(Toronto, ON, March 31, 2021) Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald issued the following statement in response to the provincial budget in Ontario:
“On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 2021 Ontario Budget, titled Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. This statement provided a detailed plan to kick-start the journey to financial recovery and additional new measures to protect the health and economy of Ontario going forward,” said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald.
“During this pandemic, the health and wellbeing of First Nations have remained our top priority, and we have looked to the province to assist in areas of health and social, community support and infrastructure to assist. I am pleased to see new investments that include clear steps towards addressing many significant issues facing First Nations communities across our region, where it was much needed.”
As highlighted in Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, the Government of Ontario will invest $18.2 million over three years to help address violence against First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls. This funding will enable further access to community supports and resources and provide culturally responsive programming to Indigenous women in the correctional system.
As a part of Ontario’s COVID-19 response, Ontario budget 2021-22 will invest $4 million to address contact tracing, self-isolation, food insecurity, and housing shortages for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis populations. An additional $50 million will support community-led vaccination efforts in First Nations and urban Indigenous communities.
In addition to investments to address COVID-19 and violence against First Nations women and girls, the government is committing to doubling the investments in the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program, which will help address long-term infrastructure needs and fast-track shovel-ready projects on and off-reserve.
“I am encouraged by Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy announcements that reflect the mutual goals of building prosperous and healthy First Nation communities in Ontario. At the same time, there are still significant needs left unaddressed, including long-term investments for safe and clean drinking water; additional funding for broadband; housing support for off-reserve First Nation citizens; and a substantial commitment to support environmental protectionism of First Nations treaty lands. I will continue to advocate for First Nations and look forward to building upon the positive relations we have established with Ontario.
More specifically, we require funding that results in fulsome strategies to address climate change, a global issue that has resulted in political and economic marginalization, loss of land and resources, and food insecurity. First Nations must be included in Ontario’s Action Plan through First Nations-led conservation initiatives that reflect the needs of their respective nations and help protect Ontario’s wildlife, waters, and ecosystems.
The current COVID-19 experience has exposed the widespread need to address the long-standing social and economic issues within First Nations communities. I am looking forward to discussing our shared priorities and budget commitments through understanding, collaboration and cooperation with this government to move forward these issues to achieve vibrant, healthy and prosperous First Nations communities.”
Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.
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