Transition 2019: Services overview - Book 2

Table of contents

Education services

Overview

Snapshot

Education and skills training are a shared undertaking among federal, provincial and territorial governments, and Indigenous communities. Indigenous Services Canada continues to shift its approach to supporting the delivery of education services, towards co-developed and distinctions-based strategies that focus on regional solutions. Indigenous Services' education services include the following areas:

  • Elementary and Secondary Education funding is provided to First Nation band councils and education organizations to support First Nations students attending elementary and/or secondary school both on and off reserve.
  • High Cost Special Education provides funding for First Nations students with severe to profound learning disabilities to access support services such as specialized programming, remedial instruction, clinical services, and resource teacher staffing.
  • Education Partnerships support the establishment of partnerships between provincial education systems and First Nations organizations and schools; supports the development of capacity of First Nations organizations to deliver education services; and funds the development of education agreements to improve education services.
  • Post-Secondary provides funding to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation students to access post-secondary education. The Post-Secondary Partnerships Program directs funding to post-secondary institutions to develop and offer courses tailored to First Nations and Inuit students.
  • Innovation in Education supports First Nations in the exploration of innovative academic programs, strategies, and technologies. The Research and Learning Program supports activities that increase awareness and knowledge of Indigenous education best practices.
  • First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy provides First Nations and Inuit youth with work experience, information about career options, and opportunities to develop skills to help gain meaningful employment and develop careers.
  • First Nations and Inuit Cultural Education Centres support the development of education centres designed to preserve, revitalize, and promote First Nations and Inuit culture, language, and heritage.
  • The Martin Family Initiative, launched in 2009 as a "Model Schools Pilot Project", provides targeted resources and supports to improve early literacy within K-3 education and is currently being expanded to 20 schools by 2020.

Financial Profile

  • Total expenditures: $2,373 million (2018–2019)

Context

Recent dataFootnote 1 indicates that:

  • In 2016, the high school completion rate for the overall Indigenous population (aged 25-64) was 74.4%, 14.8 percentage points lower than non-Indigenous Canadians (89.2%).
  • High school completion rates increased between 2006 and 2016 for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians (aged 25-64), however, the increase among the overall Indigenous population was larger than non-Indigenous Canadians, thereby narrowing the education gap by 4.5 percentage points.
  • High school completion rates remain lowest for First Nations on reserve and Inuit (aged 25-64), at 57.0% and 56.1% respectively.
  • In general, high school completion rates are higher for women than men (aged 25-64), however, this gap is wider among the overall Indigenous population than the non-Indigenous population, at 6.3 and 2.9 percentage points respectively. The gender gap in high school completion rates is highest among First Nations on reserve, at 52.9% for men and 61.0% for women, and lowest among Inuit, at 55.0% and 57.1%.
  • In 2016, post-secondary completion rates were lowest among First Nations on reserve and Inuit, at 37% and 38% respectively, gaps of 29.0 and 28.0 percentage points with the non-Indigenous population (65.5%).
  • Discussions are currently underway with 27 First Nations organizations to advance regional education agreements, with four new agreements expected to be concluded in 2019–2020.

Elementary and secondary education

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada provides funding for elementary and secondary education directly to band councils and First Nations education organizations to support First Nations students living on reserve who attend band-operated schools on reserve.
  • For those students who attend schools off reserve, the Department provides the tuition amount charged by the province.
  • Additionally, there are seven federally-operated schools on reserve that the department administers, as First Nations have not yet taken over their operation.

Top key current files or projects

  • Historically, funding for students attending provincial schools compared to on reserve schools was inconsistent.
  • On April 1, 2019, the Department launched a new funding approach that aims to provide schools on reserve with funding that is more comparable to funding in provincial education systems.
  • The new approach is based on student enrolment from 2017–2018. It is expected that education service costs will increase based on updated enrolment numbers, resulting in a financial pressure. The Department is monitoring and developing a fiscal plan.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is also launching the implementation of full-time kindergarten in schools on reserve for children ages 4 and 5 for 2019–2020.

Key milestones

  • In Fall 2019, the number of schools on reserve that will offer full-time kindergarten for children ages 4 and 5 will be confirmed and funding amounts will be updated to better reflect student enrolment and other factors.

Results and outcomes

  • In total, there are 498 First Nations schools across the country.
  • In 2018–2019, Indigenous Services Canada funded approximately 103,000 First Nations students living on reserve. Of these students, 69,000 attended on-reserve schools and 34,000 attended off-reserve schools.
  • As a result of the new funding approach, every region has seen an increase in elementary and secondary education funding of between 5 and 36 percent over last two years.

Education partnerships

About the program

  • Education Partnerships supports collaboration between First Nation, federal and provincial governments as well as the Yukon and other stakeholders to advance First Nations control over elementary and secondary education and student achievement through three streams:
    • Partnerships: supports partnerships between provincial education systems, First Nations organizations and schools.
    • Structural Readiness: strengthens the organizational capacity of First Nations organizations to deliver education services.
    • Regional Implementation: supports First Nations tables to review the new funding approach, and the negotiation and establishment of Regional Education Agreements.

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Services Canada is supporting First Nations to establish Regional Education Agreements which support greater First Nation control of education, set out responsibilities, accountability mechanisms, and provincial partnerships.

Key milestones

  • 27 First Nations organizations are currently pursuing a Regional Education Agreement. In 2019-2020, four new agreements are expected to be concluded.

Results and outcomes

  • In 2018, Indigenous Services Canada signed the British Columbia Tripartite Education Agreement, which includes greater language and culture and adult education programming, and provincial reporting on student outcomes.
  • To date, four new Regional Education Agreements have been signed. These will support culturally responsive, quality education and new reporting on student achievement against provincial standards.
  • Education Partnerships has also helped to establish two new school systems:
    • The Manitoba First Nations School System (2017) manages education programs and services for roughly 1,700 students.
    • The Maskwacîs Cree School System in Alberta (2018) provides education programming and supports to over 3,100 students.

High-cost special needs education

About the program

  • High Cost Special Education provides funding for First Nations students with severe to profound learning disabilities, to support services such as specialized programming, remedial instruction, clinical services, and resource teacher staffing.

Top key current files or projects

  • The Department, with the support of the Assembly of First Nations, plans to engage First Nations in a comprehensive review of the Department's funding for First Nations high-cost special education.

Key milestones

  • Discussions are underway between Indigenous Services Canada and First Nations partners to establish timelines for the comprehensive review, with potential to commence in 2019–2020.

Results and outcomes

  • In 2017–2018, Indigenous Services Canada funded 56,140 First Nations students with high-cost special needs to receive supports and services including assistive equipment, professional assessments, occupational therapy, and special education teachers.

Innovation in education and research and learning

About the program

  • Innovation in Education and Research and Learning supports First Nations to undertake research projects and innovative approaches in order to develop, disseminate and implement best practices in First Nations education.
  • Innovation in Education funds First Nations and First Nations organizations to implement projects that explore new academic programs, strategies and technologies that contribute to improving First Nations student outcomes.
  • Research and Learning supports activities that increase awareness and knowledge of best practices in Indigenous education among educators, policy-makers and First Nations leaders across Canada.

Top key current files or projects

  • In 2019–2020, Indigenous Services Canada is supporting projects across the country that examine best practices in Indigenous education, innovative approaches to education programming and Indigenous research methodologies.

Key milestones

  • In Fall 2019, First Nations and Indigenous Services Canada regional offices will complete the selection of projects for the 2019–2020 fiscal year.
  • In March 2020, all projects under Innovation in Education will be completed, with final reports to be shared with Indigenous Services Canada in May 2020.

Results and outcomes

  • Between 2017–2018 and 2018–2019, Indigenous Services Canada funded a total of 24 research and innovation projects. These included research on Indigenous approaches to wellness, traditional strategies for second language instruction, and cultural supports for students transitioning from schools on and off reserve.
  • These projects included collaboration from over 60 different First Nations organizations, communities and schools.

Post-secondary student support/university and college entrance preparation

About the program

  • Post-secondary education funding is intended to increase First Nations access to post-secondary education and improve socio-economic outcomes through two streams:
    • The Post-Secondary Student Support provides First Nations students with bursaries for academic and living expenses.
    • The University and College Entrance Preparation supports First Nation students in university and college entrance preparation programs to attain the academic level required for entrance into a degree or diploma credit program.

Top key current files or projects

  • Budget 2019 invested $327.5 million over five years:
    • to increase the number of students that receive post-secondary bursaries. This increase was less than the amount requested by First Nation partners; and
    • to engage with First Nations on the development of long-term regional post-secondary education models, such as comprehensive student supports, new delivery models and tripartite agreements with provinces.

Key milestones

  • In Fall 2019, Indigenous Services Canada regional offices will allocate funding to First Nations partners to undertake engagement activities and to develop long-term regional post-secondary education models.

Results and outcomes

  • This funding supports approximately 23,000 post-secondary students annually.
  • Each year, approximately 3,650 First Nations students funded through Post-Secondary Student Support graduate with a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. Through 2019 investments, Indigenous Services Canada aims to reach an additional 5,000 students per year.

Post-secondary partnerships

About the program

  • Post-Secondary Partnerships seeks to increase the number of students pursuing post-secondary education and contribute to closing the gap in educational attainment. It is a proposal driven process that supports projects to deliver a program of study or develop new courses and programs tailored for First Nations and Inuit students.

Top key current files or projects

  • The Department is in the process of implementing changes that will increase First Nations control over the selection of projects that are funded.
  • The Department is working collaboratively with First Nations partners to determine an approach and timeline for the 2020–2021 call for proposals.

Key milestones

  • The next Post-Secondary Partnerships call for proposals is expected to be launched in Fall 2019.
  • Beginning in 2020–2021, Post-Secondary Partnerships will no longer fund mainstream institutions, and will support First Nations-established post-secondary education institutions and First Nations-directed community-based programming.

Results and outcomes

  • In 2018–2019, Indigenous Services Canada funded 125 projects across Canada to support post-secondary institutions to offer university and college level courses tailored to First Nations and Inuit students.

Inuit and Métis Nation post-secondary education strategy

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada is supporting the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies to provide bursaries for academic and living expenses to Inuit and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education.
  • These new strategies will be the first time that Indigenous Services Canada has supported Métis Nation post-secondary students, and will expand support to all Inuit no matter where they reside in Canada. The strategies also provide supports for students and education governance capacity, such as counselling, tutoring, mentoring and tracking post-secondary data.

Top key current files or projects

  • In 2019–2020, Indigenous Services Canada began rolling out new investments to support an Inuit-led post-secondary education strategy ($125.5 million over ten years and $21.8 million ongoing) and a Métis Nation post-secondary education strategy ($362 million over ten years and $40 million ongoing).
  • Indigenous Services Canada is working with the Inuit and the Métis Nation on the design and implementation of their post-secondary education strategies.

Key milestones

  • In 2019–2020, Métis Nation students will receive financial assistance for post-secondary education, and the Métis Nation will begin developing complementary programs and services.
  • In 2019–2020, Inuit organizations will work to develop supporting programs and services and to prepare for implementation of their strategy.
  • Beginning in 2020–2021, Inuit recipient organizations will provide financial assistance to Inuit post-secondary students for academic and living expenses associated with pursuing a post-secondary education credential.

