Author: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
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The Government of Canada provides over $10 billion annually in programs directed to Aboriginal people through 34 federal departments and agencies. This funding supports the government's five priorities with respect to Aboriginal issues: education; reconciliation, governance and self-government; economic development; empowering citizens and protecting the vulnerable; and resolution of land issues. It is important to recognize that Aboriginal people, like all other Canadians, benefit from the complete array of programs and services offered by the Government of Canada. In addition, Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP) has provided $1.4 billion over two years (2009–10 and 2010–11) to support Aboriginal people and communities.
However, the Government of Canada's actions are about more than simply funding and investment. The Government of Canada has sought to establish partnerships with key stakeholders and interested partners over the past year to finalize a number of partnership and tripartite agreements with various provinces and territories and First Nation, Inuit and Métis organizations. No federal department – nor any one government or organization – on its own holds exclusive responsibility for resolving issues that affect Aboriginal people.
Improving educational outcomes of Aboriginal learners
The Government remains committed to improving education outcomes for Aboriginal learners through collaborative efforts, such as: the nation–wide Education Partnerships Program and First Nation Student Success Program; the signing of an Inuit Education Accord; agreements to explore further partnering efforts on First Nations education with other provincial governments; and substantial financial investments in education infrastructure.
Healing past injustices and strengthening Canada's relationship with Aboriginal People
The Government remains committed to a new relationship based on reconciliation and healing for past injustices and to strengthening Aboriginal governance and self–government. Examples of this commitment include: Federal support that led to an unprecedented level of Aboriginal participation at the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics; $1.55 billion in Common Experience Payments provided to former students of residential schools; and the Maanulth First Nations Final Agreement Act passed on June 18, 2009.
Improving economic well–being, prosperity and self–reliance
The Government is committed to fostering the conditions and developing the tools required to help Aboriginal people and their communities attain economic well–being, prosperity and self–reliance. During 2009–2010: the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development was announced; the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy was launched on April 1, 2010; and significant Aboriginal jobs, procurement activities for Aboriginal businesses came about as a result of CEAP investments.
Contributing to better health outcomes and safe communities
The Government is committed to assisting those in greatest need, particularly through initiatives such as improved housing and greater access to safe drinking water and health programs. The Government, for instance: introduced legislation to support Matrimonial Real Property rights on reserve; entered into a Communications Protocol on H1N1, including a Virtual Summit on H1N1, with the Assembly of First Nations ; and helped reduce the number of high–risk drinking water systems on reserve from 193 to 49, with only 4 communities remaining on the priority list.
Governments and private industry are increasingly recognizing the tremendous economic potential of Aboriginal communities, particularly in the area of resource development. To realize this potential, the federal government is working closely with provinces and territories to develop effective approaches and processes to fulfill the legal duty to consult and accommodate with a focus on opportunities for inter–jurisdictional cooperation and collaboration. Successes over 2009–2010 include: addressing 141 Specific Claims; the addition of over 51,800 hectares of land to reserves; the announcement of a forum to address the over–lapping claims for the Quebec and Labrador Innu; and the signing of agreements by Canada with the Algonquins of Ontario and the Province of Ontario to facilitate modern–day treaties.
CEAP investments (covering schools, health centres, police stations, water and wastewater facilities, housing and railway service) have benefitted Aboriginal and Northern communities all across Canada:
Comprehensive reports tracking the progress of CEAP's impacts for Aboriginal people and Northern communities can be found at Canada's Economic Action Plan – Budget 2009 Highlights.
A complete copy of the Progress Report on Aboriginal Initiatives from the Government of Canada can be downloaded.