Assembly of First Nations Responds to Federal Government’s Fall Economic Statement

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Minister Hajdu at AFN
Minister Hajdu at AFN

Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory – NEWS  – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) responded today to the Federal Government’s release of its Fall Economic Statement, which included new spending for First Nations priorities in infrastructure, safe drinking water, and social development. The AFN concluded that the commitments therein fall short in addressing the urgent and long-standing needs identified by First Nations.

“The AFN is deeply concerned by the budgetary decisions by the Government of Canada to reduce important spending for First Nations’ priorities,” said AFN Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard. “Despite Canada’s ongoing commitments to address First Nations’ issues, including critical funding to support the health and wellbeing of First Nations, implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, closing the infrastructure gap, and funding to support First Nations’ governments, Canada continues to undermine these priorities by failing to invest in First Nations.”

The Fall Economic Statement made minimal new funding commitments for First Nations priorities. The federal government made the following commitments:

Investment Area  Amount

(millions)

Year(s) 
Support for First Nations Children through Jordan’s Principle $807 2024-2025
Ensuring Access to Safe Drinking Water and Treated Wastewater in First Nations Communities $1,500 2024-2025

2025-2026

Funding for the Federal Indian Day Schools Settlement (McLean) $30 2024-2025
Implementation of An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families $24 2024-2025
Renewing Funding for Specific Claims Research by First Nations $16 2024-2025

2025-2026

Critically absent from the Fall Economic Statement was any sustained funding for Indigenous and First Nations emergency preparedness, language revitalization, education or health. These gaps are priority areas for First Nations and the AFN’s continued advocacy.

“Any reduction to federal spending allocated to supporting First Nations has a significant impact on the ground, affecting the programs and services First Nations deeply rely on,” continued Interim National Chief Bernard. “We urge the Government to ensure investments for First Nations are prioritized in the 2024 Federal Budget to reverse these impacts.  Economic reconciliation cannot be realized unless First Nations are supported in the exercise of their inherent and Treaty rights, title, and jurisdiction. Investing in First Nations is an investment in the future of Canada’s economy. When First Nations thrive, Canada thrives.”

The AFN is conducting a full analysis on the details of the Fall Economic Statement, and additional commentary will be made available in the coming days.

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