April 07, 2006 10:00 ET


NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY FAILS TO DELIVER ON PROMISE FOR BEST START FOR ALL CHILDREN Attention: City Editor, Education Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ALDERVILLE FIRST NATION, ON--(CCNMatthews - April 7, 2006) - The licensed daycare center on this First Nation has been ignored by Northumberland County officials planning local implementation of a new provincial initiative. "The Ontario Government envisions an Ontario where: All children and youth have the best opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential" Ontario Best Start Action Plan-A Progress Report.

Chief J.R. Marsden has formally expressed his First Nations concerns about being overlooked by Ontario's "Best Start" program, designed to expand child-care to include successful early learning experiences for children 6 years of age and younger.

"At times I feel that Northumberland County Council forgets Alderville First Nation is part of Northumberland County," said Chief Marsden. "We are never consulted or asked to participate on committees that address issues in the County. Initiatives like the Best Start Program would benefit our Daycare Centre as it would any other daycare in the County. They don't know or have forgotten that Alderville Daycare Centre is fully licensed and is 80% funded by the province and yet we have been excluded from any benefit from the Best Start program".

Northumberland County, with 777 licensed day care spaces, is in the process of implementing their Best Start Transition Plan in daycare, nursery schools, and other child-care facilities. However, Alderville First Nation Daycare has been excluded because it is located on a First Nation.

"We were never even considered for additional spaces and, therefore, it appears that the Alderville First Nation Daycare Centre is being discriminated against," said Chief Marsden.

"As a First Nation within Northumberland County, we are under federal jurisdiction, but the daycare is provincially licensed. This Daycare Centre was established to provide services to Alderville and surrounding communities such as Roseneath and Fenella. We welcome all children."…says Band Councillor Jody Holmes. She further indicated that Alderville has been advised by the Ministry of Community and Social Services that there is an Aboriginal Best Start coming when funds become available.

"This implies that we are second to all other daycare facilities. Our Daycare Centre faces the same challenges as other daycare facilities in Northumberland County, such as high demand with low funding" says Councillor Holmes.

Alderville has forwarded its concerns to Lou Rinaldi, Quinte West, M.P.P., Cathy May, Program Supervisor of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (Central East Region), Paul Macklin, former Liberal Northumberland M.P., Rick Norlock, current Conservative, Northumberland, M.P., Carl Ross, Director of Social Services (Chair of Steering Committee), Clare Briggs, Children's Services Manager (Chair of Implementation Committee & Member of Steering Committee), Mayors and Warden of Northumberland County. Chief Marsden has since been provided a letter dated March 31, 2006 from Denise Mulholland, Community Programs Manager, Municipal Services and First Nations, MCSS, which indicates that they are once again passing the buck back to the Federal Government. The bottom line is that we are receiving provincial funding, we are in Northumberland County and should have been included.

Alderville First Nation calls on Northumberland County Council to make the commitment to include our Daycare Centre in all aspects of this valuable program.

Alderville First Nation established its territory within the County of Northumberland in1837. We are one of 42 First Nations within the Union of Ontario Indians and are located on the southern shore of Rice Lake, north of Cobourg.

Contact Information

  • Denise Graham, Band Administrator, Alderville First Nation
    Primary Phone: 905-352-2011
    E-mail: dgraham@eagle.ca