed for students studying to be future health care and social services workers.

  • The Aboriginal population generally reports having encountered culturally insensitive healthcare professionals in addition to being met with subtle and overt forms of racism from front-line workers. Because there is a need for an improved consciousness, future healthcare practitioners need to learn more about running a ‘culturally safe’ practice.

  • This video provides an overview of the need for Aboriginal Cultural Safety in health sciences programs, and gives a first-hand account of the project from a University of Toronto instructor.
  • The AHTCulturalSafety YouTube channel offers 4 other informative videos

Indigenous Cultural Competency Training (ICCT)

  • The Ontario’s Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) provides an opportunity for urban Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations to strengthen their professional relationships with Indigenous clients.

  • In an ICCT session, participants have the opportunity to share an understanding of comtemporary priorities, holistic healing, and meaningful community engagement.

  • All of the ICCT are custom designed according to the needs of the group and can range from a 3 hour long high-level presentation or an interactive full-day session.

  • Find a list of topic examples and ICCT sessions included here

Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training – Employers

  • While Miziwe Biik offers a variety of resources for Indigenous clients to improve their vocational skills and employment opportunities, it also offers a number of resources for employers who are already established to become job developers who are interested in realizing the amazing potential Aboriginal persons can bring to their working environment.

  • Their website’s Employers drop-down-link lists the following:
    • Role of the Job Developer – seeks out employers looking to hire Aboriginal persons and assist their counsellors with their clients by securing placements/employment opportunities within corporate, non-profit, and private sector departments and/or agencies.
    • FAQ’s For Employers – which has contact information for Miziwe Biik’s Job Developer
    • Employer Information Sessions – link leads to Canada-Ontario Job Grant (pdf flyer here) & contact information for manager
    • MBAET Employment Ads – pdfs of TTC and PATH advertisements picturing client profiles, a listing of potential employees’ fields, and employers contact call number

Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) - Research

  • The OFIFC does extensive community-driven research, developing the USAI Research Framework as a guideline for all Aboriginal research projects conducted by the OFIFC and urban Indigenous communities:
    • The Utility Self-Voicing Access Inter-Relationality Research Framework (2nd ed)
      • This document is the latest (2016) guide to the OFIFC’s research principles, rules, and ethical considerations.
      • The USAI Research Framework is an acronym of the 4 principles of ethics that guides it:
        • Utility – research needs are based on community priorities
        • Self-Voicing – research, knowledge, and practice are authored by communities that are fully recognized as knowledge Creators and Knowledge keepers
        • Access – research fully recognizes all local knowledge, practice, and experience in all their cultural manifestations as accessible by all research authors and Knowledge Keepers
        • Inter-Relationality – research is historically-suited, geo-politically positioned, relational, and explicit about the perspective from which knowledge is gained
      • It is faithful to Indigenous identity and the medicine wheel, stresses the inherent validity of Indigenous knowledge and its positions within all relationships, and delineates preferred research methodology to provide a culturally-relevant approach to evaluation practices.

  • From the USAI’s guidelines the OFIFC has produced several SSHRC-funded, provincially-funded, and nationally-funded research projects & their resulting publications [Details Here]:

Rehabilitation Research Education & Evaluation Services (RREES) Program & Resource Library

  • RREES is a consulting firm dedicated to providing state-of-the-art management information and rehabilitation educational services

  • Its mandate is to continually research methodologies and services that serve to establish and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of rehabilitation facilities and interventions while connecting a strong interdisciplinary team of academic and clinical research scientists/consultants and information technology professionals to achieve this.

  • RREES’ research initiatives are affiliated with the Mental Health Program/Psychology Department at University of Toronto Scarborough, and Multi-Health Systems, with multi-year grant funding from Mitacs Accelerate towards developing a ROMS based Centre for Excellence in Assessment and Rehabilitation – a world wide data repository dedicated to evidence based best practice interventions with related cultural and Indigenous sensitivity.

  • With regards to its Indigenous focus, RREES has evolved a number of resources, proof of concept services and community competency building initiatives that address the intersectionality of poverty, social deprivation, psychological and cognitive impairments (affecting both parents and children) as related to post-colonial trauma and related resources.

Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre Enterprises

  • In addition to social services and family support programs mentioned in the community section of this resource page, Council Fire also provides:
    • Event Bookings for 2 primary venues, The Gathering Place and the Presentation room, that are available for rental for a variety of social and/or professional functions.
      • Examples of past bookings:
        • Ontario Federation of Indian Friedship Centres (OFIFC) Annual General Meeting
        • Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs Press Conference
        • Lauch of the GTA Aboriginal Directory
        • Hydro One Leadership Breakfast
        • Food Services area for a film production company
        • A Cultural Speaker Series (6 evenings held over a 4 week period)
        • Truth and Reconciliation Committee Press Conference
        • Community Presentation by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

    • Catering Services for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and feasts for in-house events and bookings such as: meetings, presentations, craft services for neighbourhood film productions, conferences.
      • Also provides catering services for outside events such as: pow wows, agency meetings, community events

Toronto Aboriginal Research Project (TARP) Final Report 2011

  • TARP is a community-based research project commissioned by Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) and sponsored by:
    • NCFST, Na-Me-Res, Nishnawbe Homes, Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto, Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations, Native Women’s Resource Center of Toronto, and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.

  • This report was created in response to the lack of systemic, in-depth research pertaining to Aboriginal people living in Toronto, and is one of the largest, most compressive, studies focusing on the GTA’s Aboriginal population.

  • This over 300-page study offers a range of information into the community, including sections dedicated to understanding the living situation, successes, aspirations, and challenges faced by the following:
    • Aboriginal Children and Youth (pg.100)
    • Aboriginal Men (pg. 121)
    • Aboriginal Women (pg. 138)
    • Aboriginal Seniors and Elders (pg. 157)
    • Two-Spirited Aboriginal Community in Toronto (pg. 175)
    • Aboriginal Poverty and Social Services (pg. 188)
    • The Aboriginal Middle Class (pg. 214)
    • Housing in the Toronto Aboriginal Community (pg. 237)
    • Aboriginal Homelessness in Toronto (pg. 258)
    • Aboriginal Culture and Identity in Toronto (pg. 291)
    • Law and Justice and Aboriginal People (pg. 312)
    • Urban Aboriginal Governance (pg. 330)
    • The Aboriginal Arts Community In Toronto (pg. 345)

  • With a sample of over 1,400 individuals, 14 topics studied and seven methodologies utilized, the TARP Final Report offers a useful in-depth demographic profile on the GTA’s Aboriginal community.

Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council

  • TASSC is the leading not-for-profit research, policy, and advocacy organization that addresses the social determinants of health to improve and enhance the socio-economic prospects and cultural well-being of Aboriginal peoples living in the City of Toronto.

Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health (WBIIH) at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health

  • At WBIIH, researchers and educators from across all three University of Toronto campuses work with community partners and Indigenous peoples to address the complex factors that underlie disparities in health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through research, education, and service initiatives.