Results and outcomes

  • These investments are expected to provide approximately 200 eligible Inuit students and 733 Métis Nation students with post-secondary education funding in 2020–2021

First Nations and Inuit youth employment strategy

About the program

  • The First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy is a component of the broader Youth Employment Strategy, led by Employment and Social Development Canada, which supports employment and skills development opportunities for First Nations and Inuit youth between the ages of 15 and 30.
  • The proposal-based strategy funds First Nation and Inuit communities, governments and organizations, not-for-profit associations and private sector employers to better support First Nation and Inuit youth, particularly those facing barriers, to participate in the labour market. There are two streams:
    • Skills Link supports First Nations and Inuit youth to acquire essential job-related skills, learn about career options, and prepare for employment.
    • Summer Work Experience supports First Nations and Inuit youth to acquire skills, prepare for full-time employment and earn income.

Top key current files or projects

  • Employment and Social Development Canada is engaging with Indigenous partners on the modernization of the Youth Employment Strategy. Indigenous Services Canada will participate as invited in the engagement process.

Key milestones

  • Indigenous Services Canada will launch its 2020–2021 First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy call for proposals in late Fall 2019.
  • By 2022–2023, the Department expects to update the design of the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy based on the outcome of Employment and Social Development Canada's engagement process.

Results and outcomes

  • Since its launch in 1997, the strategy has provided close to 150,000 skills experience and summer work opportunities to First Nations and Inuit youth.
  • Each year, the strategy supports more than 600 First Nations and Inuit communities to design and implement projects that provide skills development and employment opportunities to Indigenous youth.

Emergency management services

Emergency management assistance

About the service

  • First Nations are 18 times more likely to be evacuated than off-reserve residents and are more vulnerable due to socio-economic factors that could have adverse effects on their preparation and response capacity.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is the single window for funding for emergency on reserve (preparation, mitigation, response and recovery), delivered through grants and contribution agreements.
  • The objectives of the services are to protect the health, well-being and safety of First Nation residents and their infrastructure from natural or accidental hazards; and, assist in the remediation of critical infrastructure and community assets impacted by emergency events.
  • Indigenous Services Canada reimburses First Nation partners, provincial and territorial governments and other third-party service providers or non-government organizations (such as the Canadian Red Cross) for 100% of eligible costs incurred in the delivery of emergency management services to First Nation communities.
  • The Emergency Management Assistance Program delivers funding for all-hazards emergencies such as wildfires and floods, while the First Nation Inuit Health Branch offers funding and services for health emergencies.

Financial profile

  • In 2018–2019, Indigenous Services Canada Program spent $165 million on preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery activities on reserve.
  • Due to the unpredictable nature of emergency events an annual funding process is in place to access budget for response and recovery.

Top key current files or projects

  • Getting evacuees back to safer, more resilient communities.
  • Supporting First Nations' self-governance and integration in the context of emergency management through the transition from bilateral emergency management service agreements to more inclusive multilateral agreements, in which First Nations are included as full and equal partners.
  • Funding First Nations-led emergency management projects focusing on mitigation and preparedness to increase community resilience and capacity and integrate Indigenous knowledge, skills and abilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency events.

Key milestones

  • Budget 2019 invested $259 million over five years to:
    • Help develop local capacity to respond to and recover from emergency events across the country;
    • Engage First Nations in the development of tri/multilateral emergency management service agreements in all regions; and
    • Address wildfire prevention and mitigation.
  • Continued enhancement of culturally competent and holistic response and recovery supports (including mental health and wellbeing supports, child-friendly spaces during evacuations, translation services, cultural continuity supports) available to First Nation partners.
  • Continued implementation of Canada's adoption of the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Results and outcomes

  • In 2019–2020, to date, 13,509 First Nation residents have been evacuated. As a result of enhanced service delivery, over 99% of these evacuees were returned home within 60 days and 100% should be repatriated by the end of 2019.
  • To date in 2019–2020, 116 communities have received funding support for activities such as: Emergency Management planning, wildfire risk assessments, and tsunami early warning systems.
  • A new service delivery approach has been adopted to provide streamlined and culturally competent emergency response and recovery services to First Nations partners.

Governance services

Indigenous governance capacity services

About the service

  • Effective governance enables First Nations to take greater control over the decisions that affect their lives, improve services, and support socio-economic progress and overall well-being.
  • Indigenous Services Canada supports First Nations communities in the implementation of strong, effective and sustainable governments through the provision of grants and contributions that provide:
    • Funding to 580 First Nations to support governance and administration and to enable them to attract and maintain qualified staff;
    • Project based funding supporting 792 projects to develop the governance capacity of First Nations and Inuit communities to perform core functions of governance; and
    • Funding to support 80 tribal councils for local aggregate service delivery for First Nations.

Financial profile

  • Expenditures in fiscal year 2018–2019 were $512 million.

Top key current files or projects

  • A comprehensive review of First Nation governance expenditures was completed in September 2018. Strategies to modernize core governance and administration support services are being discussed with First Nation partners.
  • Community-led planning pilot projects with First Nation and Inuit communities are currently underway. An analysis of governance capacity building costs is being undertaken.

Key milestones

  • Investing $48 million (over two years) in supplementary funding for core governance support for First Nations.

Results and outcomes

  • Through targeting governance capacity funding to First Nations in greatest need, since 2017, there has been a decline of 22% in the number of First Nations in Default Management under the Default Prevention and Management Policy.
  • 170 communities participating in the 20 community-led planning pilot projects that will strengthen their governance capacity. These innovative pilots will integrate various planning activities based on the vision and priorities identified by community members.

Health services

Overview

Snapshot

Indigenous Services Canada works with First Nations, Inuit, other federal departments, and provincial and territorial partners to support healthy First Nations and Inuit individuals, families, and communities. Working with these partners, Indigenous Services Canada strives to improve health outcomes, provide access to quality health services, and support greater control of the health system by First Nations and Inuit. Jurisdiction for health is shared by Indigenous, federal, and provincial/territorial governments. Under the terms of the Canada Health Act, provincial/territorial governments provide universal insured health services to all provincial/territorial residents, including First Nations, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples. First Nations and Inuit health has improved in recent years, however, gaps remain between the overall health status of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Indigenous Services Canada's health services include the following:

  • Healthy Living Program: Indigenous Services Canada funds and supports a suite of culturally relevant community-based programs, services, initiatives, and strategies that address greater risks and poorer health outcomes associated with chronic diseases and injuries amongst First Nations and Inuit individuals, families and communities.
  • Emergency and Health Emergency Management: Through investments in emergency preparedness and mitigation initiatives, the Department supports First Nations communities in building resiliency against emergency events, including natural and health emergencies.
  • Healthy Child Development: Through its Healthy Child Development services, the Department provides support for healthy pregnancies, births, and child development in First Nations and Inuit communities.
  • Jordan's Principle: Implemented in memory of Jordan River Anderson, the federal government is legally responsible for ensuring that all First Nations children have access to the health, social, and educational products, supports, and services that they need. A similar Inuit Child First Initiative is currently under development with Inuit partners.
  • Environmental Public Health: Delivered in First Nations communities South of 60, Indigenous Services Canada's Environmental Public Health Services assist First Nations in the identification and prevention of environmental health hazards in natural and built environments.
  • Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program: Indigenous Services Canada provides funding for community-based adaptation projects directed towards addressing health risks due to climate change.
  • Mental Wellness: Guided by the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework and the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, which were developed by Indigenous partners, the Mental Wellness program funds culturally competent, community-based mental wellness services for First Nations and Inuit.
  • Communicable Disease Control and Management: This overarching program incorporates multiple public health programs directed towards the mitigation of underlying risk factors, promotion of public education and awareness, and identification of health risks.
  • Primary Health Care: Indigenous Services Canada's primary health care programming supports the delivery of, and access to, high quality health programs, services and initiatives in remote and isolated First Nations communities.
  • Nursing Now Canada: In coordination with the Canadian chapter of the Nursing Now Organization, Indigenous Services Canada established its own Nursing Now position and together have collaborated with key stakeholders to develop a three-point plan on key areas of interest.
  • Community Oral Health Services: Through its community oral health programming, Indigenous Services Canada facilitates access to oral health care services for First Nations and Inuit communities. A key component of the program is the involvement of community members and other health care service providers in the service delivery process.
  • The First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care Program: Indigenous Services Canada provides a continuum of basic home and community care services that support First Nations and Inuit of all ages, including seniors and those living with disabilities, acute or chronic illness, to receive care in their communities.
  • Non-Insured Health Benefits Program: Indigenous Services Canada provides registered First Nations and recognized Inuit with coverage for a range of health benefits including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, dental and vision care, medical supplies and equipment, mental health counselling, and transportation to access health services that are not locally available.

Context

Recent dataFootnote 2 indicates that:

  • Between 2006–2009, the hospitalization rate for intentional self-harm amongst Inuit living in Inuit Nunangat was 226 per 100,000 people, and for First Nations people living in First Nations communities,146 per 100,000.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, the rate of tuberculosis amongst Inuit in Inuit Nunangat was 189.3 cases per 100,000 people.
  • In 2008–2010, 12.9% of First Nations people reported having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and 17.2% with high blood pressure.
  • Amongst Inuit living in Inuit Nunangat 18 years of age and over in 2012, only 66.5% had seen or spoken on the phone with a family physician or nurse in the previous year, and only 51.1% had seen a dental professional.
  • Only 37.9% of Inuit living in Inuit Nunangat in 2012, and 44.1% of First Nations people in 2008–2010 reported having excellent or very good health.
  • The life expectancies for First Nations and Inuit in 2017 were 77.9 years and 72.4 years respectively.
  • In 2015–2016, 22.6% of First Nations people 18 years of age and over in First Nations communities identified the unavailability of a doctor or nurse as a barrier to health care.

Healthy living

About the program

  • The Healthy Living Program is aimed at addressing risk factors and poorer health outcomes associated with chronic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and injuries among First Nations and Inuit individuals, families and communities. Indigenous Services Canada's funded programs, services, initiatives and strategies are directed at promoting healthy behaviours and creating supportive environments through healthy eating; physical activity; food security; commercial tobacco use prevention, education, protection and cessation, chronic disease prevention; management and screening; and injury prevention.

Top key current files or projects

  • Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative: Supports community-based health promotion and disease prevention services delivered by trained community diabetes workers and health service providers in over 400 First Nations and Inuit communities.
  • Nutrition North Canada Nutrition Education Initiatives (Indigenous Services Canada's component): Indigenous Services Canada funds and supports culturally appropriate retail and community-based nutrition education initiatives in 111 isolated northern First Nations and Inuit communities to complement the retail subsidy component administered by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.
  • Canada's Tobacco Strategy: With enhanced funding through Budget 2018, Indigenous Services Canada is supporting the engagement of national and regional Indigenous organizations for the development and implementation of distinctions-based strategies to reduce commercial tobacco use.

Key milestones

  • In 2019–2020, Indigenous Services Canada is partnering with the Raven Indigenous Impact Foundation, the Lawson Foundation, Aki Foods (an Indigenous social enterprise), and 6 First Nations communities to generate outcome-based funding models to reduce diabetes. This effort is aimed at supporting innovative and transformative approaches for First Nations-led solutions to address the burden and complexity of chronic diseases.

