Chapter 3 - A Better Future for Indigenous Peoples
Budget 2016 advances the Government’s objective to renew the relationship with Indigenous peoples by making real progress on the issues most important to Indigenous people. Too many generations of Indigenous peoples have suffered from the neglect and failed policies of the federal government. There should be no reason preventing an Indigenous child from having the same hopes and aspirations as any other child in Canada or from having the opportunities to achieve them. Economically, the arguments are sound. Indigenous peoples represent the fastest-growing segment of the Canadian population and are an important part of Canada’s economic prosperity. The unprecedented investments in Indigenous peoples proposed in Budget 2016 will help us to turn the page and begin a new chapter in the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. All Canadians will benefit as a result.
…no relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit.
The relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples is vital. Yet First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit do not enjoy the same quality of life as other people in Canada. Intergenerational poverty harms families and has costs for the Canadian economy. The Government is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to break down the barriers that have for too long held back individuals and communities from reaching their full potential to contribute to and participate in Canada’s prosperity. To support our shared economic interests and to advance the process of reconciliation, this Government proposes an unprecedented level of investment to support Indigenous communities and the aspirations of Indigenous peoples. The proposed investments, including in on reserve education and infrastructure, begin to address some of the root causes of poverty, promote opportunity and inclusive growth, and help to lay the foundation for growth in Indigenous communities. This will benefit the broader Canadian economy.
Budget 2016 proposes to invest $8.4 billion over five years, beginning in 2016–17, to improve the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous peoples and their communities and bring about transformational change. This represents a significant increase over the investments that would have been made under the Kelowna Accord. The unprecedented scale of this investment underscores the Government’s intent to renew the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. The proposed investments in education, infrastructure, training and other programs will directly contribute to a better quality of life for Indigenous peoples and a stronger, more unified, and prosperous Canada.
|Rebuilding the Relationship||36||40||20||20||20||136|
|Education, Children and Training||460||774||806||993||1187||4,220|
National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Our government is committed to real and substantive reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in this country, and the inquiry is an important step on this path to end the unacceptable rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is a national tragedy. On December 8, 2015, the Government announced its intention to launch a national inquiry into the unacceptable overrepresentation of Indigenous women and girls as victims of violence. Budget 2016 proposes to allocate $40 million over two years, beginning in 2016–17, toward the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Engaging with Indigenous Peoples
Renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples will require that the Government do more to ensure that the voices of Indigenous peoples are heard. Aboriginal Representative Organizations have an important role to play in this regard and must be active partners as the Government works to make progress on the issues most important to Indigenous peoples. To support the capacity of Aboriginal Representative Organizations to engage with the Government, Budget 2016 proposes to provide $96 million over five years and $10 million ongoing. The proposed investment will help to ensure that we can move forward in the true spirit of cooperation.
Improving Primary and Secondary Education for First Nations Children
Investing in Aboriginal education will not only benefit the Aboriginal population itself, but will also benefit Canadian governments and, by extension, the entire Canadian population.
Improving the education outcomes of First Nations children living on reserve is critical to improve their quality of life and contribute to stronger communities. Currently, only 38 per cent of First Nations peoples aged 18-24 living on reserve have completed high school, compared to 87 per cent for non-Indigenous Canadians. While Budget 2014 announced funding of $1.25 billion over three years beginning in 2016–17 to support on reserve education, this funding was subsequently reduced in Budget 2015 to $241 million over the same period. This Government has committed to provide funding to make sure that every First Nations child receives a quality education.
To address the critical need to improve education outcomes, Budget 2016 proposes to make substantial investments in primary and secondary education on reserve, totalling $2.6 billion over five years starting in 2016–17, including the remaining funding previously announced in Budget 2014 for this purpose (Table 3.1). This includes funding to address immediate needs and to keep pace with cost growth over the medium term. Budget 2016 also proposes to invest in language and cultural programming. This programming recognizes the unique circumstances and needs of First Nations children and will enrich the classroom experience. Budget 2016 also proposes investments in literacy and numeracy programs and special needs education, which will contribute to improved education outcomes.
