Budget 2017 Highlights – Indigenous and Northern Investments


"The Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples of Canada have begun our own new walk together. And together we've taken the first steps in what we all know is going to be a multi-generational journey."

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,
Address to the Assembly of First Nations, December 6, 2016

Indigenous Investments

Indigenous Peoples represent one of the fastest-growing groups in Canada. First Nations, Inuit and Métis continue to make important and diverse contributions within Canada, and will play a vital role in the future success of our country. Investing in Indigenous communities forms a significant part of our work toward reconciliation and it will benefit all Canadians.

Budget 2017 takes concrete steps to advance reconciliation, improve quality of life, and promote skills and opportunities that will empower Indigenous Peoples to seize the opportunities in today’s and tomorrow’s economy – through an investment of $3.4 billion over five years and further longer term investments.

Stronger Indigenous Communities

  • $828.2 million over five years to improve health outcomes for First Nations and Inuit— including support for mental health services.
  • $4 billion over 10 years for social and green infrastructure to build and improve infrastructure in First Nations and Inuit communities.
  • $225 million over 11 years to improve housing conditions for First Nations, Inuit and Métis not living on-reserve.

Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change

  • $83.8 million over five years to integrate traditional Indigenous knowledge to build a better understanding of climate change and inform adaptation actions; enhance Indigenous community resilience through infrastructure planning and emergency management in those communities where flooding risks are increasing; and enhance resilience in northern communities by improving the design and construction of northern infrastructure.
  • $18.0 million over five years to implement a climate change and health adaptation program for First Nations and Inuit communities, including support for surveillance and monitoring activities, risk assessments, laboratory diagnostics, as well as health professional education and public awareness campaigns.
  • $26.4 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to support Indigenous collaboration on climate change

Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action

  • $89.9 million over the next three years to preserve protect and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures.
  • $18.9 million over the next five years and $5.5 million every four years thereafter, to support Indigenous youth and sport.
  • $165 million over five years to support post-secondary education and skills training for Indigenous Peoples.
  • $120.7 million over five years to address the over-representation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice and corrections systems.

Supporting Economic Opportunities for Indigenous peoples

  • $21.4 million over four years to support the deployment of renewable energy projects in Indigenous and northern communities that rely on diesel for electricity and heating by continuing the Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity Program.
  • $250 million over five years to renew and expand the successful Pacific and Atlantic integrated commercial fisheries initiatives and to augment Indigenous collaborative management programming.
  • $25 million over five years to launch a pilot Indigenous Guardians Program, to give Indigenous peoples greater say and responsibility in how they manage their traditional lands and waterways.
  • $8.6 million over four years to support the development of Canada's unique and authentic Indigenous tourism industry.
  • $50 million in 2017-18 for the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) to provide ASETS service providers with added capacity to meet the growing demand from Indigenous Peoples for skills development and job training.
  • $90 million over two years, beginning in 2017–18 for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, which will support the post-secondary education financial needs of over 4,600 students over the two-year period.
  • To further expand employment opportunities for young Canadians, Budget 2017 proposes $395.5 million over three years, government-wide, starting in 2017–18, for the Youth Employment Strategy. This will include funds for the First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program and First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program.
  • $25 million over five years for post-secondary scholarships from Indspire, with additional leveraging from the private sector of $15 million, that will support scholarships for over 12,000 Indigenous students.

Advancing Reconciliation

  • $3.1 million over three years to establish a secretariat within the Privy Council Office that will support the Working Group of Ministers that will be responsible for a review of laws, policies and operational practices to ensure that Canada is: meeting its constitutional obligations with respect to Indigenous and treaty rights; adhering to international human rights standards, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and supporting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action.
  • $84.9 million over five years to support Métis organizations build their governance capacity and work toward Métis self-government.
  • $13.7 million over two years to support the establishment of new permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations and self-governing First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and self-governing Inuit groups, and the Métis National Council and its governing members. These mechanisms will include annual meetings between the Prime Minister, key Ministers and these organizations to develop policy on shared priorities and monitor progress.
  • $24 million per year, on an ongoing basis, to support the timely resolution of specific claims, in order to address past grievances related to historic treaties and other obligations.

In addition to these financial investments, Budget 2017 provides non-financial provisions to improve lives of Indigenous peoples, Northerners and all Canadians:

  • The Government will also undertake a comprehensive and collaborative review with Indigenous partners of all current federal programs that support Indigenous students who wish to pursue post-secondary education. The purpose of the review will be to ensure that these programs meet the needs of individual students while supporting attendance at, and completion of, a post-secondary degree or credential.
  • To ensure that Canadian families have better access to high-quality, affordable child care, the Government is working with the provinces and territories to develop a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care, focusing on best practices and new approaches to best serve families. In addition, a distinct Indigenous Framework on Early Learning and Child Care will be created in cooperation with Indigenous partners. The distinct Indigenous framework will reflect the unique cultures and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children across Canada.

Previous measures

Budget 2017 builds on the historic investment of $8.4 billion over five years made in Budget 2016 to advance the process of reconciliation, and to support shared economic interests between Canada and Indigenous Peoples. This included:

  • $2.6 billion over five years to make sure that every First Nations child receives a quality education, including building and repairing schools.
  • $4.5 billion over five years in infrastructure investments including housing in Indigenous and northern communities, schools, water and waste water treatment, and other community infrastructure.
  • $634.8 million over five years to ensure the safety and well-being of First Nations' children living on reserve.
  • $64.5 million over five years to support the provision of nutritious food and culturally-appropriate nutrition education initiatives in northern isolated communities.
  • $20 million over five years to support the Aboriginal Courtwork Program.
  • $25 million over five years to support economic development for the Métis Nation.
  • $40 million to launch the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • Following Budget 2016, the Government announced an investment of $382.5 million over three years to support the implementation of Jordan's Principle and $69 million over three years to support First Nations and Inuit mental wellness.

Northern Investments

The Government will invest $2.0 billion over 11 years to support a broad range of infrastructure projects, to be allocated to provinces and territories. Projects could include improving road access or expanding Internet connectivity—building on progress already underway thanks to a $500 million investment in rural broadband included in Budget 2016. Other infrastructure improvements could include the renewal and replacement of energy systems in northern communities, so that remote communities can reduce their reliance on diesel. These investments will be made through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, and will have flexible terms, so that funds can be directed to the areas with the greatest need.

Previous measures

  • Budget 2016 provided up to $177.7 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to provinces and territories to address urgent housing needs in the North.
  • Budget 2016 also provided $64.5 million over five years and $13.8 million ongoing to expand to all northern isolated communities the provision of subsidies on perishable nutritious food and culturally-appropriate nutrition education initiatives through the Nutrition North program.
  • Phase 1 of the Government's infrastructure plan included $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure, including affordable housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational infrastructure, and community health care facilities on reserve.
  • In Budget 2016, the Government committed to invest $500 million to bring high-speed Internet to rural and remote communities in Canada. A new program, Connect to Innovate, is focused on investing in backbone networks—the digital highways that carry traffic between communities—with support also available for last-mile applications. The program's competitive application process is open until April 20, 2017.
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