OTTAWA, April 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, made the following statement:
"The Government of Canada knows that a country can only truly prosper when all of its citizens have access to the same opportunities to succeed. For too long, Indigenous peoples in Canada have experienced economic and social inequities that have compromised their chances for success. To achieve our goal of meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples we must work in genuine partnership to end these inequities – to close the gap – because healthy and thriving Indigenous communities contribute to a healthy and thriving Canada.
That is why this Government is making historic investments – totalling $8.4 billion over five years – to support Indigenous communities and the aspirations of Indigenous peoples. Budget 2016 includes proposed investments in infrastructure, child and family services, and on-reserve education. These investments target the social determinants of health – the social issues like unhealthy environments, inadequate housing and education, which often contribute to poor nutrition, substance abuse and mental illness. Addressing these factors by investing in the basics will help ensure Indigenous children receive the best possible start in life, make communities stronger and more resilient, and improve health indicators, as well as to support our goal to renew the relationship with Indigenous peoples.
These investments include initiatives focused on Indigenous peoples, children, families and communities, as well as targeted initiatives related to food security, housing and the environment that will improve living conditions and economic prosperity in the North.
Making real change also requires a new fiscal relationship with First Nations, one that provides sufficient, predictable and sustained funding for First Nation communities. By 2020-21 total funding for Indigenous programs will be 22 per cent above what would have been provided under the previous two per cent funding cap.
As the Prime Minister has said, there is no relationship more important to him and to Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples, and we will work across Government to bring the real change they need. These investments will help turn the page, support our shared economic interests, advance the process of reconciliation and reflect the optimism and hope we feel for inclusive and responsible progress for the benefit of all Canadians."
This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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SOURCE Government of Canada
For further information: please contact: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 819-997-0002; Media Relations: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160