The Liberal government released its 2016 budget today, which included $8.4 billion over five years for funding initiatives that impact First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. The funding covers programs in education, skills training and infrastructure, including a promise that the government will ensure access to clean drinking water for every child, including those who live on reserves.

In brief, the budget includes:

  • $40 million over two years toward the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • $96 million over five years and $10 million ongoing to engage Indigenous peoples and renew the relationship with government.
  • $2.6 billion over five years to improve primary and secondary education for First Nations children living on reserve.
  • $969.4 million over five years for repair, construction and maintenance of schools on First Nations reserves.
  • $634.8 million over five years to strengthen the on reserve child welfare system.
  • $15 million over two years for Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training to launch a pilot project to enhance training that aligns with community needs.
  • $1.2 billion in support of social infrastructure through a renewed and expanded Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy in First Nations, Inuit and Northern communities. Funds are to ensure people have quality housing, improved access to early learning and child care, better health, cultural and recreational infrastructure.
  • $554.3 million over two years for housing. 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.
  • $177.7 million over two years to address urgent housing needs in the north. 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), Nunavut ($15 million over two years) and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region ($15 million over two years).
  • $29.4 million for 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.
  • $100 million in 2017–18 towards Early Learning and Child Care on reserve.
  • an additional $4 million per year for the Aboriginal Courtwork Program.
  • $5 million for the Aboriginal Languages Initiative. The Government will work with Indigenous groups to consider how to best support Indigenous language and culture beyond 2016–17.
  • $20 million over two years, beginning in 2016–17, to strengthen the First Nations Finance Authority’s capital base
  • $33.1 million in 2016–17 to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to extend the Atlantic and Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiatives to ensure that First Nations can access commercial fisheries and build sustainable commercial fishing enterprises.

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