Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

This article is Part 1 of a three-part series on funding and resources that the Canadian government put into supporting the Canadian Indigenous Communities. In this article, I will briefly explain “How does the Canadian Government Fund Canadian Indigenous Communities?” In the next article, Part 2, I will expand and disscuss whether the current federal funding have kept pace with the growing population. And, in Part 3, I will analyze and conclude with what I think would be the improvements needed for a more fruitful future. 

According to the Government of Canada website, in 2020, the government developed a $305 million distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF) through the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to address immediate needs in Indigenous communities. A direct $145.2 million to Indigenous communities, and a further $159.8 million for Indigenou Organizations serving those living off reserve.

Given 2020’s governmental funding and finance for the Indigenous communities, the money under the policy could be a complicated subject. In fact, some of the biggest conflicts between federal government and Indigenous communities have been stemmed from the subject of funding and finance. In this article, I will provide reader a general overview about the field of Indigenous finance and funding in Canada.

Much-needed improvements for Canadian Indigenous funding? A reform of #FirstNations education is most realistic. Proper funding and capacity of resources and administrative expertise would ensure quality education.

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How does the government fund?

The best way to describe the federal government’s funding and finance for Indigenous communities is “A combination of government contributions and Indigenous communities’ own-source revenues.”These communities get revenue sources from the federal government while they generate their revenues from various sources. Most communities’ revenues are from successful land settlements and lawsuits, selling treaty land and a small amount from other levels of government. In general, federal funding only covered the land claims agreements. Whereas provincial and municipal funding covers the programs and services, including education, health and social services, roads, housing, and water management.

The Indigenous funding and finance agreements are renewed every year, however not always on time. Often time Indigenous communities have to reallocate funds from elsewhere to continue meeting community service requirements. The federal government establishes each community as an autonomous entity and, thus, provides separate program funding to each community. While the federal government agrees to fund,  there is a lack of clarity about the amount of money that goes to each Indigenous community and a lack of coherence among programs and funding arrangements.

The federal government provides limited resources and policies for the funding and financial department. This shortcoming results in inappropriate funding arrangements since the federal government lacks a clear standard that states services to be provided or results to be achieved.

What Do I think?

All in all, I do think the federal government understands the demands from the Canadian Indigenous communities. However, a lack of clarity about the overall objectives and a lack of coherence among funding arrangements prevent the federal funding from providing services on reserves of the same range and quality as those provided to other communities across the nation. In the following article, I will discuss whether the government’s funding and resources have kept pace with the growing population. And, in the third part of the three-part series, I will conclude with what I think would be the improvements needed for a more fruitful future.

Bibliography

Hanson, Eric. “The Indian Act.” Indigenous Foundations. First Nations and Indigenous Studies UBC, 2020. Accessed 24 September 2021. https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/the_indian_act/.

“Indigenous Community Support Fund. ” Government of Canada. Indigenous Services Canada, https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1585189335380/1585189357198. Accessed 23 September 2021.

“How does native funding work?”. CBC News Canada. 2013. Accessed 22 September 2021.https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/how-does-native-funding-work-1.1301120

35 thoughts on “Indigenous Funding and Finance (Part One): How do They work in Canada?”
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