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Chapter 7:
Moving Forward on Reconciliation

The federal government is committed to a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, truth, co-operation, and partnership.

Since 2015, the federal government has been guided by the principle that Indigenous nations are self-determining, self-governing, and rightfully aspire to having strong and healthy communities. Historic investments have been made to support Indigenous priorities and their path to self-determination. These investments are building progress to address the inequalities that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. But there is more work to be done and the federal government will continue to be there to work alongside Indigenous peoples to address historic injustices.

The government continues to work with Indigenous peoples to improve housing infrastructure, to support education and child care, to take action on the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

With the help of $5.3 billion in new funding announced since 2015, 131 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted on reserve as of March 21, 2022, and 212 short-term drinking water advisories have been prevented from becoming long-term. The federal government remains committed to ensuring all First Nations communities have access to clean drinking water.

Chart 7.1
As of March 21, 2022, 131 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted since 2015
Chart 7.1: As of March 30, 2022, 131 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted since 2015

Source: Indigenous Services Canada

Text version
LTDWAs added LTDWAs lifted
2015 3 4
2016 10 17
2017 13 19
2018 10 38
2019 6 9
2020 13 11
2021 7 28
2022 3 5

The federal government has also co-developed key legislation that affirms Indigenous rights related to Indigenous languages and child welfare. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which became law in June 2021, provides a framework to uphold Indigenous rights, both now and in the future. In the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update, the government provisioned $40 billion to compensate for past harms experienced through the child and family services system and to support long-term program reforms that will ensure no child faces discrimination again.

Building on this foundation, Budget 2022 proposes to invest an additional $11 billion over six years to continue to support Indigenous children and families, and to help Indigenous communities continue to grow and shape their futures.

Chart 7.2
Support for Indigenous Peoples (Actual and Projected)
Indigenous Investments 2015-16 to 2022-23
Chart 7.2: Support for Indigenous Peoples (Actual and Projected)

Notes: This figure does not include $20 billion in proposed compensation to address harms caused by the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and for delays or denials in needed children's services (as announced in the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update).
The $20 billion previously announced to respond to orders from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and support long-term reforms to the First Nations Child and Family Services Program is over five years, starting in 2022-23 through to 2026-27.
Sources: Public Accounts of Canada; Department of Finance Canada.

Text version
  Actual Expenditures (Public Accounts of Canada) Historical Growth Rate Total Projected Expenditures  First Nations Child and Family Services Program Reform (CHRT)
2015-16 $11,400,000,000 $11,400,000,000
2016-17 $12,900,000,000 $11,900,000,000
2017-18 $15,400,000,000 $12,100,000,000
2018-19 $17,000,000,000 $12,300,000,000
2019-20 $20,500,000,000 $12,600,000,000
2020-21 $22,700,000,000 $12,800,000,000
2021-22 $13,100,000,000 $25,100,000,000
2022-23 $13,400,000,000 $27,400,000,000 $1,900,000,000

Key Ongoing Actions

Budget 2021 provided $18 billion in new investments to support Indigenous peoples and Indigenous communities, including a range of measures that are delivering important benefits in 2022-23:

7.1 Addressing Past Harms and Discrimination Related to Indigenous Children and Families

Indigenous children are the future leaders of both their communities and Canada, but generations of children were robbed of the chance to grow up surrounded by their loved ones, language, and culture—whether due to the tragedy of residential schools, or as a result of child welfare services. Canada has acknowledged the harms suffered and has begun the process of compensating the survivors of this shameful legacy, starting with the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and similar settlements for survivors of the Sixties Scoop and Federal Indian Day Schools.

Canada also continues to work with partners to finalize settlements that will deliver on the historic $40 billion agreements-in-principle announced on January 4, 2022. Once final, these settlements will provide compensation for First Nations children on reserves and in Yukon who were removed from their homes, and those impacted by the government's narrow definition of Jordan's Principle, including for their parents and caregivers. They will also achieve long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and a renewed approach to Jordan's Principle to eliminate discrimination and prevent it from recurring.

Budget 2022 continues the work of addressing the legacy of harms to Indigenous children and families with additional investments of more than $4.7 billion to support communities as they cope with their past and build a future where Indigenous children can thrive.

