OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government plans to spend more than $18 billion over the next five years to try to narrow the socio-economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and help these communities fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says in an advance text of her budget speech the government has made progress in righting the historic wrongs in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples, but a lot of work remains be done.
In its 2021 budget blueprint, the government says the new funding will address inequalities faced by Indigenous people and advance reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis.
The government proposes to spend more than $6 billion for infrastructure in Indigenous communities, and $2.2 billion to help end the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The budget pledges to provide Indigenous communities with an additional $1.2 billion this fiscal year to support their response to COVID-19 pandemic including money to hire nurses, provide mental health assistance, address food insecurity and support children.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has announced more than $4 billion in COVID-19 funding for Indigenous communities and organizations supporting them since the beginning of the pandemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press