Results and outcomes

  • The prevalence of diabetes among First Nations adults has remained steady at approximately 19-20% over the past 14 years. Some studies are showing type 2 diabetes among First Nations being diagnosed at an increasingly younger age with greater severity at diagnosis, rates of complications, and poorer treatment outcomes. This confirms the need for redoubling efforts to reduce the burden of diabetes.
  • Over the last five years, 12,000 nutrition education activities were delivered in isolated northern First Nations and Inuit communities with funding through Nutrition North Canada.
  • Food security is foundational to health and wellness, and a critical issue for Indigenous Peoples. Food insecurity is ranging from 22%-63% in Indigenous households versus 8% in general Canadian households.
  • Over the last five years, 16 tobacco cessation projects and 3 strategies reached close to 60% of First Nation and Inuit communities. Recent results show an almost double increase in the number of indoor and outdoor smoke-free spaces in communities. 173 new smoking-related community resolutions were also passed. Overall, the tobacco cessation rate among individuals who participated in Indigenous Services Canada funded services is considered a significant success and surpasses estimated cessation rates among other segments of the general Canadian population.
  • Despite a decline in smoking over the last two decades, smoking rates among Indigenous people continue to be far more prevalent compared to the general Canadian population. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis experience smoking rates of 53.5%, 74.3%, and 36.3%, respectively, compared with 15% for the general Canadian population. Smoking rates among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women who are pregnant are 37.5%, 69.9%, and 34.4%, respectively.
  • Vaping is also emerging as a significant public health concern. While Indigenous-specific data is not available, studies report a 74% increase in vaping among youth in Canada. Recent cases in the United States of acute pulmonary illnesses and at least one death reportedly linked to the use of vaping products have prompted Health Canada to issue advisories that Canadians who use vaping products monitor themselves for symptoms of pulmonary illness and to seek medical attention if they have concerns, and that non-smokers, pregnant women and youth should not vape.

Health emergency management

About the program

  • As part of the broader emergency management services by Indigenous Services Canada, the Department has a role in preventing and addressing health emergencies in First Nations communities.
  • Health emergencies may include:
    • Public health emergencies, such as the spread of communicable diseases (measles, HIV, etc.) pandemics, food and water contamination, environmental health hazards (mold, air quality, etc.), and other health emergencies such as suicide clusters and opioid crises; and
    • Health aspects of natural disasters, including risks related to the continuity of health care for those with existing medical conditions.

Top key current files or projects

  • Providing support to First Nations specifically to ensure that health is considered in their emergency preparedness and mitigation activities.
  • Supporting First Nation communities to share lessons learned and best practices around health emergency management.

Key milestones

  • Establishing a National First Nations Health Emergency Management Network to provide a coordinated approach to emergency preparedness and response for First Nations communities.
  • Training to support First Nations Health Emergency Management Coordinators and to establish relationships with partners involved in Emergency Management.

Results and outcomes

  • Increased First Nations community resiliency against health-related emergency events.
  • Increased First Nations capacity to assume responsibility for Health Emergency Management Services.

Healthy child development

About the program

  • Healthy Child Development supports First Nations and Inuit women to have healthy pregnancies and births, as well as to support children from birth to age 6 in their early development.
  • Indigenous Services Canada funds First Nations and Inuit communities and organizations to support delivery of community-based activities including prenatal visits, nutrition support, early literacy and learning programming, and other services that help to create supportive environments for physical, emotional and mental health.

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework: Announced in September 2018, the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework coordinates existing early learning and child care programs and services within the three federal partner departments of Employment and Social Development Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, and Public Health Agency of Canada. It also provides new funding to enable greater control for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities and organizations to build upon existing programming foundations, to enact their vision for high quality, culturally strong, early learning and child care.
  • Midwifery: The first federal investment in Indigenous midwifery of $6 million over five years has provided an opportunity for First Nations and Inuit communities to identify needs and future prospects for innovation in midwifery.
  • Jordan's Principle: Jordan's Principle is assisting First Nations children no matter where they live in Canada to address unmet health, social or education needs. This initiative, which is a legal obligation of Canada, is shedding further light on where gaps exist in access to services and will help to inform future planning and service delivery.

Key milestones

  • Implementation of the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care framework and investments announced in September 2018.
  • Advance midwifery demonstration projects which will improve access to pre-natal, post-natal, and birth supports.
  • A survey of First Nations children and youth is being planned to better understand their needs and what services they are accessing, such as through Jordan's Principle.

Results and outcomes

  • In 2016–2017, Healthy Child Development services were offered in over 371 First Nations communities, in addition to those communities served in the North and by the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia.
  • Through the Maternal Child Health Program, 8,039 participants received home visits, 9,700 women were reached through the pre and post-natal nutrition programming, and 19,125 children participated in the Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve program during the 2016–2017 reporting period. (These figures do not include communities in BC or the North.)
  • Evidence from the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey suggests that Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve has a positive impact on the promotion of Indigenous languages and cultures. For example, a significantly higher percentage of children who had attended Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve had some knowledge of a First Nations language, and a significantly higher percentage of children who had attended Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve took part in traditional activities, such as singing, drumming and dancing, outside of school hours at least once a week, compared to those who never attended Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve. Having a strong sense of cultural identity has been shown to positively influence outcomes for Indigenous youth.

Environmental public health

About the program

  • Environmental Public Health Services are delivered in First Nation communities South of 60º to identify and prevent environmental hazards in the natural and built environments that could adversely affect the health of community residents.
  • Core areas of focus are drinking water, wastewater, solid waste disposal, food safety, housing, facilities inspections, environmental communicable disease control, research and emergency preparedness and response.
  • Services delivered include professional inspections in schools, day cares and restaurants and inspecting houses to evaluate indoor air quality, overcrowding, and general safety. Most services are delivered directly by Environmental Public Health Officers, who are certified public health inspectors that can be employed by Indigenous Services Canada or directly by First Nations organizations.
  • In addition to direct services, the First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program is a community-based research initiative that assists First Nations communities in assessing the extent of their exposure to environmental contaminants and the potential for associated risk to their health and well-being.

Top key current files or projects

  • Working to lift all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021.
  • Launching a biomonitoring study entitled Food, Environment Health and Nutrition of First Nations Children and Youth in collaboration with four leading Canadian Universities and the Assembly of First Nations (2019–2029).

Key milestones

  • A final release event for the First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study that completed a ten year study on the total diet of First Nations living on reserve. First of its kind, the study is a collaboration between the University of Ottawa, the Université de Montréal and the Assembly of First Nations.
  • A call for proposals for the First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program to be launched this fall.
  • Supporting the communities of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations of Northern Ontario to access mercury related human health data, in keeping with federal privacy obligations.

Results and outcomes

  • Drinking Water Advisories have decreased from 105 to 56 since November 2015. As well, 87 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted during this period.
  • In 2017–2018, public water systems were monitored by community workers for bacteria for 85% of the recommended number of sampling weeks. This is the highest percentage attained since 2004–2005. Also in 2017–2018, all public water systems had access to a Community Based Water Monitor.
  • In 2016–2017, public health inspections were delivered in 22% of public facilities, such as daycares, restaurants and schools.

Climate change and health adaptation

About the program

  • The Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program for First Nations and Inuit funds community-based projects that focus on addressing a risk to health that comes from a changing climate. There are two streams for the program:
    • Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program North;
    • Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program South for First Nations South of the 60° parallel.
  • Since 2017, in the North, 41 collaborative projects involving multiple communities have been supported. In the South, 166 communities have applied. Available funding allowed for seven projects in 2017–2018, 19 in 2018–2019 and 38 in 2019–2020.
  • Communities are supported to build knowledge around monitoring of land use, research, impact assessment, and to foster discussions to develop local/regional adaptation action plans.
  • Consistent with the transition to Indigenous control of health services, the initiative uses Indigenous community-based selection committees.
  • Significant progress has been made in linking Elders with youth to share knowledge and build capacity to address food security and mental wellness through land-based activities and community gardens.

Top key current files or projects

  • The 2019 Call for Proposals for projects South of the 60th parallel is currently underway.
  • Indigenous Services Canada participates in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, including support Indigenous communities in accessing available funding.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is leading work to support the integration of a climate change lens into federal Indigenous health policies, programs and services.

Key milestones

  • Projects successful through the 2019 Call for Proposals in the South will be notified by November 2019.

Results and outcomes

  • Outcomes since 2017 include the financing of 105 projects in 125 communities across Canada, which involved the building of capacity among First Nations youth to address health issues.

Mental wellness

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada supports a range of culturally-relevant mental wellness services guided by priorities of First Nations and Inuit communities and organizations.
  • Services include: promoting mental wellness, preventing and treating substance misuse, preventing suicide, establishing mental wellness teams, and providing emotional and cultural supports for those impacted by Indian residential schools and missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
  • As well, the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program provides First Nations and Inuit individuals with coverage for professional mental health counselling and transportation to access this benefit, as well as access to traditional healers.
  • Indigenous Services Canada investments have been guided by two key documents that were developed by Indigenous partners: the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework and the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Top key current files or projects

  • Opioid crisis: Supporting the whole-of-government approach through enhanced prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and evidence-based initiatives.
  • Prevention and Treatment of Substance Misuse: access to residential and outpatient treatment, including aftercare and traditional approaches such as land-based treatment.
  • Intergenerational impacts: Counselling for survivors of residential schools and their families, those impacted by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Counselling includes mental health, emotional, and cultural support services.
  • Suicide prevention: Supporting a variety of initiatives including mental wellness teams, the Hope for Wellness Helpline, the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, and the Youth Hope Fund for life promotion among First Nations and Inuit youth.

Key milestones

  • Renovating over 20 residential treatment centres across Canada, increasing access to treatment services including related to opioids, and supporting on-the-land activities.
  • Establishment of 25 new sites offering opioid replacement therapy and wrap around services by March 2023 from a baseline of 11 (2016–2017), and reduce critical property issues in Indigenous Services Canada funded treatment centres.
  • Implementing the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy led by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami ($50M over ten years).

Results and outcomes

  • Community-based programs for mental wellness are reaching over 400 communities across the country.
  • Based on data from nine treatment centres, almost 400 youth per year received treatment with the majority accessing residential treatment.
  • The number of mental wellness teams has grown from 11 teams supporting 86 communities to 63 teams providing support to 344 communities.
  • Between the Hope for Helpline's launch in October 2016 and the end of June 2019, 13,416 calls have been received. Since its launch in April 2018, the online chat counselling services has been accessed 1,437 times.
  • Over 95% of clients accessing Indian Residential health supports reported feeling that cultural values and beliefs as well as privacy were respected. Over 85% reporting feeling safe to talk about sensitive issues.

Communicable disease control and management

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada supports the control and management of communicable diseases among First Nations living on-reserve.
  • Services include: immunization, addressing and preventing communicable disease emergencies, infection prevention and control, specific interventions for high-risk respiratory infections (including tuberculosis) and sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C).
  • Most services are delivered by community health workers. However, Indigenous Services Canada still delivers some of activities directly through front-line public health personnel.
  • Support is also provided to Inuit organizations to support the elimination of tuberculosis in Inuit Nunangat.