Supporting First Nations Children Through Jordan’s Principle

The federal government is committed to eliminating the systemic barriers that prevent First Nations children from accessing services and support they need to thrive. Jordan’s Principle is a vital part of this work, helping to ensure that all First Nations children can access the health, social, and educational services they need, when they need them. Since 2016, the government has committed nearly $2.4 billion towards meeting the needs of First Nations children through Jordan’s Principle.

Honouring Jordan River Anderson

Jordan's Principle is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. He was born in 1999 with multiple disabilities and stayed in the hospital from birth.

When he was two years old, doctors said Jordan could move to a special home for his medical needs. However, different orders of government in Canada fund different services for First Nations children. The federal and provincial governments could not agree on who would pay for his home-based care, and because of their dispute, Jordan stayed in hospital until he passed away at the age of five.

In his memory, the House of Commons passed a motion in support of Jordan's Principle in 2007. Jordan’s Principle was a commitment that First Nations children would be able to receive the services and supports they need, when they need them—payments would be worked out later.

The government is working to reach a final agreement with First Nations representatives on how to support First Nations children for generations to come.

This is the legacy of Jordan River Anderson.

Implementing Indigenous Child Welfare Legislation

The government is committed to addressing theImplementing Indigenous Child Welfare Legislation over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in care. An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families came into force on January 1, 2020, and is an important step towards meaningfully addressing disparities in the child and family services system. In 2021, the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan became the first community to sign a Coordination Agreement, reclaiming jurisdiction over their child welfare system and the right to make decisions about what is best for their children and families.

Many more Indigenous communities are taking the steps they need to do the same. Investments in Indigenous-led solutions are required to both reduce the number of children in care, and to keep Indigenous children and youth connected to their families, their communities, and their culture. Budget 2022 proposes important funding to support the Act’s implementation and affirm Indigenous jurisdiction over child and family services.

Addressing the Shameful Legacy of Residential Schools

The country was shaken following the multiple discoveries of unmarked burial sites at former residential schools over the past year, which are reminders of the shameful legacy of residential schools and colonialism.

The announcements of these mass burial sites have brought up painful memories, and triggered suppressed traumas within Indigenous communities. Survivors and their families have experienced an increased need for emotional and cultural support. The federal government will continue to be there to support communities as they respond to and heal from intergenerational trauma and the ongoing impact of residential schools. Addressing the legacy of residential schools will take time, and Canada will undertake this work in partnership with Indigenous people and communities.

7.2 Supporting Strong and Healthy Communities

Budget 2021 announced historic investments to support Indigenous communities. However, making good on the government’s commitments to close gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, and building strong and resilient Indigenous communities will require sustained focus and effort.

Bolstered by previous investments, Budget 2022 seeks to shore up the foundations necessary for healthy communities, including housing and clean drinking water. It also seeks to address ongoing health and mental wellness challenges by ensuring continued access to culturally-appropriate services that meet the unique needs of Indigenous peoples and communities. Proposed investments will also strengthen First Nations control over elementary and secondary education on reserve.

Improving Health Outcomes in Indigenous Communities

As Canada comes through the pandemic, the government will continue making high-quality and culturally-relevant health care, free from discrimination, a reality for Indigenous peoples. This remains a significant task, but work is already underway with Indigenous partners and the provinces and territories to co-develop distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation and ensure health services are responsive to the distinct needs of all Indigenous people, no matter where they live.

Distinctions-based Mental Health and Wellness

Addressing the unique and deeply rooted traumas of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities—which include intergenerational trauma; overt and systemic racism and discrimination; and social and economic inequality—requires a distinctions-based approach to mental health and wellness that is developed and delivered by Indigenous peoples.

First Nations Elementary and Secondary Education

Education is key to a strong start in life. In 2019, the federal government implemented a new co-developed policy and funding approach to help ensure First Nations children living on reserve receive a high-quality education that meets their unique needs. Since then, First Nations education systems have benefited from more than $3.8 billion in investments.

Clean Drinking Water and Better Infrastructure for First Nations Communities

Working with First Nations communities to support sustainable access to safe drinking water is at the heart of the federal government’s commitment to Indigenous peoples. Since 2015, the government has invested $5.3 billion to build and repair water and wastewater infrastructure and support the effective management and maintenance of water systems.

