Author Archive

Removal of sex-based discrimination from the Indian Act: descendants of First Nations women entitled to registration

Dr. Sharon McIvor launched her case to challenge sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act in 1989

B.C. — August 20, 2019 — The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) celebrates BCAAFC President, Dr. Sharon McIvor, for her dedication to removing sex-based discrimination from the Indian Act. On August 15, 2019, the Government of Canada removed the 1951 cut-off from the Indian Act, ensuring women would have the same rights as men in the Act’s registration provisions. This change was the result of decades of litigation.

Dr. McIvor launched her case to challenge sex-discrimination in the Indian Act in 1989. She won a landmark case in the B.C. Court of Appeal in 2009. The win led to Bill C-3 the following year, which restored Indian status to grandchildren of women who lost their status for marrying a non-status man. While Bill C-3 restored Indian status to many, the 1951 cut-off denied status to the grandchildren of Indigenous women if the grandchild was born before September 4, 1951. No such exclusion existed for the grandchildren of Indigenous men.

Dr. McIvor and her son, Jacob Grismer, addressed the Act’s remaining discrimination with a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 2010. They sought confirmation of the entitlement of female status Indians to hold and transmit equal registration status to their descendants, without discrimination based on sex. This case initiated the removal of the 1951 cut-off, resulting in the elimination of sex-based discrimination from the Act.

The Government of Canada reported that independent demographic estimates predict 270,000 to 450,000 individuals could be newly entitled to registration under the Indian Act within the next 10 years. 

If you believe you are entitled to registration, visit canada.ca/indian-status for more information.

About the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres

The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) is the umbrella organization for the 25 Friendship Centres located throughout the province of B.C. Mandated to improve the quality of life for Indigenous peoples, Friendship Centres deliver culturally-relevant programs and services to Indigenous people living off-reserve. B.C. Friendship Centres are part of a national network. For more information, visit bcaafc.com.

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Contact:        Leslie Varley, Executive Director, BCAAFC

                        250.388.5522 | lvarley@bcaafc.com

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BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres Announces New Board of Directors

July 2019 (VICTORIA, BC) – The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) elected three new board members with eight remaining on the board at the 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Williams Lake on July 6, 2019.

The BCAAFC welcomes three new board members to the board:

  1. Carol Camille, Lillooet Friendship Centre Society
  2. Tami Omeasoo, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society
  3. Kerry Chelsea, Cariboo Friendship Society.

We thank our past board members: Victor Tom from Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society for serving as our Treasurer, and Kari Hutchison from Victoria Native Friendship Centre and Richard Samuel from Port Alberni Friendship Centre for serving as directors. We appreciate our continuing board members:

  1. President: Dr. Sharon McIvor, Conayt Friendship Society
  2. Vice-President: Elijah Mack, Conayt Friendship Society
  3. Treasurer: Joanne Mills, Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association
  4. Secretary: Cal Albright, Kermode Friendship Society
  5. Youth Representative: Shyla Elgie, Prince George Native Friendship Centre
  6. Debbie Williams, Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship Society)
  7. Matthew Baran, Ooknakane Friendship Centre
  8. Fabian Alexis, North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society

Composition of New Board of Directors:

President – Dr. Sharon McIvor, Conayt Friendship Society*

Vice-President – Elijah Mack, Conayt Friendship Society

Secretary –  Calvin Albright, Kermode Friendship Society*

Treasurer – Joanne Mills, Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre

Youth Representative – Shyla Elgie, Prince George Native Friendship Centre*

Director – Matthew Baran, Ooknakane Friendship Centre*

Director – Debbie Williams, Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship)*

Director – Fabian Alexis, North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society

Director – Carol Camille, Lillooet Friendship Centre Society

Director – Kerry Chelsea, Cariboo Friendship Society

Director – Tami Omeasoo, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society

*Indicates Board members who are serving their second year on the board.

Always in Friendship,
Leslie Varley
Executive Director, BCAAFC



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What’s Up at Wachiay – multimedia for Friendship Centres

Wachiay Aboriginal Multimedia (WaMM), working out of the Wachiay Friendship Centre in Courtenay, BC, is now podcasting!

“We intend to develop and air podcasts devoted to the stories, celebrations, programs, people, culture and goals of the Friendship Centre Movement across Canada.”

A few weeks ago we launched our first in-house produced podcast: ‘What’s Up at Wachiay’ – a weekly chat with our staff about their programs and services.  We intend to develop and air podcasts devoted to the stories, celebrations, programs, people, culture and goals of the Friendship Centre Movement across Canada. Our youth, staff and Elders will host podcasts where they speak with their fellow Friendship Centre colleagues across Canada about “What’s Up at Their Friendship Centre”. We want to create a national outlet that represents the voices of Friendship Centres.  We’ll even be podcasting live from this summer’s Music Fest here in Courtenay.