Top key current files or projects

  • Support Inuit partners in efforts to eliminate tuberculosis as they implement regional-specific action plans.
  • Support First Nation and Inuit partners to improve access to community-based models for prevention, testing, treatment, as well as awareness programming to reduce stigma and transmission of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections.
  • Manage personal protective equipment stockpile, and deliver annual enhanced personal protective equipment training for Indigenous Services Canada staff.
  • Continued surveillance of communicable disease and immunization trends, including annual flu surveillance.

Key milestones

  • Collaboration with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and other relevant partners through the Inuit Public Health Task Group to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit Nunangat by 2030, and to reduce the incidence of active tuberculosis by at least 50% by 2025.
  • Increased progress towards the United Nations 90-90-90 HIV treatment targets through implementation of prevention initiatives, including:
    • 84 communities in Saskatchewan have implemented full or partial Know Your Status programs.
    • The DRUM program expanded into five communities in Alberta.
    • 70 Community Health Nurses received Test and Treat trainings in Alberta.
    • Dry blood spot testing implemented in Ontario and Saskatchewan.
  • Developed a Communicable Disease Emergency Tabletop Exercise Toolkit to assist Indigenous communities in assessing their level of preparedness for a communicable disease emergency.

Results and outcomes

  • Rates of HIV among First Nations living on-reserve have decreased from 20.3 cases per 100 000 population in 2011 to 10.6 cases per 100 000 population in 2017.
  • Rates of tuberculosis in First Nation communities have remained relatively stable between 2011 and 2017.

Primary health care

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada supports primary health care in remote and isolated First Nations communities. These services are mainly delivered by nurses and include diagnostic, curative, rehabilitative, supportive, palliative/end-of-life care and referral services.
  • They are funded in 74 nursing stations and five health centres with a treatment component in five regions. Indigenous Services Canada directly employs or contracts nurses and other health workers in 51 remote/isolated communities located in Alberta (4), Manitoba (21), Ontario (24) and Quebec (2). Funding is provided to an additional 28 First Nations communities to deliver these services in Alberta (1), Saskatchewan (12), Manitoba (1), Ontario (5) and Quebec (9).
  • In 2018–2019, Alberta region had 14,149 clinical and client care visits; Manitoba 277,811; Ontario 83,669; and Québec 3831.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is also responsible for two federal hospitals located in Manitoba.
  • Services are provided by qualified health providers who have the necessary competencies and meet the regulatory and legislative requirements of the province in which they practice.

Top key current files or projects

  • National Patient Safety Incident Management Process: implement a consistent and reliable process for reporting and analyzing of patient safety incidents to remediate and prevent future occurrences.
  • Pharmacy practice advice and guidance: on topics such as patient safety/incident management, antimicrobial resistance, accreditation/quality improvement, drug shortages, and controlled substances audits.
  • Nursing Services Response Centre: centrally coordinating a dedicated team to support front-line nurses to navigate various corporate services issues while they are working in community.
  • Centre for Nurse Recruitment: a continuous, national, external selection process for the recruitment of experienced nurses to deliver healthcare services in remote/isolated First Nations communities.
  • Nurse Relief Coordination Unit: implementation of regional contracts to provide temporary nursing services to supplement the ISC nursing workforce.
  • National Incident Management process: to report and escalate safety, patient deaths or significant injuries, or other occurrences identified by front-line nursing staff.

Key milestones

  • Clinical Practice Guidelines: New Web Platform launched to improve timeliness of dissemination of new and updated content in December 2019.
  • Next release of the Nursing Station Formulary for medications and supplies stocked by Indigenous Services Canada in December 2019.
  • Nursing Services Response Centre Phase 1 completed this fiscal year, including establishing functional support teams.
  • Establish a pan-Canadian incident management process including reporting and quality improvement by March 2020.

Community oral health services

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada funds community-based oral health services with a focus on children and dental therapy. The range of services include prevention and health promotion, outreach and home visiting, treatment and referrals.

Key milestones

  • An overarching framework was developed in August 2018 with First Nations and Inuit partners to provide a strategic roadmap towards improving oral health.
  • Indigenous Services Canada has also invested in improving its data capture and analysis, and will be funding a second national First Nations oral health survey in the coming years. The survey design is being led by the First Nations Information Governance Centre in collaboration with Statistics Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • Training and calibration of all oral health professionals for consistency in oral screening is planned to be completed by August 2020.

Results and outcomes

  • Implementing Budget 2017 commitment to reach 383 communities by the year 2021–2022, an increase from 237 communities in 2016–2017.
  • Increase the target age group for children in some jurisdictions beyond age 7 where the capacity exists.
  • Improve the recruitment and retention of oral health practitioners through innovative means, including by partnering with professional associations and universities.
  • Connecting community-based oral health services with private dental services funded through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program in order to achieve shared objectives and outcomes.

First Nations and Inuit home and community care

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada funds a continuum of home and community care services in First Nations and Inuit communities, including in-home nursing and personal care, in-home respite services, and palliative and end of life care for persons of all ages.
  • Clients range in age from infants to elderly, with the majority of clients (60%) being over 55 years of age.
  • The large majority of communities are directly delivering these services and in many cases have integrated health and social services funded by Indigenous Services Canada.

Top key current files or projects

  • Workforce development: enhanced training of personal care providers, and addressing issues of recruitment and retention of qualified personnel.
  • Aligning Indigenous Services Canada funded health and social services: streamlining administrative processes for communities.
  • Co-development of options for long-term care with First Nations and Inuit: implementing a new commitment from Budget 2019 to support engagement ($8.5 million over 2 years).

Key milestones

  • Engagement with Indigenous partners, provinces and territories to co-develop the long-term care strategy in late 2019.
  • Response to a recent evaluation related to workforce development and streamlined administration completed by 2021.

Results and outcomes

  • The program is well established in most communities, with services currently available in 98% of First Nations communities and 100% of Inuit communities.
  • In 2018–2019, the program provided 1.58 million hours of home care services to 28,023 First Nations individuals and Inuit.
  • The distribution of hours of care by type were: assisted living such as home support and meal preparation (53%); personal care (16%); nursing services (12%); case management (11.3%); in-home respite (7.5%); and professional therapies (1.5%).
  • Home care visits were provided by client type as follows: long-term supportive care (34%); maintenance (29%); acute care (24%); rehabilitation (8%); end-of-life care (1.5%); and other reasons (3.5%).
  • A survey of health directors and service providers in communities revealed that most felt their services were superior, their wait times shorter, and that the needs of their clients were better met in their communities than they would be in other neighboring non-Indigenous communities.

Jordan's Principle

About the program

  • Canada's implementation of Jordan's Principle is a legal obligation ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that applies to all First Nations children living on and off reserve. It ensures that all First Nations children have access to the health, social, and educational products, supports and services they need.
  • Jordan's Principle recognizes that First Nations children may require access to government services that exceed the normative standard of care, as ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Substantive equality, cultural appropriateness and best interest of the child must be considered in all requests submitted to Indigenous Services Canada.
  • The full implementation of Jordan's Principle is the 3rd Call to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final Report.

Top key current files or projects

  • The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has retained jurisdiction over First Nation Child and Family Services, and Jordan's Principle until it has ruled on the following matters: the definition of a First Nation child, compensation, re-allocation, and major capital.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is working with an in-house business intelligence team to improve its data collection and reporting on Jordan's Principle. In collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations, Indigenous Services Canada is seeking a better understanding of what services are being accessed through Jordan's Principle that would typically fall under provincial/territorial jurisdiction.
  • Canada has formalized governance structures to assist in the implementation of Jordan's Principle, including:
    • The Jordan's Principle Operations Committee ;
    • The Jordan's Principle Action Table ; and,
    • The Consultation Committee on Child Welfare.

Key milestones

  • In January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal made findings of discrimination against Canada regarding the complaint filed by the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations. The Government of Canada was ordered to:
    • cease its discriminatory practices;
    • reform the federal First Nations Child and Family Services Program;
    • cease applying its narrow definition of Jordan's Principle (limited to children with multiple health conditions involving several providers); and,
    • take measures to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of the Principle.
  • In May 2017, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered specific timeframes under which ISC must determine each Jordan's Principle request:
    • 12 hours for an urgent request for an individual child;
    • 48 hours for a non-urgent request for an individual child;
    • 48 hours for an urgent request for a group of children;
    • 7 days for a non-urgent request for a group of children.
  • In February 2018, a National Call Centre for Jordan's Principle requests was established, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days.
  • On February 21, 2019, the CHRT issued an Interim Relief Order on the motion challenging Canada's definition of a First Nations child as it applies to Jordan's Principle. This order requires Indigenous Services Canada to determine urgent requests for children without First Nations registered status but that are recognized by their First Nation.

Results and outcomes

  • From July 2016 to July 31, 2019, Canada has approved over 341,000 products, supports and services for First Nations children and youth under Jordan's Principle.
  • Between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, Indigenous Services Canada's compliance rates with the timeframes ordered by the Tribunal to determine Jordan's Principle requests were:
    • 71.4% for urgent individual requests (i.e. within 12 hours);
    • 75.3% for non-urgent individual requests (i.e. within 48 hours); and
    • 69.9% for group requests (i.e. within 7 days).
  • A 2018 Client Satisfaction Survey of recipients of Jordan's Principle funding found that:
    • 98% of respondents reported they were treated with dignity and respect;
    • 92% were satisfied with the products/supports/services received;
    • 91% reported information was clear and easy to understand;
    • 90% reported their culture was respected when accessing Jordan's Principle (90%); and,
    • 84% reported their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs were considered and an improvement in their child's well-being.
  • Working collaboratively with First Nations partners, provinces/territories and service coordinators to determine a long term strategy for Jordan's Principle, including building on the successful stories from families and communities.

Future steps

  • Continued collaboration through monthly Jordan's Principle Operations Committee and Consultation Committee on Child Welfare meetings on outstanding issues for timely resolution.
  • Awaiting Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decisions and possible rulings and identification of next steps anticipated in the fall of 2019.
  • Implement Budget 2019 funding commitment of $1.2 billion over 3 years.

Inuit child first initiative

About the initiative

  • Establishing an Inuit specific child-first initiative was announced in June 2018 as a joint commitment by Indigenous Services Canada and Inuit leaders.
  • The Inuit-specific child-first approach ensures that Inuit children have access to the essential government funded health, social and education products, services and supports they need.
  • Until a long-term Inuit-specific approach can be developed to support Inuit children, Inuit leaders have agreed that a model similar to Jordan's Principle will be available for Inuit children.

Top key current files or projects

  • With support from Indigenous Services Canada, Inuit leaders are developing a long term approach to the Inuit Child First Initiative, which integrates the knowledge, history, culture and challenges faced specifically by Inuit and northern communities.
  • Initial steps in this process include:
    • establishing governance bodies to oversee the development and implementation and to ensure consistency;
    • tailoring the approach to address unique regional needs for each Inuit Land Claim Area; and,
    • developing a results based framework to monitor key outcomes.

Key milestones

  • As of September 2018, Indigenous Services Canada began receiving individual and group requests for Inuit children under the Inuit Child Initiative on an interim basis.
  • Requests for Inuit children are submitted through the national call centre, which is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week or by contacting federal Inuit Child First Initiative representatives.

Results and outcomes

  • From April 2018 to March 2019, a total of 119 individual requests and 235 group requests for products and services for Inuit children were approved, for a total of 354 approved requests.
  • Between April 1, 2019, and July 31, 2019, there were an estimated 172 products and services approved via the Inuit First Child Initiative.

