Ottawa offers $5,385.02 per First Nation in Project Funding

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Modular homes in Attawapiskat – Photo by Chris Kat

$5,385.02 per First Nation

OTTAWA – Under a new program offered by the federal Conservatives, $5,385.02 per First Nation is being put forward in funding for ‘Results-focused and transparent project funding”. Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, outlined today a new, more results-focused and transparent approach to project funding for Aboriginal Representative Organizations (AROs). “Our Government is committed to promoting healthier, more self-sufficient Aboriginal and Northern communities and today we are taking the necessary steps to do just that,” said the Minister. “These changes will help focus resources on efforts that have the highest chance of having a long-term, positive impact for Aboriginal communities and people across Canada.”

The Conservatives are moving forward following their announcement on September 4, 2012, of changing the funding formula.

The Conservatives stated in a media statement “The Government is realigning project funding available to AROs so that funds are directed at projects that advance priorities shared with First Nations such as: Improving First Nation elementary and secondary education outcomes; Economic development; Métis and non-status partnerships and policy development; Social program reform; Capacity development and accountability; and Northern research and development and climate change programs for Aboriginal and northern communities”.

Starting April 1, 2014, $20 million in funding will be available each year for projects with fixed timeframes. AROs will be able to apply to projects listed under six themes through already established application channels. Proposals will need to focus on achieving results in one of these six themes, which are linked to and advance key priorities. 

A summary of project results will also be posted on the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website annually, providing for greater transparency and demonstration of results.

What Does $20 Million Mean for Success?

The funding when broken down by the number of First Nations communities across Canada is not likely to make a great deal of positive impact on communities. 

Taking the announced $20 million, dividing it into the six categories leaves just over $3 million for each priority. The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development state that there are 614 bands across Canada which they serve. 

Doing the math, the $20 million in funding, for six priorities means that there would be $32,310.17 for each Band in funding possible under the plan. Break that down further by the six priorities, and it works out to $5,385.02 per First Nation.

It cost $1.2 million for 15 modular homes for Attawapiskat, that total did not include shipping or site preparation for the new homes. Based on the government figures, housing needs alone from this new funding could not be met.

New Approach Not Impacting Existing Efforts – Feds

The Government says, “It is important to note that funding for program and service delivery, funding related to claims and self-government processes and funding that flows through AANDC from another federal government department to an Aboriginal Representative Organization are not impacted by this new approach”. 

Many First Nations are starting to explain how much of the money that should be going to First Nations priorities is stuck in the bureaucracy in Ottawa in the Aboriginal Affairs Department.

For more information on accessing project-based funding, organizations should go through their regular channels and contact theirAANDC regional office or headquarters program manager.

For more information on the Government’s more results-focused and transparent approach to project funding, please visit:

Backgrounder – New Approach to Project Funding for Aboriginal Representative Organizations

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