With the support of these investments, since 2015, First Nations have lifted 131 long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves as of March 21, 2022 and initiatives are underway to resolve the remaining 34. In addition, 212 short-term drinking water advisories have been lifted before becoming long-term.

Chart 7.3
Progress on Lifting Long-Term Drinking Water Advisories
Chart 7.3: Progress on Lifting Long-Term Drinking Water Advisories

Source: Indigenous Services Canada

Text version
LTDWAs As of March 15, 2022 % Number
Advisory Lifted 79% 131
Project Complete - Advisory Lift Pending 7% 19
Project to Lift Advisory in Construction 12% 12
Project to Lift Advisory in Design Phase 1% 2
Feasibility Study Being Conducted to Address Advisory 1% 1
Total (131 lifted + 34 in effect) 100% 165

To accelerate progress to end long-term drinking water advisories and continue addressing critical infrastructure gaps in First Nations communities on reserve:

Ensuring lasting drinking water and wastewater infrastructure requires a modern and effective regulatory regime. To this end, the government affirms its commitment to repeal the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act that has been in place since 2013 and does not meet the needs of First Nations. The federal government will work with First Nations to develop replacement legislation. The government also intends to amend the Income Tax Act to exclude from taxation the income of the Safe Drinking Water Trust established under the Safe Drinking Water Class Action Settlement Agreement.

In 2018, Lubicon Lake Band and the governments of Canada and Alberta signed a settlement to resolve the First Nation’s longstanding claim that included an agreement to support new community infrastructure.

Investing in Housing for Indigenous Communities

Access to safe and affordable housing is critical to improving health and social outcomes and to ensuring a better future for Indigenous communities and children. That is why the federal government has committed more than $2.7 billion to support housing in Indigenous communities since 2015.

We also know that Indigenous peoples, regardless of where they live, face unique barriers to affordable housing.

Along with these new investments, the federal government will allocate $2 billion of the $20 billion provided for long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program to target the housing needs of First Nations children once a final settlement agreement is reached.

These measures will result in a combined $6.3 billion over seven years towards improving and expanding Indigenous housing in Canada.

7.3 Advancing Self-Determination and Prosperity

As stewards and rights-holders of land and resources—and with a young, dynamic, and growing population—Indigenous communities play a vital role in our shared economic recovery and in achieving our long-term environmental goals. This path to shared prosperity, however, must be founded on a recognition of Indigenous peoples’ inherent right to self-determination.

That is why Budget 2022 is investing to ensure the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and taking steps to advance Indigenous climate leadership. Budget 2022 also proposes investments to help position Indigenous communities to seize economic opportunities, including in key sectors like tourism and natural resources.

Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

The coming into force of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act marked a historic milestone in Canada’s collective journey towards reconciliation—one rooted in the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. The federal government remains committed to the Act’s full and effective implementation, in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

Legislative Changes to Support Self-Determination

Building strong Indigenous nations requires strong Indigenous governments and Indigenous-led institutions. This is why Budget 2022 affirms the federal government’s commitment to make legislative changes that will help move beyond colonial systems to advance Indigenous self-determination.

Indigenous Climate Leadership

Climate change has exacerbated existing vulnerabilities for Indigenous peoples, including flooding, wildfires, permafrost thaw, and threats to local food sources. As Indigenous peoples and their ancestors have long been the stewards and managers of the lands and waters that make-up Canada’s ecosystem, Indigenous peoples are critical partners to conversations about addressing climate change at all levels of Canadian Society. That is why Indigenous climate leadership, through a strong nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationship is a cornerstone of Canada’s 2020 strengthened climate plan.

Partnering with Indigenous Peoples in Natural Resource Projects

Many natural resource projects are located in or near Indigenous communities, including projects to develop the critical minerals that will be needed for Canada’s economy to reach net-zero by 2050. Investing in these partnerships early in the development of resources projects can ensure meaningful opportunities for Indigenous participation, as well as greater certainty for investors.