Non-insured health benefits

About the program

  • The Non-Insured Health Benefits Program provides clients (registered First Nations and recognized Inuit) with coverage for a range of health benefits. Benefits under the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program include prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, dental and vision care, medical supplies and equipment, mental health counselling, and transportation to access health services not available locally.
  • Non-Insured Health Benefits provides non-insured health benefits to First Nations and Inuit clients in a manner that:
    • is appropriate to their unique health needs;
    • contributes to the achievement of an overall health status for First Nations and Inuit that is comparable to that of the Canadian population as a whole;
    • is sustainable from a fiscal and benefit management perspective; and,
    • facilitates First Nations/Inuit control at a time and pace of their choosing.

Financial profile

Non-Insured Health Benefits expenditures by benefit ($ millions): 2018–2019

Note: figures do not include salaries, operating, or other overhead costs.

Description of Non-Insured Health Benefits expenditures by benefit

The pie chart shows the non-insured health benefits expenditures, in millions of dollars, by benefit type for 2018-2019.

Numerical values presented in the chart:

  • Medical transportation: $495.0 (36%)
  • Pharmacy: $488.6 (35%)
  • Dental: $269.0 (19%)
  • MSE: $47.3 (3%)
  • Mental health: $42.7 (3%)
  • Vision: $36.5 (3%)
  • Other: $11.4 (1%)

Key current files

Bill S-3

  • The remaining provisions of former Bill S-3 (addressing residual gender discrimination in the Indian Act) removed the '1951 cut-off' from the Indian Act, reversing historical cases of gender discrimination and enabling an estimated 270,000 individuals to register as 'status' First Nations over the next decade. Once these individuals are registered, they become eligible for health benefits under Indigenous Services Canada's Non-Insured Health Benefits Program.

Joint review

  • In 2013 the Minister of Health agreed to undertake a comprehensive Joint Review of the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations. A review of each Non-Insured Health Benefits benefit area was undertaken, with the goal of identifying and implementing improvements that will identify and address gaps in benefits, enhance client access to benefits, and streamline service delivery to be more responsive to First Nation client needs.

Health claims and information services processing reprocurement

  • Since 1990, the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program has retained the services of Canadian private sector contractors to partly administer the program's benefits and related services through the externally-hosted Health Claims and Information Processing Services contract.
  • The Health Claims and Information Processing Services contract includes a real-time claims-processing solution to deliver the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program's coverage of pharmacy, dental, and MS&E benefits to clients. The new contract also includes a delivery mechanism for provision of Non-Insured Health Benefits vision care and mental health counselling benefits.

Product listing agreements

  • The Non-Insured Health Benefits Program is a leader for the Government of Canada in negotiating Product Listing Agreements, which are contracts between drug plans and drug manufacturers whereby lower drug prices are secured in the form of rebates negotiated between the parties.
  • The Non-Insured Health Benefits Program has entered into 167 agreements to date, which has resulted in clients having access to 171 new drugs which have been added to the Non-Insured Health Benefits Drug Benefit List (formulary).
  • Product Listing Agreements do not have an expiry; however, the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program may choose to renegotiate an agreement if there is a major change in the market for a particular drug, which does occur periodically. Currently, the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program is participating in 36 active negotiations at the pan-Canadian Purchasing Alliance (pCPA) table, which will result in a number of new agreements in 2019–2020.
  • Total rebated amounts were $83.9 million for the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program in 2018–2019.

Opioids

  • Non-Insured Health Benefits provides a wide range of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) coverage including methadone, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone and generics), slow-release morphine and buprenorphine implants, enabling prescribers to choose the most appropriate treatment. Supervised injectable OAT (e.g. hydromorphone) may also be covered based on case-by-case review. Non-Insured Health Benefits will also consider coverage for new approved pharmaceuticals as they become available for problematic substance use treatment.
  • Non-Insured Health Benefits provides coverage for naloxone spray and injection kits as open benefits. Clients can also obtain naloxone from a pharmacy without a prescription.
  • Since 2013, Non-Insured Health Benefits has been gradually lowering opioid dose amounts covered by the Program and encouraged a slow taper to safer doses, while engaging with prescribers that have clients above the limit. An opioid dispensing limit has also been put in place.
  • Non-Insured Health Benefits has been working with First Nations and Inuit partners to introduce traditional healer services for mental health counseling for Non-Insured Health Benefits clients through projects developed by the partners that respect the unique cultural context of each region. These projects will inform next steps and future approaches to this type of service.

Key milestones/ results and outcomes

  • As a demand-driven program, Non-Insured Health Benefits will continue to provide supplementary health benefits to the 873,312 First Nations and Inuit clients (as of March 2019) eligible to receive benefits under the Program.

Infrastructure

Overview

Snapshot

Indigenous Services Canada works with First Nations on reserve to support adequate and sustainable housing, clean drinking water and community infrastructure such as schools, health facilities, roads, and wastewater systems, which are essential to healthy, safe and prosperous communities. Even with significant investments, work remains to close the gap and ensure adequate investments for major repairs and new builds. This is critical as we move to the gradual transfer of responsibilities in this area from Indigenous Services Canada to First Nations. Support for infrastructure on-reserve is provided through the following:

  • Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program: The main pillar of the federal government's community infrastructure support for First Nations on reserve in the areas of housing, education facilities, water and wastewater systems, and other vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges, fire protection, etc. Funding is delivered and managed through regional investment plans that outline projects identified by First Nations. The Department is currently working with First Nations to review the existing policies, and to strengthen infrastructure services with the long-term objective of transferring control over service delivery to communities.
  • First Nations Water and Wastewater Enhanced Program: The federal government is committed to strengthening water and wastewater infrastructure in communities, improving drinking monitoring on reserve and ending long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021. Indigenous Services Canada works to improve water and wastewater infrastructure, support proper facility operation and maintenance, build capacity by enhancing water system operator training, and improving water monitoring and testing on reserve. This program is presently under review, with a long-term strategy for water and wastewater currently under development in partnership with First Nations.
  • Circuit Rider Training Program: Through this long-term capacity building program, Indigenous Services Canada supports the training of First Nations drinking and wastewater systems operators. With the exception of Ontario and Alberta, the program is delivered by the regions through Tribal Councils, who in turn hold contracts with training service providers. With the support of government contribution agreements, Indigenous technical services organizations provide training to operators in Ontario and Alberta.
  • First Nation On-Reserve Housing Program: Directs funding to First Nations for safe and affordable on-reserve housing, to build, maintain, and renovate houses, as well as contribute to insurance, debt servicing, and the development and implementation of a housing portfolio. The Department is currently investing in new and innovative housing projects on reserve that help build the capacity of First Nations to address their housing needs. Further, it is advancing the co-development of a First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy with First Nations partners.
  • First Nations Enhanced Education Infrastructure Fund: Investments support the creation of quality learning environments that are safe and healthy – promoting better educational outcomes for First Nation students living on reserve. This includes the construction, repair, and maintenance of education infrastructure, increasing funding to the Existing Education Infrastructure Fund as part of a long-term strategy to improve First Nations education infrastructure. Indigenous Services Canada has adopted a 'school bundle approach' for multiple school projects, building meaningful relationships between First Nations, governments, and other partners.
  • First Nation Infrastructure Fund: This proposal-based program pools funding from four major sources, maximizing financial impact, to support First Nations in improving and increasing public infrastructure on reserves and federal lands. The program supports the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and is delivered by Regional Offices under the guidance of the Regional Infrastructure Delivery and Community Infrastructure Branches.
  • Asset Management Program: Drawing on funds from Infrastructure Canada's Investing in Canada Plan, this program supports First Nations in their capacity building efforts to manage their infrastructure assets.
  • Health Facilities Program: Designed to enhance the delivery of health programs and services through infrastructure by providing funding to eligible recipients for the design, construction, acquisition, expansion and/or renovation of health facilities. Funding can be applied towards a variety of eligible project-related expenses, including design work, leasing and fit-up costs, and costs associated with construction activities to renovate and/or repair existing health facilities, including remediating environmental and/or workplace health and safety issues.

Financial overview

Infrastructure: 2018-2019 Actual Expenditures
Program inventory 2018-2019 Actual Expenditures
Water and wastewater $673M
Housing $359M
Education facilities $456M
Other communities infrastructure and facilities $517M
Total $2,006M

Context

Recent dataFootnote 3 indicates that:

  • In 2016, 3.4% of Indigenous households lived in crowded dwellings (i.e., more than 1 person per room), compared to 1.8% of non-Indigenous households.
  • 15% of Indigenous households lived in dwellings in need of major repairs in 2016, compared to 6% of non-Indigenous households.
  • Since Budget 2016, and as of March 31, 2019, Indigenous Services Canada has invested $3.43 billion into 3,979 infrastructure projects, 2,425 of which have been completed in 611 First Nations communities serving approximately 462,000 people. Despite this, a substantial infrastructure deficit remains.
  • As of July 11, 2019, 87 long-term drinking water advisories had been lifted. New data, as of August 2, 2019Footnote 4.
  • Approximately 38% (165 out of 430) of existing schools on reserves have been assessed to be in fair or poor conditions.

Infrastructure on-reserve

About the services

  • Indigenous Services Canada supports First Nations on reserve, funding community infrastructure in four main areas: housing, education facilities, water and wastewater systems and other infrastructure (such as roads and bridges, fire protection, etc.) under the umbrella of the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program.
  • Enhanced support for targeted infrastructure assets or services are provided through the following programs:
    • First Nations Water and Wastewater;
    • Circuit Rider Training;
    • First Nation On-Reserve Housing;
    • First Nations Enhanced Education Infrastructure Fund;
    • First Nation Infrastructure Fund; and
    • Health Facilities (administered by First Nations and Inuit Health Branch)
  • The enabling legislation for Indigenous Services Canada mandates the Minister to work toward the gradual transfer of responsibilities for the development and provision of housing and infrastructure services to Indigenous communities. The Department is working to move toward the long-term infrastructure service delivery reform.

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Services Canada is working with First Nation partners on options to update the existing Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program policies and protocols, including school policies, to strengthen infrastructure services to First Nation communities.
  • In partnership with First Nations, the Department is undertaking a number of innovative initiatives that would facilitate the transfer of infrastructure service delivery to First Nations, and modernize the operations and maintenance of community infrastructure assets.

Key milestones

  • The key milestones of the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program will be reflected in individual service lines.

Results and outcomes

  • The results and outcomes of the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program will be reflected in individual service lines.

First Nations water and wastewater

About the services

  • Indigenous Services Canada is working with partners to strengthen water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities, improve drinking water monitoring on reserve, and address long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021.
  • Indigenous Services Canada also supports the delivery of water and wastewater services to First Nation communities through the First Nations Water and Wastewater Enhanced Program.

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Services Canada is partnering with First Nation communities and organizations, on new approaches to ensure that on-reserve water and wastewater systems are safe and better meet the unique needs of each community, and with a view of eliminating and preventing long-term drinking water advisories.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is currently working with First Nation partners on potential options for a long-term strategy for water and wastewater on reserve. The objective of the strategy would be to address the actions needed to ensure the sustainability of water and wastewater infrastructure on-reserve while also charting the path to Indigenous controls over water and wastewater programs and services.
  • An evaluation of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Enhanced Program is being led by Indigenous Services Canada Audit and Evaluation. The Evaluation is currently underway with a final report expected in January 2020.