In order to achieve meaningful gains in education outcomes for First Nations, Budget 2016 proposes significant funding to support the transformation of the current on reserve education system through a respectful process of consultation and partnership with First Nations. In addition, the field of education is constantly evolving and the impact of policies on education outcomes should be closely measured and evaluated. Budget 2016 proposes funding for this purpose and to apply the latest education innovations to the First Nations context, including support for the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, which has a proven track record of significantly raising the literacy rate of First Nations children on reserve.
Ensuring Indigenous students have the same opportunities for success as other Canadian students also means ensuring Indigenous high school graduates can access post-secondary education. Many currently face a range of barriers in doing so. The Government will work with students, parents, educators and Indigenous groups to explore how to best ensure that students wishing to pursue post-secondary studies have the resources and supports they need to pursue their dreams and be full participants in the new global economy.
Fostering Better Learning Environments by Investing in First Nations Schools
The academic achievement of First Nations children, as well as their health and well-being, depends in large part on the quality of their schools. There is a significant need to repair and construct schools on reserve and ensure that they are adequately maintained. Budget 2016 proposes to invest $969.4 million over five years, starting in 2016–17, in First Nations education infrastructure on reserve.
Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of First Nations Children
The health and safety of First Nations children is a key priority of the Government. The First Nations Child and Family Services program supports First Nations’ child welfare agencies that provide culturally appropriate services to ensure the safety and well-being of First Nations children on reserve. To support both the immediate needs of First Nations children and to begin a process of reform to strengthen the First Nations Child and Family Services program, Budget 2016 proposes to invest $634.8 million over five years, beginning in 2016–17. Program reforms will be developed in partnership with First Nations stakeholders. The goal is to ensure that programming emphasizes the prevention of harmful conditions for children rather than interventions after harm has occurred, which typically involves separating children from their families and communities. An improved approach will help First Nations parents, many of whom have suffered the legacy of residential schools, better access the supports they need to raise their children in safe and healthy environments.
Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy
The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy helps Indigenous peoples in all regions of the country to develop employment skills and pursue training for lasting employment. There is scope to enhance the training provided through this program in fields that would enable First Nations peoples to directly support their community needs, including in housing construction, water treatment, child care, and local administration. Budget 2016 proposes to invest $15 million over two years, beginning in 2016–17, to launch a pilot project to enhance training that aligns with community needs.
The proposed investments in Budget 2016 are the first phase of a renewed and expanded Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. Over the next year, the Government will consult with stakeholders, including Indigenous organizations and employers, in order to work towards a renewed and expanded Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy.
Investing in Social Infrastructure to Create Inclusive Growth
Investing in social infrastructure in Indigenous communities is a key pillar of the Government of Canada’s strategy to create inclusive growth. Investments in social infrastructure can contribute to improving the quality of life of Indigenous communities—by ensuring people have quality housing, improved access to early learning and child care, better health, cultural and recreational infrastructure. Over the next five years, the Government proposes to invest $1.2 billion in support of social infrastructure in First Nations, Inuit and Northern communities. The proposed investments are part of the first phase of the Government’s 10-year plan to invest in social infrastructure and position Canada for sustained long-term, inclusive growth. The second phase of this 10-year plan will include additional investments in social infrastructure for Indigenous communities.
Improving Housing in First Nations Communities
First Nations peoples living on reserve are more likely to experience poor housing conditions and overcrowding than the general population. To address urgent housing needs on reserve, Budget 2016 proposes to provide $554.3 million over two years beginning in 2016–17. Of this amount, $416.6 million over two years would be provided to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to address immediate housing needs on reserve. An additional $137.7 million over two years would be provided to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, most of which would support the renovation and retrofit of existing housing on reserve.
