The Province’s focus on building a true and lasting vision of reconciliation is anchored by a cross-government commitment to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls-to-action, and the Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in decision.
In partnership with Indigenous peoples, the Province is working to close the socio-economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, as well as taking steps toward long-term transformation of B.C.’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Reconciliation is a cross-government priority, and government is making significant new investments in affordable housing, Indigenous language and culture, child care, mental health and addiction, poverty reduction, economic development, and building the capacity that is critical for self-determination. More than $200 million is dedicated to Indigenous priorities in Budget 2018.
New investments in reconciliation:
- $550 million over 10 years to support the construction of 1,750 affordable housing units to help to address complex social challenges facing urban Indigenous people. This is the first provincial fund in Canada that includes support for on-reserve housing.
- $50 million to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages. The teaching of language strengthens the cultural and social health of Indigenous communities, connects children to their heritage and the lands they come from, and supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- $30 million over three years through B.C.’s Bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada to support Indigenous child care, early learning and family supports. This includes expanding the current Aboriginal Head Start programs, and creating new programs throughout the province. Additional funding will also go toward increasing access to Aboriginal-supported child development services and reducing waitlists for these services, both on and off reserves.
- $30 million over three years to continue the Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund. The Province is ensuring more Indigenous people have access to education and skills training programs designed in consultation with Indigenous communities and delivered in their communities.
- $20 million over three years to support Indigenous communities and people to address the overdose crisis. Indigenous people are disproportionately affected by this public health emergency, and this investment will help build a co-ordinated system of mental-health and addictions services that support culturally safe treatment and recovery options for First Nations and Indigenous people.
- $6 million over three years to support Aboriginal Friendship Centres. Aboriginal Friendship Centres are key partners in providing services to urban Indigenous populations, such as programs to support children, youth, Elders and families, and health, well-being and culture.
- $5 million over three years to continue work on treaties and other agreements, environmental stewardship initiatives, and socio-economic development. This funding supports the Province’s responsibility to consult and accommodate First Nations communities, and the government’s commitment to meaningful reconciliation and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- $2 million to support the Moose Hide Campaign and emphasize B.C.’s ongoing commitment to end violence against women and children. Moose Hide is a B.C.-born, grassroots campaign to support men standing up to and addressing violence against women and children.
- Improved supports for youth aging out of care, the majority of who are Indigenous. The budget includes $7.7 million to raise the age of eligibility for youth accessing agreements with young adults to their 27th birthday, to align with the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program; increase the maximum monthly support rate from $1,000 to $1,250; and make supports available for the full calendar year for students enrolled in multi-year educational or vocational programs.
- The Province is working with the Aboriginal Justice Council to increase access to justice for Indigenous peoples in B.C., focused on priority areas of reconciliation, over-representation, violence against Indigenous women and girls, engagement, access to services, and cultural relevance. The Province is also providing $2 million to assist the University of Victoria in developing an Indigenous law program.
- Revitalizing the environmental assessment process in collaboration with Indigenous groups to ensure Indigenous interests and legal rights are respected; to ensure collaboration with Indigenous groups before, during and after environmental assessments; and to recognize and include traditional ecological knowledge throughout the process.
- $45.4 million, in partnership with the Government of Canada, to connect 154 rural and remote communities on B.C.’s coast (56 of which are Indigenous communities) to reliable, high-speed internet. Increasing connectivity strengthens economies, enhances access to education and healthcare, and provides additional opportunities for Indigenous communities to share their knowledge and culture with the world.
- $50 million for wildfire preparation and response, and a further $22 million to assist rural and Indigenous communities to repair natural resource values in response to the wildfire events of 2017.
- $16 million to modernize land-use planning through engagement and collaboration with Indigenous peoples, governments, communities, stakeholders and industry.
- $14 million for a new provincial wildlife management strategy, to be done in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and communities.
- Continuing to roll out the dedicated engagement process for urban and off-reserve Indigenous communities, as part of the development of B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy. Funding has also been provided to Métis Nation BC and Aboriginal Friendship Centres to host discussions, and government is meeting with Indigenous leaders and organizations, including the First Nations Health Council and First Nations Leadership Council, on poverty reduction.
- Embedding government’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples into the daily work of the B.C. public service by sharing 10 draft principles as a resource to help guide all public service employees relationship with Indigenous peoples based on respect and recognition of inherent rights.
- The Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the First Nations Health Council have committed $10 million each over two years (for a total of $30 million) to facilitate greater cross-government collaboration, to enhance the co-ordination of mental health and wellness services accessed by First Nations children, youth and families in B.C. This initial investment will support First Nation communities and Nations in B.C. to develop, renew or redesign mental health and wellness plans in a manner that aligns with their vision of health and wellness.