Key milestones

  • Indigenous Services Canada is on track to end all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021.

Results and outcomes

  • Funding since 2016 has supported 561 water and wastewater projects. These projects serve approximately 458,000 people in 582 First Nation communities.
  • This funding also supports the goal of ending long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021. Between November 2015 and July 31, 2019, the number of long-term drinking water advisories on public systems in First Nation communities has declined from 105 to 56. Over this period, 87 long-term drinking water advisories were lifted and 39 new long-term drinking water advisories were added. A further 130 short-term drinking water advisories were resolved, preventing them from becoming long-term.
  • The Department has an action plan in place to address all of the remaining long-term drinking water advisories.

Circuit rider training

About the service

  • Indigenous Services Canada aims to improve the quality of life of First Nation people by supporting water and wastewater services in First Nation communities. Trained operators are key in helping First Nation communities to reduce and prevent risks and to ensure safe drinking water, and Indigenous Services Canada supports this through the Circuit Rider Training Program.
  • Focus is on long-term capacity building by providing training and mentoring services to operators of First Nations drinking water systems and wastewater systems.
  • Qualified experts rotate through a circuit of First Nation communities, training the people responsible for operating, monitoring and maintaining drinking water and wastewater systems. These experts assist First Nation operators in obtaining and maintaining their water and wastewater operator certification and may also provide advice to Chiefs and Councils on how to develop and maintain their own safe systems.
  • First Nations are supported in developing and maintaining capacity to manage systems; increasing reliability of systems; ensuring efficient operation; ensuring standards for health and safety are met; decreasing the number and duration of drinking water advisories; maximizing the use of existing infrastructure and providing 24-hour access to qualified experts in case of emergencies.

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Services Canada funds the operations of the Circuit Rider Trainer Professional Association, which provides a venue for national coordination of guidance and the sharing of expertise and best practices.
  • A pilot to expand the scope of the Circuit Rider Trainer Program to schools is underway. It aims to optimize the use of operations and maintenance funds and reduce the risk of unsafe or unhealthy infrastructure through long-term mentoring services to First Nation building operators.

Key milestones

  • In 2019, Indigenous Services Canada has established five-year non-competitive contracts in order to provide greater stability for the delivery of Circuit Rider training.
  • There are 68 Circuit Rider Trainers employed through the program, supporting 515 participating First Nations.

Results and outcomes

  • Improved capacity of First Nation community water and wastewater operators and access to training and the supports to effectively operate and maintain their water and wastewater systems.
  • The percentage of public drinking water systems on-reserve with primary operators certified to the level of the system increased from 69% in 2016–2017 to 71% in 2017–2018.
  • The percentage of public wastewater systems on-reserve with primary operators certified to the level of the wastewater system increased from 59% in 2016–2017 to 62% in 2017–2018.

First Nations on-reserve housing

About the service

  • Indigenous Services Canada provides contribution funding to improve First Nations on-reserve housing. First Nations can use these funds to build and renovate houses, and contribute towards costs such as maintenance, mould remediation, insurance, debt servicing, and the planning and management of a housing portfolio.
  • Funding for more and better quality housing in First Nation communities is provided in most of Canada. Indigenous Services Canada's New Approach for Housing Support program in British Columbia supports First Nations to better and more effectively leverage funding, develop housing plans and policies and manage housing in their communities.

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Services Canada is providing First Nations with funding for new housing projects on-reserve that support First Nation capacity to address their immediate housing needs as well as innovative solutions, including pilot projects.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is working with Indigenous and federal partners towards the co-development and implementation of the First Nations Housing and Related Infrastructure Strategy.

Key milestones

  • The Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative launched in 2019 and provides $30 million for innovative Indigenous-led housing design / construction projects.

Results and outcomes

  • As of March 2019, Indigenous Services Canada had funded 1,639 First Nations housing projects that are underway or completed, benefitting more than 575 First Nation communities. These projects include 6,437 homes and 687 lots serviced.

First Nations enhanced education infrastructure fund

About the service

  • Indigenous Services Canada is funding construction, renovation and maintenance of education infrastructure on reserve. Out of approximately 430 existing schools on reserves, 165 (38%) have been assessed to be in fair or poor condition, requiring imminent renovations, additions or replacement.
  • The main objective is to support the creation of quality learning environments that are safe and healthy - promoting better educational outcomes for First Nation students living on reserve.

Top key current files or projects

  • The Department provides investments in new constructions, major additions, renovations and major repairs to schools in First Nations communities. There are eight (8) ongoing school projects being delivered through an innovative approach (bundling school projects together with multiple communities) which allows community members to play a hands-on role in all aspects of infrastructure project delivery, from the design to the construction.
  • Bundling school infrastructure projects increases support for Indigenous enterprises and generates greater competitiveness to attract larger construction contracts, experienced consultants and construction firms.
  • Indigenous Services Canada is working in collaboration with First Nations organizations to review existing school infrastructure policies to better reflect today's reality as part of the broader long-term strategy to improve First Nations' infrastructure across the country.

Results and outcomes

  • As of March 31, 2019, more than $585.7 million of targeted funds have been invested, allowing the completion of 15 new schools built and 33 school renovations and upgrades. This investment also supports several other ongoing school-related infrastructure projects. The balance of the total $1.47 billion budget has been committed until 2021–2022.
  • The current investments increase capacity of First Nations communities by providing them with the tools, training and support to effectively maintain and operate school-related facilities.

First Nations infrastructure fund

About the service

  • The First Nations Infrastructure Fund's objective is to improve the quality of life and the environment for First Nation communities by assisting them in improving and increasing public infrastructure on reserves and on federal lands.
  • The First Nation Infrastructure Fund provides Grants and Contributions funding for First Nations communities south of the 60th parallel.
  • Funding is proposal-based and pools funding from various sources to provide greater financial impact including Building Canada Fund, Budget 2016, Budget 2017, Structural Mitigation funding, and the Gas Tax Fund. Focus is on eight other essential infrastructure project categories: energy; solid waste; planning and skills development; roads and bridges; connectivity; structural mitigation; fire protection; and culture and recreation.

Top key current files or projects

  • Examples of ongoing projects include:
    • The Northern Ontario Grid Connection Project led by the Wataynikaneyap Power, which will connect 16 First Nation communities located in remote northern Ontario to the provincial electricity grid, thereby ending their dependence on costly, emission-intensive diesel energy.
    • In British Columbia, Connected Coast is a federal-provincial cost-shared project that will bring new or improved high-speed internet to154 rural and remote communities in British Columbia, including 44 First Nations.
    • In Alberta, the Frog Lake First Nation is receiving funding for a new fire hall that will be constructed on Frog Lake First Nation to house the First Nations Fire Department for day-to-day firefighting duties and to provide a place for storage of equipment.

Results and outcomes

  • As of March 31, 2019, targeted funds have been invested to support 1,380 First Nation Infrastructure Fund (Essential Community Infrastructure) projects, 942 of which have been completed, benefiting 562 First Nation communities serving approximately 442,000 people.

Infrastructure service delivery transformation

About the service

  • The Department's enabling legislation includes "the gradual transfer of departmental responsibilities to Indigenous organisations".
  • Indigenous Services Canada's focus is working with First Nations on innovation and co-development approaches for First Nations to take on the full transfer of infrastructure service delivery, thus advancing Indigenous self-determination.
  • Indigenous Services Canada supports First Nation organizations to hold community-, regional-, and national-level discussions on service delivery options to advance infrastructure and housing services transformation in their respective regions.

Top key current files or projects

  • First Nation organizations are developing business models to establish First Nation-led Housing and Infrastructure institutions to take over the responsibility and authorities from the Government of Canada for the delivery of housing and infrastructure services. The program is supporting the development of these models of which require full engagement at the community level.

Key milestones

  • In Fiscal Year 2019–2020 Indigenous Services Canada is developing a process to negotiate the transfer of infrastructure and housing service delivery to First Nation institutions or aggregates with sufficient flexibility to accommodate a wide range of potential institutions and service delivery models.

Results and outcomes

  • The following organizations have been supported to engage member communities and refine service delivery models: the British Columbia First Nations Housing & Infrastructure Council; the Alberta First Nations Technical Services Group; the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations; the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority; the Confederation of Mainland Mi'kmaq; and the First Nations Infrastructure Institute. It is anticipated that additional groups may come forward in Ontario and Quebec to explore infrastructure and housing services transfer agreements as well.

Social services

Overview

Snapshot

Delivery of social programs for Indigenous peoples is a shared undertaking among federal, provincial and territorial governments and Indigenous communities. The federal government funds or directly provides services for First Nations (primarily on reserve) and Inuit that supplement those provided by provinces and territories. Provincial and territorial governments are the key providers of services to Indigenous people off reserve (including Inuit, Métis and status and non-status First Nations). Many Indigenous governments and communities are also involved in directing, managing and delivering a range of services to their members. Indigenous Services Canada funds the following key social services for Indigenous peoples:

  • Income Assistance provides individuals and their families living on reserve with funds to cover essential needs such as food, clothing and shelter (rent and utilities) and special needs (e.g., doctor-recommended diets), similar to provincial and Yukon income assistance programming.
  • Child and family services agencies, which are established, managed and controlled by First Nations and delegated by provincial authorities to provide prevention and protection services. In areas where these agencies do not exist, Indigenous Services Canada funds services provided by provinces and the Yukon but does not deliver child and family services. These services are provided in accordance with the legislation and standards of the province or territory of residence. Indigenous Services Canada uses a prevention-based funding model to support early intervention and alternatives to traditional institutional care and foster care, such as the placement of children with family members in a community setting.
  • Family Violence Prevention services help support women, children, and families on reserve who are affected by family violence through various projects and access to shelters (46 in total) in every province and Yukon.
  • Assisted Living services provide non-medical social supports through in-home care, adult foster care or group homes, and long-term care facilities for residents on reserve.
  • Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples provides organizations, such as Friendship Centres, with funding to offer culturally-appropriate services to Indigenous individuals living off reserve or moving to an urban area.
  • The Canada Child Benefit (Canada Revenue Agency) and the Old Age Security (Education and Social Development Canada) are also generally available on reserve, but administered by other government departments.

Financial overview

Social services: 2018-2019 Actual Expenditures
Program inventory 2018-2019 Actual Expenditures
Income Assistance $1,030M
Family Violence Prevention $43M
Assisted Living $125M
Sub-total $1,198M
 
First Nations Child and Family Services $1,254M
Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples $53M
Total $2,505M

Context

Recent data indicates that approximately:

  • 40% of on-reserve households were in the "low income" category in 2015, more than three times the off-reserve proportion (40.4% vs 12.6%).
  • Approximately 303,000 Indigenous youth (<15 Years) will be of age to enter the labour market in the next decade compared to 239,995 ten years earlier.
  • In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, one in three entrants to the labour force will be Indigenous within the next 15 years.
  • In Canada, Indigenous children account for only 7.7% of the country's child population, but represent 52.2% of children in foster care (according to Census 2016).
  • The number of Indigenous seniors is expected to double between 2016 and 2036, increasing in size from 7% to 16% of the total Indigenous population 65+ years.
  • Sizable growth in the senior population has already been illustrated by growth in the Registered Indian senior population. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of Registered Indian seniors increased by 88.4%. Over the same time period, the number of Inuit seniors increased by 68.1%.

