First Communities Announced for Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan

The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation has just announced that the initial phase of the Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan (ORAAP) will include community pilots in Vancouver, Surrey, Prince George, Kamloops, and Duncan. The October 3, 2011 Speech from the Throne acknowledged the importance of the off-reserve Aboriginal population and committed to working with Aboriginal partners, the federal government and local governments to develop a plan.

The ORAAP includes a multi-stakeholder, community-driven approach with the focus of improving the socio-economic outcomes of British Columbia's off-reserve Aboriginal people in all key sectors including health, education, housing, employment and justice.

Communities were selected by the ORAAP Provincial Co-ordination Team (PCT), which oversees the development of ORAAP, based on several factors. These include high concentrations of BC's urban Aboriginal population; alignment with the federal Urban Aboriginal Strategy; coverage of key regions of the province; critical mass of programs and services; and the readiness of the community to participate in a pilot project.

Local Friendship Centres will coordinate the planning in Surrey, Kamloops, Duncan and Prince George and the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council (MVAEC) will coordinate the planning in Vancouver. The deliverable will be local action plans that speak to community vision, priorities, key initiatives/actions, key partners to support implementation and expected outcomes.

The next step is for the Friendship Centres and MVAEC to begin planning in the five communities. These organizations will hold discussions on the formation of local community teams to oversee planning processes and establish a process and timelines for the development of community action plans.

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