The proposed investments are a first step. The Government will be working with First Nations communities over the coming year to develop an effective long-term approach to supporting the construction and maintenance of an adequate supply of housing on reserve as part of a broader National Housing Framework.
Supporting Northern and Inuit Housing
The need for affordable housing is also particularly high in the North and Inuit communities. To address urgent housing needs in these regions, Budget 2016 proposes to provide up to $177.7 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing initiative. Specifically, over two years, $8 million would be provided to Yukon, $12 million to the Northwest Territories and $76.7 million to Nunavut. Further, investments would also be earmarked for three Inuit regions—Nunavik ($50 million over two years), Nunatsiavut ($15 million over two years) and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region ($15 million over two years).
Providing Safe Shelter for Victims of Violence
No one fleeing domestic violence should be left without a place to turn, including in First Nations communities. Women and children fleeing violence need a safe place to live while they plan their future and turn the page on violence. To support the renovation and construction of new shelters for victims of family violence in First Nations communities, Budget 2016 proposes to provide $10.4 million over three years, starting in 2016–17.
Budget 2016 also proposes up to $33.6 million over five years, beginning in 2016–17, and up to $8.3 million ongoing, in additional funding to better support shelters serving victims of family violence living in First Nations communities. This funding will also ensure the necessary operating resources for the new shelters proposed for First Nations communities under broader investments in social infrastructure.
Supporting Early Learning and Child Care
The Government recognizes that access to affordable, quality child care that is culturally appropriate is critical for Indigenous parents and children. Budget 2016 proposes to undertake urgent repairs and renovations of the facilities used by the Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program and the First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative through a proposed investment of $29.4 million in 2016–17.
In addition, Budget 2016 proposes to provide $100 million in 2017–18 towards Early Learning and Child Care on reserve. The Government will be engaging with Indigenous organizations and parents to determine the best approach to delivering high quality early learning and child care on reserve as part of a new National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care. The proposed investments will complement the significant investments the Government is proposing to make in First Nations K-12 education.
|Improving Primary and Secondary Education for First Nations Children|
|Investments in the Current On Reserve Primary and Secondary Education System|
|Addressing Immediate Funding Needs and Program Cost Growth||35.8||85.5||143.6||206.7||276.0||747.6|
|Language and Culture||55.0||55.0||55.0||55.0||55.0||275.0|
|Literacy and Numeracy||20.0||20.0||20.0||20.0||20.0||100.0|
|Special Needs Education||115.5||115.5||115.5||115.5||115.5||577.5|
|Subtotal—Investments in the Current On Reserve Primary and Secondary Education System||226.3||276.0||334.1||397.2||465.5||1,700.1|
|Supporting System Transformation to Improve Education Outcomes|
|Innovation, Research, Measurement and Evaluation||7.5||7.5||7.5||7.5||7.5||37.5|
|The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative||6.0||6.0||6.0||6.0||6.0||30.0|
|Subtotal—Supporting System Transformation to Improve Education Outcomes||60.1||104.9||146.3||247.8||332.5||891.6|
|Total—Improving Primary and Secondary Education for First Nations Children||287.5||382.9||482.4||647.0||801.0||2,600.8|
|Fostering Better Learning Environments by Investing in First Nations Schools||96.6||282.9||197.4||183.7||208.8||969.4|
|Supporting Early Learning and Child Care||29.4||100||–||–||–||129.4|
Investing in Cultural and Recreational Infrastructure
In First Nations communities, cultural and recreational infrastructure can provide an important focal point for community activities. To support the construction of cultural and recreational infrastructure on reserve, Budget 2016 proposes to provide $76.9 million over two years, beginning in 2016–17.
Improving Community Health Care Facilities on Reserve
Health infrastructure on reserve is aging and in some cases is insufficient to meet growing community needs. To address critically needed health infrastructure for First Nations communities, Budget 2016 proposes to invest $270 million over five years. This funding will support the construction, renovation and repair of nursing stations, residences for health care workers, and health offices that provide health information on reserve.