Assisted living

About the program

  • Assisted Living provides supports for low-income people with chronic illness or disabilities living on reserve to help them receive services in their communities.
  • First Nations organizations are funded to deliver services in-home, including meal preparation and housecleaning, and also provide supports for people living in long-term care homes.

Top key current files or projects

  • Rates of disability and chronic illness are much higher in First Nation communities. This combined with a growing and aging population is driving significant increases in service demand. Indigenous Services Canada is taking steps to develop a sustainable service model.
  • To better support First Nations and Inuit individuals living with chronic illnesses and disabilities, the Department is engaging with Indigenous partners and other stakeholders on how to improve long-term care in First Nation communities. This will enable the delivery of health and social services at all points along a continuum of care through a more holistic long-term care strategy.

Key milestones

  • Pre-engagement on the long-term care strategy is scheduled to begin in November 2019 with full engagement starting in January 2020.

Results and outcomes

  • Assisted Living services are currently delivered to over 10,000 clients, connecting them to essential social support services.

Family violence prevention

About the program

  • Family Violence Prevention helps improve the safety and security of Indigenous women, children and families through funding the operations of 46 emergency shelters on reserve and in the Yukon.
  • Indigenous Services Canada also funds community-driven prevention initiatives such as awareness raising, stress and anger management seminars and support groups.

Top key current files or projects

  • Collaborating with Indigenous partners and other federal departments to support effective delivery of services.
  • Analysis of recent studies by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Status of Women on Shelters and Transition Houses and by Women's Shelters of Canada to inform future delivery of supports and services.

Key milestones

  • By Winter 2019, the five most recently funded emergency shelters will be fully operational.
  • A call for proposals is under way which will select the organizations who will receive funding for off-reserve prevention projects.

Results and outcomes

  • Between 2006 and 2014, the department has funded emergency shelter services for 27,514 women and 24,290 children.
  • More than 2,800 prevention and awareness activities have been supported in Indigenous communities over this period.
  • Approximately 329 First Nations communities (55% of First Nations communities) have been served by Indigenous Services Canada funded shelters.

Indigenous child and family services

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada provides funding, through the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, to First Nations child and family services agencies, which are established, managed and controlled by First Nations and delegated by provincial authorities to provide prevention and protection services. In areas where First Nation agencies do not exist, Indigenous Services Canada funds child welfare services provided by the provinces and Yukon, based on their legislation and standards.
  • In Canada, Indigenous children account for only 7.7% of the country's child population, but represent 52.2% of children in foster care (according to Census 2016). In January 2018, Indigenous Services Canada hosted an emergency meeting with partners to address the over-representation of Indigenous children in care and committed to six points of action. They include:
    • continuing the work to fully implement all orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and reforming child and family services including moving to a flexible funding model;
    • shifting the programming focus to prevention and early intervention;
    • supporting communities to exercise jurisdiction and explore the potential for co-developed federal child and family services legislation;
    • accelerating the work of trilateral and technical tables;
    • supporting Inuit and Métis Nation leadership to advance culturally appropriate reform; and,
    • developing a data and reporting strategy with Provinces, Territories and Indigenous partners.
  • As part of these reform efforts, Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, was co-developed and introduced in Parliament on February 28, 2019, and received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019.
  • The Act affirms the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services, contributes to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and establishes national principles such as best interests of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality to help guide the provision of child and family services in relation to Indigenous children. These principles will guide Indigenous communities, Provinces and Territories on the delivery of child and family services.
  • The Act is also intended to incent the shifting of funding toward prevention, which should help to reduce the number of Indigenous children in care as communities begin to exercise their child and family services jurisdiction and implement service delivery models that are more responsive to their needs and visions.
  • Through the Community Well-being and Jurisdiction Initiative, Indigenous Services Canada is also expanding the availability of funding for communities who do have access to First Nation agencies for prevention and well-being initiatives that are responsive to community needs and for building capacity toward their exercise of child and family services jurisdiction.
  • Since 2018–2019, the Department has provided approximately $16.6 million dollars to support 36 First Nation communities to explore their exercise of jurisdiction over child and family services.

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Services Canada is working with its partners toward a shared vision of an Indigenous child and family services system with a focus on prevention within strong communities.
  • Work with Indigenous partners will also continue to develop a reliable data collection and reporting methodology for analyzing the needs of First Nations child and family services agencies. This research is also intended to inform the development of options for an alternative funding methodology aimed at long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program.
  • Indigenous Services Canada will also continue its ongoing work toward the coming-into-force and implementation of the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families and is exploring with partners the creation of transitional governance structures, with distinctions based underpinnings, to ensure a smooth transition and implementation.
  • These governance structures could identify tools and processes to assist communities in assuming responsibility over child and family services, assess gaps and recommend mechanisms to guide future funding methodologies.

Key milestones

  • Indigenous Services Canada will continue to implement the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders and seek to resolve any outstanding issues through collaborative partnerships with the Consultation Committee on Child Welfare and the National Advisory Committee on First Nations Child and Family Services.
  • Indigenous Services Canada will continue to support communities to exercise their jurisdiction over child and family services and engage with Indigenous, provincial, and territorial partners on the co-development of transition governance structures to support the implementation of the Act.
  • Work with Indigenous, provincial, and territorial partners on the co-development of a data and reporting strategy will aim to increase inter-jurisdictional data collection, sharing, and reporting to better understand the rates and reasons for Indigenous child apprehension.

Results and outcomes

  • The Government of Canada has substantially increased funding for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, almost doubling it from 2015-2016 to approximately $1.2 billion in 2018-2019 to meet the immediate service delivery needs for First Nations children and families, including for prevention. Over 98% of funding is going directly toward front-line service delivery for First Nations children and families.
  • In April 2019, the Department launched an online prevention reporting tool which supports communities and agencies in ensuring that the collection of prevention data is nationally consistent and robust. This work is crucial in order to be able to help develop links between prevention and protection reporting as well as analyze what activities are contributing to reducing the number of children in care, and supporting reunification of families.
  • The Act respecting First Nation, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families was co-developed with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners and received Royal Assent on June 2019. The Act is the culmination of extensive engagement in the summer and fall of 2018 which included more than 65 engagement sessions with nearly 2,000 participants. The Department also engaged with Indigenous partners and provincial and territorial representatives on the draft content of the proposed legislation in January 2019.

On-reserve income assistance

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada funds First Nations and First Nation organizations to provide income assistance to eligible individuals and families who are resident on reserve or Status Indians living in Yukon.
  • Income assistance funds living expenses such as food, clothing, rent, utilities and essential household items.
  • Case management supports are also provided to help individuals move into employment or education.

Top key current files or projects

  • Expansion of case management supports to help individuals move into employment or education.
  • Engaging with First Nations to understand how to make income assistance more effective in addressing the needs of individuals and families.

Key milestones

  • Co-developing proposals with First Nations for reform of income assistance in Spring 2020.

Results and outcomes

  • In 2017–2018, income assistance helped 81,104 clients and their dependents (150,080 people in total).
  • In 2018–19, case management supports were delivered in 157 First Nation communities.
  • Between 2013 and 2017 more than 10,400 on-reserve young adults (18-24) received case management supports, which helped approximately 7,400 youth to exit income assistance.

Urban programming for indigenous peoples

About the program

  • Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples assists First Nations, Inuit and Métis living in or transitioning to urban centres.
  • A majority of funding is allocated to friendship centres who provide urban Indigenous people with culturally appropriate services and a safe place to come together.
  • $39.5 million is allocated annually through set-aside allocations to the Friendship Centre movement, the Métis Nation Governing Members and Inuit organizations. Remaining funding is allocated through open and targeted calls for proposals.
  • Other funding streams include support for coalitions that bring together local stakeholders, project funding and research and innovation projects.

Top key current files or projects

  • New capital infrastructure investments through the Urban Indigenous Capital Funding stream announced in Budget 2019 ($60 million over five years from 2019–2020).

Key milestones

  • Supporting minor infrastructure investments in essential health and safety and energy efficiency renovations (from Fall 2019).
  • Supporting major capital infrastructure investments of $1 million or above through the Urban Indigenous Capital Funding stream (from 2020 onwards).

Results and outcomes

  • In 2018–2019, Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples funded 230 organizations, including the Friendship Centre movement, the five Métis Nation Governing Members, Inuit organizations, and other urban Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations.
  • Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples also funded 30 coalitions across the country to promote local collaboration, identify needs and develop plans to address community-identified priorities. It also supported the establishment of a National Network of Coalitions.

Economic development

Overview

Snapshot

The underlying goals of the economic development service area at Indigenous Services Canada are the full economic participation of Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs, and the closure of substantial and persistent socioeconomic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Through its programming, Indigenous Services Canada partners with communities, National Indigenous Organizations, and other internal and external partners to improve access to capital, foster an economic development climate within communities, and to leverage public and private sector partnerships and investments. Services are provided directly to communities through core and targeted funding, as well as indirectly to entrepreneurs through the funding of partners such as the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association. Indigenous Services Canada's economic development programming is broken down into the following areas:

  • Entrepreneurial support: The federal government provides indirect funding support to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis entrepreneurs so that they can access capital needed to start and grow their businesses. Indigenous Services Canada also works to improve access to government procurement opportunities.
  • Community-based support: Indigenous Services Canada's Community-Based Economic Programming provides funding and capacity development support directly to communities so that they can take advantage of economic development and business opportunities.
  • Legislative and policy support: The federal government works with the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, a Ministerial appointed board mandated to provide the federal government with strategic policy advice on matters pertaining to Indigenous economic development. It is also supporting the implementation of the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (2006), which supports First Nations in their pursuit of complex commercial and industrial projects on reserve.
  • Partnerships support: The Strategic Partnerships Initiative works across 18 federal departments using a collaborative approach to fill gaps left by other funding programs, and to promote partnerships between federal and non-federal groups to fund projects and opportunities that are not eligible for other federal funding.

Financial overview

Economic development: 2018-2019 Actual Expenditures
Program inventory 2018-2019 Actual Expenditures
Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Business Development $46M
Economic Development Capacity and Readiness $146M

Context

Recent dataFootnote 5 indicates that:

  • The 2016 employment rate for Indigenous Canadians was 52.1%, 8.4 percentage points lower than that of the non-Indigenous population, whereas the unemployment rate for Indigenous Canadians was 15.2%, 7.4 percentage points higher than that of the non-Indigenous population.
  • In 2015, the median income of Indigenous Canadians was $25,526, $9,078 lower than that of the non-Indigenous population.
  • Indigenous peoples are strongly represented in high-paying industries, however, tend to be overrepresented in lower-income and underrepresented in higher-income occupations.
  • 7.4% of Indigenous workers are self-employed, compared to 11.7% of non-Indigenous Canadians. Within the Indigenous population, self-employment is highest for Métis.
  • In 2010, 76% of Indigenous businesses registered a profit, compared to 61% in 2005. Businesses that are incorporated and have employees are more likely to report revenue growth. However, Section 87 of the Indian Act serves as a deterrent to incorporation.
  • Access to capital is a major barrier for Indigenous entrepreneurs, over half of whom relied on personal savings to start their business, with only 19% having accessed bank credit/ loans or government credit.
  • The gender income gap is smaller amongst the overall Indigenous population than the non-Indigenous population, and in 2016, the median incomes of First Nations on reserve and Inuit women were higher than those of their male counterparts.
  • There has been little progress in the employment outcomes of Indigenous youth since 2006, however, with the exception of First Nations on reserve, average income levels for youth are increasing across all identity groups.

