Our mission is to develop services that reflect native culture in form and content.

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The Ontario Native Welfare Administrators' Association (ONWAA) is a professional association committed to providing services to First Nation Social Service Administrators in Ontario.

ONWAA is a First Nation membership owned non-profit organization in Ontario. As ONWAA is a leading professional organization, ONWAA is committed to providing services to First Nation Social Service Administrators in Ontario.  The membership is comprised of Social Service Administrators commissioned to administer social services in Ontario. 
ONWAA is not a political organization and is primarily focused on policy training, personal support, and ensuring professional development to its membership. ONWAA interests lie solely in the well-being of its membership and in the successful delivery of social programs. ONWAA supports each member in pursuing social assistance or the delivery mechanism that will best reflect the unique needs of individual communities. 
ONWAA is committed to providing quality, professional services to First Nation communities while respecting local delivery needs and realities. ONWAA offers support services that are specific to the needs of individual communities. ONWAA takes pride in supporting First Nations to build community capacity and enhance Social Service Administrators’ professional development.  At ONWAA, our strong team of professionals will work closely with you to ensure successful delivery of your social program. 


Dedicated to development for over 45 years.....

Kathleen Taylor, of Curve Lake First Nation, founded the Ontario Native Welfare Administrators’ Association (ONWAA) in 1972.  ONWAA’s beginning originated from First Nation Social Services Administrators’ meetings. In these meetings, were discussions about the common practices for the delivery of social assistance in Ontario.  This process continued, until ONWAA organized and became an incorporated entity in the Province of Ontario in 1989.  During this period, ONWAA hired an Executive Director.
The association was further acknowledged and supported, under the All Ontario Chiefs, in Assembly Resolution 92/26. This established a First Nation Social Assistance Training Unit under the direction of the ONWAA Board of Directors. Since that time ONWAA strives to maintain, a fully staffed training unit developed to educate, support, and identify improvements in regard to the delivery of social assistance within Ontario First Nation communities.  
The association was housed in Garden River First Nation, until recently when it moved to Neyaashiinigmiing and is operated by an executive director and staff, and governed by five board of directors and one president. 


Goals of the Organization

  • To enhance the sufficiency of First Nation Social Service Administrators in Ontario.
  • To design and deliver curriculum that reflect native culture, value and community realities. 
  • To ensure professional development and support the First Nation Social Assistance Administrators. 
  • To provide input and recommendations for program improvements to First Nation, Provincial and Federal Governments. 


I.      Coordinate conferences, meetings and training initiatives that will enhance the knowledge of its membership.
II.      Provide policy interpretation and ensure that such interpretations are organized and reflect First Nation community demographics.
III.      Communicate program changes and enhancements to its membership that is easily understood and are consistent with First Nation community demographics.
IV.      Offer recommendations that will augment First Nation Social Assistance program and case management standards.
V.      As requested, provide on-site social assistance training and presentations focusing on social assistance delivery, policy and regulations.
VI.      Act as a reference group for native organizations, governmental bodies, and other agencies on matters that relate to First Nation social assistance programs, delivery and standards.  
Team Members
Staci Williams Project Coordinator
(807) 407-6078
(705) 942-9993 (fax)
[email protected]
Jessica Nadjiwon-Smith Executive Director
(705) 942-3157
(705) 942-9993 (fax)
Email: [email protected]
Daphne Tsang Digital Content Creator
(519) 477-2826
Email: [email protected]
Lauren McClure Elearn Designer
(705) 989-5506
email: [email protected]
Ray Fox Artist-in-Residence
(705) 541-8676
email: [email protected]
Kelsey Leblanc Social Program Coach/Trainer
Email [email protected]
Gene Taylor OESP Intake Worker
(705) 942-3157
 (877) 291-7542 
[email protected]
Lorna Bell OESP Coordinator
(705) 942-3157 (877) 291-7542
Email: [email protected]