Investing in Green Infrastructure on Reserve
Green infrastructure investments on reserve can help protect the environment, and the health and safety of communities. They can also create jobs. Over the next five years, the Government proposes to improve on reserve water and wastewater infrastructure and waste management by providing $2.24 billion to First Nations communities to support such improvements. The proposed investments form part of the first phase of the Government’s 10-year plan to invest in green infrastructure. The second phase of this plan will include additional investments in green infrastructure in Indigenous communities.
Monitoring of Water on Reserve
Ensuring that water is safe for consumption requires that it be regularly tested and monitored by trained water system operators and licensed laboratories. To improve the monitoring and testing of on reserve community drinking water, Budget 2016 proposes to invest $141.7 million over five years, starting in 2016–17. This will complement the significant investments that the Government is proposing to make in water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve through the green infrastructure initiative. The proposed investment will also help to monitor progress towards ending boil water advisories on reserve.
Strengthening on Reserve Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
In 2011, a National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Infrastructure identified the need for additional investments in this type of infrastructure as well as the challenges Indigenous communities faced to adequately maintain and operate their facilities. While some progress has been made, significant gaps remain. Budget 2016 proposes to address health and safety needs, ensure proper facility operation and maintenance, and end long-term boil water advisories on reserves within five years by investing an additional $1.8 billion over five years, starting in 2016–17.
Addressing Waste Management for First Nations Communities
Many First Nations communities face challenges in adequately managing garbage and waste on reserve, which can contaminate the environment and pose health and safety risks to people. Budget 2016 proposes to support efforts to improve how garbage and waste is managed on reserve through a proposed investment of $409 million over five years, starting in 2016–17. The proposed funding will help First Nations located near municipalities to divert waste from reserve lands to municipal facilities and reduce the amount of garbage going to landfills through recycling and composting programs.
For remote First Nations communities, the investments will support the construction of properly engineered landfills and ensure that waste disposal meets environmental standards, limiting potential environmental and health impacts that come from poor waste management.
Investing in Community Infrastructure
To complement the social and green investments being proposed on reserve, Budget 2016 also proposes to provide an additional $255 million over two years starting in 2016–17 to the First Nations Infrastructure Fund to support investments in a range of complementary infrastructure such as roads and bridges, energy systems, broadband connectivity, physical infrastructure to mitigate the effects of natural disasters and fire protection services. These investments will help communities as they develop and grow.
Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy
Close to 32 per cent of Indigenous peoples in Canada self-identify as Métis peoples. The Métis Nation represents important Métis communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Budget 2016 proposes to provide $25 million over five years, beginning in 2016–17, to support economic development for the Métis Nation.
Renewing the Urban Aboriginal Strategy
Many Indigenous peoples move to urban centres to pursue new opportunities, but many face challenges that are distinct to urban Indigenous peoples. The $51-million-per-year Urban Aboriginal Strategy seeks to connect Indigenous peoples in urban centres to services and programs that are tailored for their particular needs. However, $23.7 million of the program’s funding is set to expire at the end of the 2015–16 fiscal year. Budget 2016 proposes to renew this funding for 2016–17. Over the course of the next year, the Government will work to identify ways to strengthen the program to more effectively meet the needs of urban Indigenous peoples.
Assisting Indigenous Peoples Facing the Criminal Justice System
Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in the justice system and face challenges that can impact their access to fair judicial proceedings. Budget 2016 proposes to provide an additional $4 million per year for the Aboriginal Courtwork Program. The program assists Indigenous peoples moving through the criminal justice system to better understand their rights and the nature of the charges against them. It also helps those involved in administering the criminal justice system to overcome language and cultural barriers when dealing with Indigenous peoples and to better appreciate the socio-economic circumstances that they face.
Aboriginal Languages Initiative
For many Indigenous peoples, language is an expression of nationhood and identity—a way to transmit values, beliefs and histories from generation to generation. The Aboriginal Languages Initiative invests $5 million per year to promote, preserve, and enhance Indigenous languages. Budget 2016 proposes to extend funding for the initiative to 2016–17. The Government will work with Indigenous groups to consider how to best support Indigenous language and culture beyond 2016–17.