So, what is a podcast? Quite simply, it’s a conversation. Like an old school radio talk show, but without rules, restraints or commercials. A host speaks with guests about a topic, story, event, similar interests and an interview or friendly discussion is the end product. We get to listen. And listen we do! The respected publication Fast Company found that in 2018 there were over 525,000 active shows and over 18.5 million podcast episodes!

Podcasts have sky rocketed! So much so that major players like Apple and Soundcloud have jumped into these turbulent waters with both feet.

WaMM intends to take full advantage of this medium with our Community Podcast Centre. When Wachiay purchased our building it came with a fully functioning FM radio station previously known as The JET. Our facilities include a master control room, a professional audio/video production studio, a two person voice-over booth, a five station student work room and a three seated soundproof broadcast room – just like you see on TV! We deliver classes and workshops that cover the full gamut of basic multimedia production including recording, lighting, cameras, mics, editing software and most importantly – writing. Everything starts with a script!

In the planning stages, and soon to go live, will be a podcast series based on the work of a local novelist; a series based on integrating Elders experience and practical advice to youth under duress; a series featuring environmental challenges and changes in our communities; and a podcast devoted to the creative Indigenous arts community here on Vancouver Island. We are even casting for a podcast series featuring traditional children’s stories.

Call or email Rob Crowston at WaMM to talk about what we can create for your Friendship Centre:

Check out our websites: www.wachiay.com , and www.wachiaymultimedia.com to find out more.  

Phone:  778-225-0309  Email: rob@wachiay.com

We look forward to talking with you about how multimedia can spread the word about your Friendship Centre.

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BCAAFC President Dr. Sharon McIvor responds to MMIWG Report

Daflos, P., CTV Vancouver, June 3, 2019 – ‘Shameful and disgraceful milestone’: Response to MMIWG report from Vancouver

“‘It’s finally good to have it acknowledged that what’s been happening to us for the last 200 years is genocide,’ said lawyer, activist and professor Sharon McIvor.”

“McIvor says while she’s encouraged to see the report finally come to fruition, it’s going to take a long time to fix the deep systemic inequalities at play.”

Read the final report here – Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

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GOV 2019 Press Release

Press Release GOV

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Women’s Innovation Fund

PHSA has released guidelines for an Innovation Fund dedicated to Indigenous women living with or at risk of HIV and HCV. This funding is for $75,000 per fiscal year, for 2018/2019 and 2019/20.   Proposals are due on Friday, September 14th and can be submitted to lauren.allan@bccdc.ca.

Please use the attached proposal template  for submissions.

Innovation Fund Guidelines

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Newly Elected Board of Directors

The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres Membership elected a new Board of Directors at the 2018 Annual General Meeting. The AGM was hosted by Lilloet Friendship Centre Society in Whistler July 5-7th, 2018.
The BCAAFC is pleased to announce the new Board of Directors:


1. President: Dr. Sharon McIvor, Conayt Friendship Society, Merrit
2. Vice President: Joanne Mills, Fraser Region Aboriginal Centre, Surrey
3. Secretary: Calvin Albright, Kermode Friendship Centre, Terrace
4. Treasurer: Victor Tom, Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society
5. Youth rep: Shyla Elgie, Prince George
6. Mathew Baran, Ooknakane Friendship Centre, Penticton
7. Richard Samuel, Port Alberni Friendship Centre
8. Keri Hutchison, Victoria Native Friendship Centre
9. Fabian Alexis, North Okanagan Friendship Centre, Vernon
10. Debbie Williams, Hii ye yu Lelum Society House of Friendship, Duncan
11. Elijah Mack, Conayt Friendship Society, Merritt


On behalf of the BCAAFC President, members and staff, we extend a warm welcome to the new Board of Directors.


The newly elected Board of Directors extends their appreciation and gratitude to the previous board for their commitment and dedication, and raises their hands in the Coast Salish way in high respect of the previous President, Annette Morgan, Dze L’ Kant Friendship Centre, for her commitment and leadership over the past seven years.


Always in friendship,
Leslie Varley

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1 Million Points of Service – Cariboo

Cariboo Friendship Society part of provincial one million points of service milestone.

The B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres said the province’s 25 friendship centres provide more than 400 programs.

https://www.wltribune.com/news/cariboo-friendship-society-part-of-provincial-one-million-points-of-service-milestone/

#FC1million

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BC’s 25 Friendship Centres hits one million points of service per year

BC Friendship Centres hit milestone service delivery across BC with over one million points of service within a year.  The 25 Friendship Centres that make up the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres saw over 4,500 clients a week walk through their doors seeking services in a year.

Read more here

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Premier Horgan

Premier John Horgan meets with Friendship Centre House and BCAAFC staff in Prince Rupert.

2018 HorganVisit 02

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