TREATY ONE TERRITORY, WINNIPEG, April 25, 2019 /CNW/ - Since its first budget in 2016, the Government of Canada has taken significant action to improve the quality of life for Indigenous peoples across Canada. Working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis has improved the way Indigenous people access services in their own communities.
Today, the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, together with Dan Vandal, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Kevin Lamoureux, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, and Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Kevin Hart were in Winnipeg to highlight the Government's proposed Indigenous-related investments in Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde participated in the event and spoke to the importance of sustained investments to achieve prosperity for First Nations and all of Canada. These important investments represent the next step in the ongoing path toward reconciliation and a better future for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
Speaking at an event at Tina's Safe Haven, Minister O'Regan discussed how the Government is building on its historic investments in areas of critical need for Indigenous communities, including education, mental wellness and housing. The Government's Budget also commits new funding to continue efforts to improve access to clean drinking water, to support better health and enhance emergency preparedness.
Through Budget 2019, the Government proposes to:
- Ensure that First Nations children continue to have access to the services that they need through Jordan's Principle.
- Forgive all outstanding comprehensive claim negotiation loans and reimburse Indigenous governments that have already repaid these loans, to address rights and self-determination in communities.
- Improve access to clean drinking water, supporting ongoing efforts to eliminate and prevent long-term drinking water advisories.
- Support the revitalization of Indigenous languages by implementing the proposed Indigenous Languages Act, supporting Indigenous-led language projects and creating the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages.
- Help First Nations communities prepare for emergencies and adapt to the threats of climate change by supporting increased resiliency and emergency management services on-reserve, as well as investing in on-reserve infrastructure.
- Ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are able to fully contribute to and share in Canada's economic success by supporting more Indigenous entrepreneurs and revitalizing Indigenous-led businesses, and institutions.
- Enable First Nations, Inuit and Métis students to have better access to post-secondary education, and provide more support to ensure that they can succeed during their studies.
With these investments, the Government is taking concrete action to advance reconciliation and make a better future for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
"Canada can't progress as a fair, prosperous nation until the disparities faced by this land's Indigenous peoples are thoroughly addressed. Canada and Indigenous peoples are continuing to forge a new relationship based on trust, respect and a true spirit of cooperation. The proposed Budget 2019 investments in Jordan's Principle will assist First Nations children and families in getting the supports and services they need, regardless of where they live, and without jurisdictional disputes. Budget 2019 builds on the work we have accomplished together with First Nations, Inuit and Métis over almost four years, and takes the necessary next steps to improve the quality of life of Indigenous people."
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
"Budget 2019 sets out important investments in First Nations children through Jordan's Principle, funding for First Nations languages, safe drinking water, emergency services, land claims and economic development and is a result of our sustained advocacy by First Nations and AFN. This progress helps build healthier First Nations, stronger First Nations governments and a stronger Canada. But progress does not mean parity. We need to continue the momentum on sustained investments in our children and families. We need to work together to support the vision and approaches of our people and nations. We must support First Nations in taking control of the implementation of Jordan's Principle and ensure our children have the direct access to the products, care and services they need wherever they reside."
Assembly of First Nations National Chief
- With Budget 2019, the total federal government investments in Indigenous programs are more than $17 billion in 2021–22, an increase of 50 per cent compared to the year the Government was elected.
- Since 2015, the Government has invested nearly $2 billion to build, repair and upgrade public water systems in First Nations communities, resulting in more than 80 long-term drinking water advisories being lifted, with the final goal of having all advisories lifted by 2021.
- To help First Nations children access important health and social services, Budget 2019 proposes to provide $1.2 billion over three years to Jordan's Principle, beginning in 2019–20.
- Since 2016, the Government has made available $679.9 million to Jordan's Principle to help with health, social and education services that are needed right away.
- From July 2016 to March 31, 2019, there have been more than 218,000 requests for products, services and supports approved for First Nations children under Jordan's Principle. This includes mental health supports, medical equipment, speech therapy, educational supports, and more.
- To address the immediate needs of Inuit children who face a number of challenges accessing health and social services, Budget 2019 proposes to invest $220 million over five years, beginning in 2019–20.
- Forgiving and reimbursing loans will allow more than 200 Indigenous communities to reinvest in their priorities like governance, infrastructure and economic development that will increase health and well-being for all community members.
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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada
For further information: For more information, media may contact: Jeff Valois, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, 613-698-2884; Media Relations, Indigenous Services Canada, 819-953-1160, [email protected]