Support for the First Nations Finance Authority
The First Nations Finance Authority allows qualifying First Nations to work collectively to issue bonds and raise long-term private capital for infrastructure and economic development projects in their communities. Budget 2016 proposes to provide $20 million over two years, beginning in 2016–17, to strengthen the Authority’s capital base. This will help the Authority continue to secure the best possible credit rating for the benefit of its borrowing members, allowing participating First Nations to continue to access long-term financing at preferred rates.
Supporting First Nations Fishing Enterprises
The Atlantic and Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiatives are designed around effective co-management approaches with First Nations and other fisheries participants. They seek to integrate First Nations fishing enterprises into existing commercial fisheries to provide economic opportunities for First Nations fishers and to improve the overall management of fisheries on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Budget 2016 proposes to provide $33.1 million in 2016–17 to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to extend the Atlantic and Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiatives. These measures will ensure that First Nations can access commercial fisheries and build sustainable commercial fishing enterprises.
The Government has committed to lift the 2-per-cent funding cap for First Nations programs and work to establish a new fiscal relationship that gives First Nations communities sufficient, predictable and sustained funding.
The 2-per-cent funding cap on programs delivered by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada was put in place in the late 1990s at a time of significant fiscal restraint and was intended to provide sustainable growth in program funding to support Indigenous peoples.
Budget 2016 proposes an unprecedented investment in programs for Indigenous peoples, including in primary and secondary education, child and family services, and on reserve infrastructure. By 2020–21, total funding for Indigenous programs will be 22 per cent above the level of funding that would have been provided under the previous 2-per-cent funding cap. The proposed investments are expected to meet program funding requirements over the next five years. To determine a new long-term fiscal relationship, the Government will engage in consultations with First Nations over the coming year.
|Rebuilding the Relationship|
|National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls||20||20||40|
|Engaging With Indigenous Peoples||16||20||36|
|Subtotal—Rebuilding the Relationship||36||40||76|
|Education, Children and Training|
|Improving Primary and Secondary Education for First Nations Children||288||383||670|
|Fostering Better Learning Environments by Investing in First Nations Schools||97||283||380|
|Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of First Nations Children||71||99||170|
|Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy||5||10||15|
|Subtotal—Education, Children and Training||460||774||1,235|
|Indigenous Peoples—Social Infrastructure|
|Improving Housing in First Nations Communities||277||277||554|
|Supporting Northern and Inuit Housing||76||102||178|
|Providing Safe Shelter for Victims of Violence—Renovation and New Construction||4||4||7|
|Supporting Early Learning and Child Care||29||100||129|
|Investing in Cultural and Recreational Infrastructure||35||42||77|
|Improving Community Health Care Facilities On Reserve||82||82||164|
|Subtotal—Indigenous Peoples—Social Infrastructure||503||607||1,109|
|Indigenous Peoples—Green Infrastructure|
|Strengthening On Reserve Water and Wastewater Infrastructure||296||322||618|
|Addressing Waste Management for First Nations Communities||15||96||112|
|Subtotal—Indigenous Peoples—Green Infrastructure||311||418||729|
|Providing Safe Shelter for Victims of Violence—Shelter Operations||5||5||10|
|Monitoring of Water on Reserve||27||27||55|
|Investing in Community Infrastructure||105||150||255|
|Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy||5||5||10|
|Renewing the Urban Aboriginal Strategy||24||24|
|Assisting Indigenous Peoples Facing the Criminal Justice System||4||4||8|
|Aboriginal Languages Initiative||5||5|
|Support for the First Nations Finance Authority||10||10||20|
|Supporting First Nations Fishing Enterprises||33||33|
|Less funds existing in the fiscal framework||-203||-243||-446|
|Net Fiscal Cost||1,324||1,798||3,123|
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