More about the Urban Aboriginal Strategy

Improving opportunities through greater collaboration

The refocused UAS attempts to increase coordination within the Government of Canada to maximize its investments and enable greater federal program alignment with provincial and municipal programming.

The UAS has been redesigned and improved to better address issues facing urban Aboriginal Canadians. Through sustainable partnership policy development, program coordination at the federal level and with different levels of provincial, municipal, Aboriginal governments and private sector partners, the UAS is meant to address local priorities, develop innovative solutions to set priorities, involve partners and reduce the level of disparity that urban Aboriginal people face.

The enhanced UAS is making significant progress along the road to horizontal management as well as shared accountability. It represents a practical step which illustrates how Canada’s New Government is moving in the right direction to ensure that Aboriginal Canadians living in cities across Canada have greater access to the skills and experiences they need to gain access to and succeed in an urban environment.

Long term commitment by Canada’s New Government

The Aboriginal population is projected to remain the fastest-growing segment of the Canadian population. In recent decades, the number of Aboriginal people living in Canada’s urban centres has grown substantially.

Today, about 50 percent of the Aboriginal population lives in Canada’s larger cities. The UAS is now implemented in 12 cities and these 12 cities represent more than 25% of Canada’s total Aboriginal population. The 12 cities include: Vancouver, Prince George, Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thompson, Toronto and Thunder Bay.

Although there are a wealth of opportunities, Aboriginal people continue to face significant challenges such as access to quality education, a meaningful job and adequate housing among others.

The aim of the UAS is to promote self-reliance and increase life choices for Aboriginal people in key centres across Canada. To accomplish this, UAS projects will focus investments in three priority areas:

Improving life skills: by working closely with partners (provinces, municipalities, school boards, Aboriginal communities and service providers and others) to encourage Aboriginal youth to stay in school, to facilitate the integration of Aboriginal learners who have relocated from other communities into urban schools, and to encourage learning enrichment initiatives outside of the formal educational system. Examples of activities include: mentorship programs, summer camps, transitional services for students and families, and leadership programs.

Promoting job training, skills and entrepreneurship: by bringing federal, provincial and municipal partners together, including Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement holders; filling gaps in programming; and removing barriers preventing an individual’s access to quality, lasting employment. Examples of possible activities include: building on provinces’ expertise in developing tools and training in areas like literacy and essential skills; building better linkages between Aboriginal service providers with municipalities and increasing the representation of Aboriginal employees at the city level.

Supporting Aboriginal women, children and families: by working in partnership with key stakeholders including the National Crime Prevention Centre: to reduce the number of families that are living in poverty; to provide transitional support to families that have moved into the city for whatever reason; and to prevent women, children and families from being victims of crime or from entering a life of crime. Examples of activities include: counseling services for Aboriginal women to rebuild self-esteem, encourage positive life choices through culture, education, and life skills training; and healing approaches to eliminate sexual exploitation.

UAS Success Stories

The UAS has proven effective in leveraging monetary and in-kind contributions. To illustrate, between 2003-2006, the Government of Canada invested $28.7M through the UAS, levered an additional $9.6 M from other federal departments and an additional $21.8M from partners outside of the federal arena ($9.2M from provincial governments; $1.6M from municipalities; $4.2M from Aboriginal organizations and $6.8M from other sources, non-profit sector, community foundations, private sector, etc).

In total, over 300 pilot projects were funded under the UAS between 2003-06, leveraging $1.10 in additional funding from partners for every $1 of UAS funding.

For more information about the Federal Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS), visit their website at: