Brendon Gibson

Funding setback threatens Friendship Centre

The Port Alberni Friendship Centre could face staff layoffs and cuts to critical services

The Port Alberni Friendship Centre could face staff layoffs and cuts to critical services over funding setbacks from the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada(INAC).

There are two issues surrounding funding for Friendship Centres across the province: ongoing uncertainty over Community Capacity Support (CCS) program funding, and the fact that the core-funding pot of money—which used to fund Friendship Centres exclusively—will now be shared with multiple other organizations.

“The previous Conservative government amalgamated a number of pooled money for urban services and they put it under the Urban Aboriginal Strategy as one envelope and they created two streams of money,” said Carl Mashon, acting executive director of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres.

The two streams of money are the CCS that provides operational funding to urban Aboriginal community organizations to help them deliver programs and services, and the Urban Partnership (UP) money which is project-specific money.

Mashon said there’s about $43 million for those two streams of money usually distributed among all Friendship Centres in the country.

However, INAC  implemented new criteria and guidelines this year that opens up $23 million core-funding to other aboriginal organizations as well as friendship centres.

The friendship centre association says INAC is breaching the agreed terms and conditions and that the proposed changes will have negative impacts on their agencies’ capacity to deliver services.

“Last week we got a demand note from the department saying you now have to comply with new criteria and guidelines,” Mashon said.

The core-funding has been opened up to other aboriginal organizations, specifically political organizations, Mashon added.

“We’re a service delivery network. We’re not political and we’re there to provide community and family services…That’s a concern because they have not expanded the pool of money,” Mashon said.

The sudden change should not affect every Friendship Centre, Mashon said, because the larger facilities run on a larger budget. Therefore the funding they receive from CSS, although still important, may not be as critical to them than some of the smaller centres who rely significantly on the funding to keep running.

“Port Alberni is kind of a medium-size centre and they’re well managed but I know it’s a concern for them too,” Mashon said. “I think Port Alberni is in a better position than others but they will be concerned if this delay is several more months.”

Port Alberni Friendship Centre executive director Cyndi Stevens agrees.

“This will absolutely affect the way we do business,” she said.

“It will mean laying off staff, it will mean reduced ability to do things, to respond to proposals…it’s absolutely going to increase our workload.”

Stevens said core-funding dollars were already reduced by $30,000 about 20 years ago and now the further reductions will create even more difficulty in keeping services running and staff employed.

“They haven’t even put out the call for funding, I believe that’s going to affect a lot of centres.

“We’re going to be affected by some degree. I have no idea what the timeline is going to be and that doesn’t help us,” Stevens said.

Typically a call for proposals for funding is released in November each year and successful applicants are disclosed in mid- to late February. That has not happened in 2016.

“There should be an increase to core-funding, not a reduction,” Stevens said.

“We’re not saying other areas don’t deserve that funding as well, we believe they do, but they should be allocating new dollars to those, not taking away from organizations that are already suffering.”

Stevens said the last amount of funding they received from CSS was $170,000 and with the new changes the amount would decrease to $120,000.

“This is our 50th year and we’ve done very, very well but why do we have to continuously struggle and continually fight to keep providing services to a population that’s in need,” Stevens said.

 

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

Rosalind Chapman seeks seat on Port Alberni city council

Community volunteer and longtime Alberni Valley resident Rosalind Chapman will seek a… Continue reading

Accident causes power outage on Beaver Creek Road

One sent to West Coast General Hospital in crash

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

Save-On-Foods donates to summer kids’ program in Port Alberni

Food bank takes over from breakfast programs once summer vacation starts

West Coast Hockey Prep Camp draws nearly 1,000 players to Port Alberni

History-making Korean hockey coach joins league of celebrity instructors

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Most Read