May 4, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada
No relationship is more important to the federal government than the relationship with Indigenous peoples. Since 2015, real progress has been made, but more work needs to be done. Through Budget 2021, the government is proposing a historic, new investment of over $18 billion to improve the quality of life and create new opportunities for Indigenous peoples.
Since the start of the pandemic, Indigenous communities have faced extraordinary health challenges. This budget proposes significant investments to support Indigenous communities in the fight against COVID-19. The budget would support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities, maintain essential health care services for First Nations and Inuit, and make sure students, schools, and post-secondary institutions have the support they need during the pandemic.
To build resilient Indigenous communities and move forward on closing the infrastructure gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, the budget lays out a $6-billion plan to build infrastructure, including the establishment of the $4.3 billion Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund. This fund would advance key infrastructure priorities such as clean drinking water projects, housing, schools, all-weather roads, northern airstrips, broadband, and health care facilities.
A robust and resilient economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession must bring all people and communities along. That’s why this budget proposes to: renew the Indigenous Community Business Fund to support jobs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities; establish a First Nations Finance Authority Emergency Fund to provide repayable payment support for members with financial difficulties due to COVID-19; and support Indigenous-led businesses and Indigenous entrepreneurs so that Indigenous economies are part of the recovery and experience long-term growth.
To ensure Indigenous peoples have a greater say over the policies and programs that affect their lives, Budget 2021 proposes funding to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, support Indigenous governance and administrative capacity, advance a new fiscal relationship with First Nations, and support self determination.
With this historic investment, the federal government continues to work with Indigenous peoples to build a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship—one based on respect, partnership, and recognition of rights.