Federal investment will help TASSC stay on task

·2 min read

Toronto’s urban Indigenous population will get a $2 million boost after an investment by the federal government will enable a major Indigenous support organization to put down roots again.

The Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) is one of the busiest urban Indigenous coalitions in Canada, bringing together 18 local Indigenous support services agencies to improve access to supports and services for Indigenous people living in Canada's largest city.

In 2020, TASSC lost its office space and meeting rooms during the pandemic – resulting in major challenges in delivery and organization of front-line services.

This $2 million federal investment allowed them to purchase their own edifice, allowing the 18 member organizations access to a culturally appropriate space that will used by TASSC personnel and its member organizations for operations, meetings, programs and services, gatherings, ceremony, events, and other activities.

TASSC’s president said the “pivotal” moment for the organization is a recognition of the importance of supporting Toronto’s growing Indigenous population.

“This is a pivotal moment for TASSC. This space offers a unique opportunity for the entire TASSC community to come together in a neighbourhood that already has a strong Indigenous presence,” said Frances Sanderson. “We are so pleased and proud to be able to honour our vision of cooperation, friendship and unity, in this very concrete way. We look forward to continuing to support each other, work together, and celebrate together, in our much-needed new space, for the betterment of the people and communities we serve."

The agency’s executive director echoed those sentiments, saying traditional values and concepts can now be passed down in Toronto for generations to come.

“TASSC was built on the traditional concepts of friendship and collaboration. It is a collectivist mindset that brings us together,” Lindsay Kretschmer said. “This space will offer us the opportunity to continue to collaborate in the spirit of friendship and unity; grounded in our ways of knowing, seeing, being and doing, now and for generations to come."

Federal Indigenous Services minister Patty Hajdu said TASSC is so intertwined with Toronto’s Indigenous community that helping the organization put down physical roots was a no-brainer for the government.

“As an umbrella organization to more than 18 partners, the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) ensures that the urban Indigenous community in Toronto has access to a wide range of supports, including legal services, employment and training resources, child and family service organizations and more,” she said. “With $2 million in new investments announced today from Indigenous Services Canada, TASSC can build and renovate a new home base, allowing them to do more, and reach more people. When Indigenous partners are in the driver's seat, we see better results for everyone. This is reconciliation in action."

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase

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