Indigenous Economic Participation in Trans Mountain

Once completed, the Trans Mountain Expansion Project will be an integral part of Canada’s long term energy infrastructure. Over the life of the pipeline, the Trans Mountain Corporation will generate billions in cash flow. The federal government believes that Indigenous communities along the project corridor and marine shipping route should have the opportunity to participate in the economic opportunity created by the project. Indigenous economic participation in Trans Mountain can serve as a significant source of ongoing funds for those communities’ economic development and a further step in the development of an alternative model for Indigenous partnership in natural resource development in Canada.

The federal government has been engaging with the Indigenous communities along the project corridor and marine shipping route and will announce, later this year, the next steps toward their participation in Trans Mountain.

Supporting Indigenous Businesses and Community Economic Development

Advancing reconciliation requires a commitment to Indigenous economic self-determination. With more than 50,000 Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada—and with many investing profits back into their communities—Indigenous economic development projects and community-owned businesses provide sustainable revenue streams that support a better, more prosperous future for generations to come. Together with support for the Indigenous tourism industry outlined in Chapter 2, the following community-level investments will support Indigenous communities’ contribution to Canada’s economic recovery.

We also know that the cumulative effects of multiple waves of COVID-19 have had a significant impact on Indigenous businesses, with more than 75 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business reporting decreases in revenues as a direct result of the pandemic.

Advancing Tax Jurisdiction for Indigenous Governments

Since 1998, the federal government has entered into 61 tax jurisdiction agreements with Indigenous governments, generating important revenues that support community priorities and advance self-determination.

The government confirms its commitment to negotiating agreements with interested Indigenous governments to enable the implementation of a First Nations Goods and Services Tax within their settlement lands or reserves. The government also confirms its commitment to working with interested self-governing Indigenous governments to enable them to implement personal income taxes within their settlement lands.

As committed in Budget 2021, the government will work with Indigenous groups and organizations on a potential fuel, alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco (FACT) sales tax framework as an additional option for Indigenous governments to exercise tax jurisdiction.

The government has a continued interest in facilitating taxation arrangements between interested provinces or territories and Indigenous governments.

Chapter 7
Moving Forward on Reconciliation
millions of dollars
  2021–
2022
2022-
2023
2023-
2024
2024-
2025
2025-
2026
2026-
2027
Total
7.1. Addressing Past Harms and Discrimination
Related to Indigenous Children and Families
  200   953   898   897   811   813   4,573
Supporting First Nations Children Through Jordan’s Principle1  153  773  773  773  773  773  4,017
Implementing Indigenous Child Welfare Legislation  47  48  58  65  30  32  280
Addressing the Shameful Legacy of Residential Schools  0  133  68  59  8  8  275
7.2. Supporting Strong and Healthy Communities  0  1,471  956  916  1,029  1,149  5,521
Improving Health Outcomes in Indigenous Communities  0  459  0  0  0  0  459
Distinctions-based Mental Health and Wellness  0  114  114  0  0  0  228
First Nations Elementary and Secondary Education  0  50  57  61  68  76  311
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
 0  0  -5  -10  -15  -20  -50
Clean Drinking Water and Better
Infrastructure for First Nations Communities
 0  196  350  52  18  22  639
Investing in Housing for Indigenous Communities  0  652  441  813  959  1,071  3,936
7.3. Advancing Self- Determination and Prosperity  0  99  123  115  91  75  503
Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act   0   4   22   20   15   15   75
Indigenous Climate Leadership2  0  2  10  18  0  0  30
Partnering with Indigenous Peoples in Natural Resource Projects  0  36  36  20  20  20  131
Supporting Indigenous Businesses and Community Economic Development  0  57  57  57  57  40  267
Additional Investments – Moving Forward on Reconciliation  0  1  1  0  0  0  2
Yellowknives Dene First Nation (Giant Mine)  0  1  1  0  0  0  2
Funding provided to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to support the implementation of a Collaborative Process Protocol Agreement respecting the historical impacts of the operation of Giant Mine on the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
Chapter 7 - Net Fiscal Impact  200  2,524  1,979  1,927  1,932  2,037  10,599

Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding.
1 2021-22 funding announced in Supplementary Estimate (C), 2021-22
2 Announced in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy, released on March 29, 2022.

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