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Chapter 6: A Fair Future for Indigenous Peoples

Press Release

A fair Canada is one where the government continues making meaningful progress in the journey of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The federal government continues to prioritize its responsibility to help ensure First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities have what they need to grow and succeed on their own terms.

In 2015, the federal government made a commitment to chart a new path of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Based on the recognition of rights, respect, and partnerships, true reconciliation brings with it the opportunity for all people in Canada to know ourselves and our collective histories better.

Reconciliation starts with renewed Nation-to-Nation, Government-to-Government, and Inuit-Crown relationships and strengthening partnerships with rights holders.

  • In 2017, the Crown and Inuit partners established the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee through the Inuit Nunangat Declaration on Inuit-Crown Partnership. The committee serves as the primary mechanism for advancing reconciliation between Inuit and the Crown, where significant Inuit-Crown priorities have advanced, including the Inuit Nunangat Policy and Inuit-specific investments.
  • In 2017, the federal government and Métis partners established the Métis Permanent Bilateral Mechanism. This process has resulted in better policy and informed investments into Métis communities.
  • In 2017, the federal government and First Nation partners established the Assembly of First Nations Permanent Bilateral Mechanism. This committee strengthened a whole of government focus to investing in First Nations led approaches.
  • In 2023, the federal government held its inaugural meeting of the Self-Governing and Modern Treaty Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum to advance the work to uphold the spirit and intent of Treaties.

In addition, Parliament passed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Together, the federal government and Indigenous partners co-developed the resulting inaugural five-year Action Plan to provide a roadmap for the work towards increased self-determination and rights recognition for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Through long-term investments, the federal government and Indigenous partners are working to foster strong, healthy, and prosperous Indigenous communities for generations to come.

The past year has seen the achievement of important milestones along the path to reconciliation:

  • The Federal Court approved an historic $23.3 billion settlement to compensate those who were harmed by the discriminatory underfunding of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and the government’s narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle.
  • The Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy, supported by $4 billion over seven years, is currently being co-developed with Indigenous partners.
  • The new $2 billion Indigenous Health Equity Fund will address the unique challenges Indigenous people face when accessing health care services.
  • An infusion of $1.6 billion will help ensure First Nations children receive the support they need under Jordan’s Principle.
  • Several more coordination agreements were finalized under An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—a key step towards reducing the number of Indigenous children in care and keeping them connected to their families, communities, and cultures.
  • The Inuit-led Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey continued to roll out to communities to collect up-to-date information to better understand health strengths and challenges at the regional and national levels and contribute to changes that will improve the health and well-being of Inuit.

Budget 2024 continues this work by proposing investments that will advance the health and well-being of Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities. This budget also proposes investments in Indigenous self-determination and economic reconciliation.

It’s only fair that Indigenous communities build prosperity—on their own terms. And for that, they need new tools that are reflective of their unique needs and enable them to exercise their right to self-determination. The government is offering more flexible options for Indigenous Peoples to exercise tax jurisdiction; providing support for entrepreneurship, tourism, and clean energy; and facilitating access to affordable capital.

Health outcomes for Indigenous people remain below those of the general population. This is just one of the many harmful legacies of colonialism which must be addressed at every level. To improve health outcomes and ensure the most vulnerable Indigenous people have the support they need, the government is strengthening on-reserve income assistance and disability income support programs, and investing in primary health care, mental health, and food security.

To make progress towards safe, secure communities, the government is addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the justice system and enhancing funding for community policing, and emergency management and preparedness.

Budget 2024, and ongoing initiatives, will contribute to meaningful improvements in the lives of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis families and communities, and advance the work of building a better Canada for generations today and tomorrow.

Key Investments in First Nations Priorities Since 2015

  • $29 billion for child welfare services, including funding to implement An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, to maintain and enhance the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, and to support ongoing negotiations towards additional program reforms;
  • Nearly $8.1 billion to meet the health, social, and education needs of First Nations children through Jordan’s Principle;
  • $7.2 billion to support primary care and public health on reserve, distinctions-based mental health care, and non-insured health benefits. This also includes $1.2 billion in infrastructure funding, which has already supported 248 health-related projects in First Nations communities;
  • Over $6.1 billion for elementary and secondary education to help First Nations children living on reserve receive high-quality schooling. This also includes $1.8 billion in infrastructure funding, which has already supported 310 school facility projects;
  • Over $6.3 billion to address critical infrastructure gaps related to water and wastewater, and accelerate progress to end long-term and short-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities on reserve;
  • Over $4 billion to support First Nations housing on reserve;
  • Almost $2.5 billion to support community infrastructure on reserve;
  • $1.4 billion to advance housing, water and wastewater, and community infrastructure priorities in Self-Governing and Modern Treaty First Nations;
  • Nearly $2.5 billion to build an early learning and child care system that meets the needs of First Nations families;
  • $991 million for First Nations and Inuit policing and police facilities to provide access to local and culturally sensitive police services that make communities safer; and,
  • $417 million targeted for First Nations post-secondary education.

Key Investments in Inuit Priorities Since 2015

  • $25 million to implement the Inuit Nunangat Policy, which was co-developed with Inuit and will guide the federal government in design, development, and delivery of new and renewed federal programming, policies, and initiatives;
  • Over $1.3 billion to support housing in Inuit communities;
  • $43.7 million to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit Nunangat by 2030;
  • $5.6 billion for non-insured health benefits and distinctions-based mental health care;
  • More than $230 million for Inuit communities to build an early learning and child care system that meets the needs of Inuit families;
  • $220 million to meet the health, social, and education needs of Inuit children through the Inuit Child First Initiative;
  • More than $76 million to support Inuit food security;
  • $70 million to support the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy;
  • $991 million for First Nations and Inuit policing and police facilities to provide access to local and culturally sensitive police services that make communities safer; and,
  • More than $125 million for the Inuit Post-Secondary Education Strategy.

Key Investments in Métis Priorities Since 2015

  • More than $860 million for Métis communities to build an early learning and child care system that meets the needs of Métis families;
  • $690 million to support housing in Métis communities;
  • More than $400 million towards Métis communities’ skills and employment training, economic development, and to support the startup and expansion of Métis small- and medium-sized businesses;
  • $867 million to support distinctions-based mental health care and the monitoring and treatment of chronic diseases; and,
  • More than $360 million for the Métis Nation Post‑Secondary Education Strategy.

Delivering on Indigenous Priorities

For too long, previous governments have failed to invest in the future of Indigenous Peoples. Since 2015, the government has been reversing this trend.

The government has worked with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners to make meaningful, distinctions-based investments that respond to Indigenous-identified priorities.

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