Budget 2013 Highlights – Aboriginal and Northern Investments

Economic Action Plan 2013: Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity   announced $872 million in total investments for Aboriginal and Northern communities, which will allow them to participate more fully in Canada's economy and benefit from its growth. Of the total investment, about $618 million is directed toward Aboriginal Peoples and their communities. The remaining $254 million provides investments for Northerners. The majority of the investments ($545 million) will be spent within the first two years.

Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2013 advances the Government's continuing commitment to promoting jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity by building on the foundations laid in EAP.

Building Strong Aboriginal Communities

Community Infrastructure

Budget 2013 renews Canada's commitment to the First Nations Component of the Building Canada Fund and will provide $155 million over ten years from the new Fund, and allocations from the Gas Tax Fund component of the Community Improvement Fund, to the First Nation Infrastructure Fund for investments in roads, bridges, energy systems, connectivity and waste disposal.

Job Opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples

To help Aboriginal people on reserve access the labour force, Budget 2013 invests $241 million over five years to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program to help ensure Aboriginal youth can access the skills and training they need to secure employment. This includes:

  • First Nation Job Fund – $109 million over five years, will fund the provision of personalized job training to recipients, and their Income Assistance benefits will depend on participation in training as per current practice in their province of residence.
  • $132 million over five years will be provided to First Nations communities to create the service delivery infrastructure necessary, including counselling support, to effectively support and ensure compliance among on-reserve Income Assistance recipients.

Funding will be accessible only to those reserve communities that choose to implement mandatory participation in training for young Income Assistance recipients.

Improving First Nation Education

The Government will continue to consult with First Nations across Canada on the development of a First Nation Education Act and is committed to sharing draft legislation with First Nations communities for their input.

Support Post-Secondary Education for Aboriginal Students and Future Business Leaders

Budget 2013 invests $10 million over two years for post-secondary scholarships and bursaries for over 2,200 First Nations and Inuit students annually. This will be delivered by Indspire, an organization led by Roberta Jamieson with a proven record of success.

And to further promote Aboriginal Business Leaders, Budget 2013 invests $5 million over five years for Cape Breton University's Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies to encourage business studies by Aboriginal students.

Enhancing First Nation Economic Development

Budget 2013 will expand the First Nations Land Management Regime by investing $9 million over two years to create further opportunities for economic development on reserve. This will add 33 First Nations to the regime, including the 8 announced earlier this year.

In addition, Budget 2013 will extend the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative and the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative by investing $33 million in 2013–14 to extend the Initiative to assist First Nations fishers to engage productively in commercial fisheries on both Coasts.

Specific Claims

The certainty provided through fair and final settlements of specific claims provides economic benefits for First Nations, Industry and their communities. $54 million has been proposed over two years to ensure that specific claims are addressed promptly, providing resolution to First Nations claimants.

Family Violence

Budget 2013 is helping to address family violence on reserve by investing $24 million over two years for the Family Violence Prevention Program to help improve safety on reserve.

Other investments for Safer First Nations

Policing in First Nation and Inuit communities – $33 million over two years to provide stable multi-year funding for policing in First Nations and Inuit communities.

Aboriginal Justice Strategy – $11 million in 2013–14 for the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, a partnership with provinces, territories, and Aboriginal communities that supports culturally-sensitive, effective alternatives to the mainstream justice system for non-violent property or lesser offences.

First Nations contraband tobacco policing – $3 million over two years for ten additional police officers in First Nations self-administered police services, to focus on contraband tobacco.

Improving First Nations and Inuit Health

Health Care Services to First Nations communities – $48 million over two years to improve the quality of health care on reserve by expanding electronic health services within remote and isolated First Nations communities and the number of health facilities on-reserve that are accredited.

Enhanced Mental Health services in First Nations communities – Budget 2013 commits $4 million over two years to increase the number of mental health wellness teams and specialized services available in First Nations communities.

Non-Insured Health Benefits Program – Continued funding for the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program that provides supplementary health benefits to eligible First Nations and Inuit people.

Investing in the North

Extension of Mineral Tax credit – Supporting junior mineral exploration by extending the 15-per-cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year, at a net cost of $100 million.

Federal contribution to Inuvik – An additional $50 million toward the construction of an all-season gravel road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories—for a total federal contribution of up to $200 million.

Nunavut Housing – Budget 2013 invests $100 million over two years to support the construction of about 250 new housing units in Nunavut.

Protecting against invasive species – Budget 2013 invests $4 million over three years to protect against invasive species through continued enforcement and monitoring of ballast water regulations and increased ballast water inspection capacity in the Arctic.

Other Investments for Canada's North and Northerners

Capital Funding for Yukon College – Capital support for Yukon College's Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining. Proposal to provide capital funding, subject to matching funding from the Yukon government and the private sector, to support Yukon College's Center for Northern Innovation in Mining.