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Budget investments will strengthen Indigenous communities

Budget investments will strengthen Indigenous communities

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, ON, May 5, 2021 /CNW/ - Our Government recognizes the role it must play in closing long-standing social economic inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians and building a better and fairer Canada for today and future generations. Since 2015, real progress has been made, but more work needs to be done. Through Budget 2021, the government is proposing a historic, new investment of over $18 billion to improve the quality of life and create new opportunities for Indigenous Peoples.

Since the start of the pandemic, Indigenous communities have faced extraordinary health challenges. This budget proposes significant investments to support Indigenous communities in the fight against COVID-19. The budget would support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities, maintain essential health care services for First Nations and Inuit, and make sure students, schools, and post-secondary institutions have the support they need during the pandemic.

To build resilient Indigenous communities and move forward on closing the infrastructure gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, the budget lays out a $6-billion plan to build infrastructure, including the establishment of the $4.3 billion Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund. This fund would advance key infrastructure priorities such as clean drinking water projects, housing, schools, broadband, and health care facilities.

A robust and resilient economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession must bring all people and communities along. That's why this budget proposes to: renew the Indigenous Community Business Fund to support jobs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities; establish a First Nations Finance Authority Emergency Fund to provide repayable support for members with financial difficulties due to COVID-19; and support for Indigenous-led businesses and Indigenous entrepreneurs, including those in the tourism industry, so that Indigenous economies are part of the recovery and experience long-term growth.

Investing in children's education is an important part of the government's plan to build long-term economic resilience. In 2019, the federal government implemented a co-developed policy and funding approach to better support the needs of First Nations students on reserve. To invest in the future of First Nations children and continue to support the co-developed approach Budget 2021 proposes to invest $1.2 billion over five years, and $181.8 million ongoing. This includes $112 million in 2021-22 to extend COVID-19 support so children on reserve can continue to attend school safely.

Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $150.6 million to support Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies. This support would help offset income lost due to COVID-19 that many Indigenous students rely on to pay for tuition, books, housing, and other living expenses.

To support Indigenous post-secondary institutions during COVID-19, Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $26.4 million, in 2021-22, through the Post-Secondary Partnerships Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies.

For far too long, Indigenous Peoples have faced poor health care and their communities have experienced reduced health outcomes. To ensure Indigenous Peoples can access high-quality health care, Budget 2021 proposes to invest $1.4 billion over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $40.6 million ongoing, to maintain essential health care services for First Nations and Inuit, continue work to transform First Nations health systems, and respond to the health impacts of climate change.

To ensure Indigenous Peoples have a greater say over the policies and programs that affect their lives, Budget 2021 proposes funding to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, support Indigenous governance and administrative capacity, advance a new fiscal relationship with First Nations, and support self determination.

With this historic investment, the federal government continues to work with Indigenous Peoples to build a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship—one based on respect, partnership, and recognition of rights.

Quote

"Well before the pandemic, the Government of Canada recognized that a sustained commitment is required to turn the tide on the longstanding inequities faced by Indigenous Peoples. Going forward, Canada will maintain a robust COVID-19 response and create an inclusive recovery plan to ensure that Indigenous communities, businesses, and individuals are not left behind.

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2021 includes proposed investments of more than $18 billion in new funding over the next five years to improve the quality of life and create new opportunities for people living in Indigenous communities. This includes:
    • An additional $1.2 billion to continue supporting the COVID-19 response in Indigenous communities. This includes $478.1 million in additional support for the ongoing public health response in Indigenous communities, as well as an additional $760.8 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund.$1.4 billion, and $40.6 million ongoing, to maintain essential health care services for First Nations and Inuit, continue work to transform health systems, and respond to the health impacts of climate change. This is in addition to the government's commitment to co-develop distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation.
    • $597.6 million for a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. The strategy will renew funding for the Residential Schools Health Supports Program and Crisis Line, which provide healing supports for survivors of childhood trauma and residential schools. It will also enhance community-based supports and capacity, increase substance use treatment and prevention, and support workforce development.
    • $1 billion to increase funding under the First Nations Child and Family Services Program to support work with Indigenous leadership so that all Indigenous children have the opportunity to grow up in their communities, immersed in their cultures, and surrounded by loved ones.
    • $1.2 billion to ensure high quality education for First Nations children, ensure funding remains predictable and extend COVID-19 support so children on reserve can continue to attend school safely
    • $4.3 billion for the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund, a distinctions-based fund that supports shovel-ready projects, as prioritized by First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation communities.
    • $1.7 billion to cover the operations and maintenance costs of community infrastructure in First Nations communities on reserve.
    • $2.2 billion to accelerate work on the National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This includes $126.7 million to take action to foster health systems free from racism and discrimination where Indigenous peoples are respected and safe.
    • $2.5 billion to build on the existing distinctions-based approach to Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, with a long-term investment in Indigenous-led programming that parallels the government's commitment to provinces and territories.
    • $2.7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2021-2022, to ensure that funding for core programs and services provided through the 10-year grants addresses key cost drivers. Escalation will be based on inflation and the population of each community, but a minimum of 2 per cent annual growth will be provided to ensure that First Nations within the grant receive stable and predictable funding. This will strengthen communities' ability to design and deliver services in a manner that reflects community priorities.

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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada



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