Aboriginal entrepreneurship (access to capital)

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada supports economic development through the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program which funds a broad range of entrepreneurial pursuits across all heritage groups. It aims to build capacity, reduce barriers and increase access to capital, by forging partnerships that will increase economic opportunities for First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
  • The program supports the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and a network of 59 Aboriginal Financial Institutions which provide Indigenous entrepreneurs with non-repayable contributions, developmental loans and business support services. The Aboriginal Financial Institutions are Indigenous-owned financial institutions that provide tailored services to Indigenous entrepreneurs to start-up small and medium enterprises that traditional banks often pass over. They have strong on-the-ground presence and reach deep into the communities they serve, often investing considerable time and energy up front to help position a business for success.

Top key current files or projects

  • Key measures to support Indigenous entrepreneurship were announced in Budget 2019; including:
    • establishment of an Indigenous Growth Fund. The Fund would be managed by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, and would allow all Aboriginal Financial Institutions, including the Métis Capital Corporations to support more Indigenous entrepreneurs and more ambitious projects. The government proposes to provide up to $100 million for the Fund ($50 million from the Social Finance Fund and $50 million from the Business Development Bank of Canada);
    • expansion of the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program to continue to promote the growth of a strong Indigenous business sector in Canada. To that effect, the Government of Canada will be providing $17 million over three years, starting in 2020–2021; and,
    • providing $50 million to Métis Capital Corporations to support start up and expansion of Métis small and medium-sized enterprises.

Key milestones

  • The Department continues to implement the Métis Economic Development Strategy announced as part of Budget 2016. A total of $25 million over five years will be provided to recapitalize nine Métis organizations and capital corporations which include the establishment of the first Métis Capital Corporation in British Columbia.

Results and outcomes

  • In the last fiscal year, National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association reports:
    • That the total number of businesses supported was 1,302, including 523 start-up businesses
    • Approximately 4,557 jobs were created or maintained
    • Lending was up by approximately 10%, from $110 million to $121 million
  • Xtended Hydraulics & Machine is an example of the success of the program. It is a full-service machine shop owned by Métis entrepreneurs. In 2018, the company moved into a brand new state of the art facility in White City, located just outside Regina. The new facility holds a high capacity hydraulic cylinder manufacturing plant and offers a full range of custom machine and manufacturing services. Xtended Hydraulics has 20 full-time employees, 50% of whom are Indigenous.

Community-based economic programming

About the program

  • The Lands and Economic Development Services Program, Core and Targeted, provide First Nation and Inuit communities with supports to enhance their economic development, land and environmental capacity, while supporting activities that create the conditions for economic development to occur.
    • The Lands and Economic Development Services Program-Core provides core financial support to over 400 First Nation and Inuit communities to help provide lands, environment and economic development capacity services in communities.
    • Lands and Economic Development Services Program-Targeted involves regional proposal-based funding to support capacity development and funding to National Organizations.
  • The Community Opportunity Readiness Program provides project-based funding for First Nations for a range of activities to support their pursuit of economic opportunities. The Program's long-term objective is for First Nations and Inuit communities to pursue and implement economic and business development opportunities, while leveraging private and public sector funding. A minimum of $5 of community economic benefits is expected for every $1 by the Program.
    • The program is popular with Indigenous communities, with approximately $100 million requested by communities for various projects in 2018–2019.

Top key current files or projects

  • Support capacity-building efforts in communities to improve the delivery of economic development services and build on successful investments by supporting projects that leverage private sector investment and lead to higher community revenues and employment.

Key milestones

  • Budget 2019 proposed to invest $78.9 million over five years, starting in 2019–2020, with $15.8 million per year ongoing, to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and economic development through the Community Opportunity Readiness Program to help First Nations and Inuit communities build business plans, and provide funding to expand existing Indigenous-led businesses, and launch new Indigenous-led start-ups.

Results and outcomes

  • In 2017, CORP funded a project in Whitecap Dakota First Nation for the construction of a hotel. This project created 45 Indigenous jobs during the construction Phase and over 150 new full-time and part time positions ongoing.
  • In 2018–2019, the Department approved funding for a total of $22.5 million towards 25 large scale projects, 8 of which were economic infrastructure, 15 equity gap and 2 economic opportunities.
  • A minimum of $5 of community economic benefits is expected for every $1 invested by the Program.
  • In 2017–2018, for every $1 that the Department invested in Program projects, approximately $3.74 was leveraged from community own source revenues, commercial financial institutions, and provincial and other federal department programming.

Contaminated sites on-reserve overview

About the program

  • The Contaminated Sites on Reserve Program provides funding to First Nations to assess and remediate contaminated sites on First Nation reserve lands.
  • The program aims to reduce environmental, health and safety risks posed by contaminated sites, ensure that First Nation land is available for development and to reduce federal liabilities related to contaminated sites.
  • There are currently 1,979 contaminated sites on reserves across Canada with a known liability to Canada of $252 million (2018–2019 closing liability).

Top key current files or projects

  • During 2019–2020, approximately 40 contaminated sites will be assessed and clean-up activities will be undertaken at roughly 100 sites.

Key milestones

  • Indigenous Services Canada will launch a new five-year phase of the program on April 1, 2020.

Results and outcomes

  • The Contaminated Sites on Reserve program has closed 825 sites since 2005.
  • In Attawaspiskat, Ontario, a highly contaminated school site was completely remediated in 2018 and will now be the home of the new Attawapiskat Youth Centre.
  • In Kitasoo, British Columbia, an isolated and underserved coastal community with heavy contamination, decontamination work became the backbone for complementary infrastructure activities. Housing, roads, sewer, fuels, waste management and community planning – the contaminated sites work was the impetus for community renewal.
  • In Lac Brochet, Manitoba, the Northlands site was extensively remediated. A photovoltaic solar energy array, a bioenergy plant (using local wood as fuel) and an in-lake loop heat pump system were installed to reduce reliance on fossil fuel, create local jobs in the energy sector, and limit the potential for any re-contamination.

Indian Oil and Gas Canada

About the program

  • The Department fulfills the Crown's fiduciary and statutory obligations to First Nations, regarding their oil and gas resources, through Indian Oil and Gas Canada (the Agency), a Calgary-based special operating agency that reports to the Department via the Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development.
  • The Agency has a dual mandate: to fulfill the Crown's obligations related to the management of oil and gas resources on First Nations lands; and, to further First Nation initiatives to manage and control their oil and gas resources (i.e., governance). The Agency operates pursuant to the Indian Oil and Gas Act and the Indian Oil and Gas Regulations. Of note is that both the Act and its regulations were modernized with new requirements that came into force on August 1, 2019.
  • There are approximately 50 First Nations with active oil and gas activity, mainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In fiscal year 2018–2019, the Agency collected $55 million in oil and gas royalties, bonuses, and rentals while industry invested $61.9 million to drill and complete 26 wells on First Nations lands.

Top key current files or projects

  • On August 1, 2019, the Indian Oil and Gas Act, 2009 and its associated Indian Oil and Gas Regulation, 2019 both came into force. The Agency is currently finalizing their implementation and is administering and enforcing the new regime governing oil and gas activity on First Nations lands.
  • The Agency's Co-Management Board is currently focused on a key initiative for "Assertion of First Nations' Jurisdiction over Oil and Gas" whose scope includes First Nations potentially taking over the day-to-day operations of the Agency.

Key milestones

  • The Agency's Co-Management Board intends to begin consultations on "Assertion of First Nations' Jurisdiction over Oil and Gas" with oil and gas-producing First Nations over the summer months of 2019.
  • The Agency will be re-engaging oil and gas-producing First Nations on the Phase II regulations in Q4 Fiscal Year 2019–2020.
  • The Agency is required to report to Parliament on adaptations of provincial changes every two years, beginning August 2021.

First Nations Fiscal Management Act

About the program

  • The First Nations Fiscal Management Act, enacted in 2006, allows First Nations to exercise jurisdiction over fiscal matters, including financial management, property taxation and local revenue generation. This Act is administered by Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, in close cooperation with Indigenous Services Canada.
  • The Act also provides access to long-term financing, at preferred rates, through the issuance of bonds on capital markets for First Nations infrastructure and socio-economic development projects.
  • First Nations operating under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act are exercising jurisdiction over fiscal matters outside of the Indian Act.
  • The Act established the First Nations Financial Management Board, the First Nations Tax Commission, and the First Nations Finance Authority to administer the regime and support First Nations exercising powers under the Act.
  • The First Nations Financial Management Board assists First Nations in strengthening local financial management regimes including the development of Financial Administration Laws, provides independent certification of First Nations' financial performance and systems and manages intervention mechanisms.
  • The First Nations Tax Commission oversees the implementation of First Nations property taxation regimes under the Act, including approving tax rates, revenue bylaws, building First Nations' capacity and reconciling First Nation governments' and taxpayers' interests in a manner comparable to local government approaches for the development of property tax and assessment bylaws off reserve.
  • The First Nations Finance Authority enables First Nations to raise long-term private capital at preferred rates through the issuance of bonds on capital markets, and provides investment services to First Nations and First Nation organizations.

Top key current files

  • The First Nations Financial Management Board has been working collaboratively with the Department to co-develop criteria and implementation support for the 10-year grant and on a default prevention and management pilot project with 5 First Nations under default management with a view to build their capacity and de-escalate from third party management.
  • The First Nations Tax Commission has been working to support the development of a First Nations-led Infrastructure Institute. A Development Board and a Technical Working Group have been established, comprised of Indigenous leaders and industry experts and the Department is currently supporting a proof of concept project.
  • The First Nations Finance Authority is working with the Department to explore approaches that would enable First Nations to use their infrastructure capital transfers from the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program and/or Health Facilities Program to access bond financing through the Authority.
  • As a follow up to amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act that were approved in December 2018, the Department is also to working with the First Nations First Institutions to develop regulations that would allow Indigenous organizations to benefit from the Act.

Key milestones

  • 280 First Nations from across Canada are scheduled to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act.
  • Support from the First Nations Financial Management Board has resulted in 176 First Nations enacting financial administration laws, as well as 138 First Nations receiving financial performance certification.
  • Through the First Nations Tax Commission, 158 First Nations have developed and implemented on reserve property taxation laws and by-laws resulting in approximately $86 million in revenues for local services and infrastructure needs in 2018 including public service salaries, emergency services, etc.

Results and outcomes

  • The First Nations Finance Authority has provided 89 First Nations with access to over $530 million in financing for housing, commercial, education, health, wellness and sports facilities, transport, water treatment, renewable energy and other socio-economic development projects that would not be funded otherwise by the Department due to limited resources.

First Nations land management

About the program

  • First Nations Land Management is a Nation-to-Nation agreement that enables First Nations to opt-out of 44 lands related sections of the Indian Act and replace them with a community-developed land governance law called a land code. First Nations with a land code in force exercise full decision and law-making authority over the management of their reserve lands and environment.
  • In 1991, a group of First Nation Chiefs approached the Government of Canada with a proposal to opt-out of the provisions of the Indian Act related to land, environment, and natural resources. As a result of this proposal, the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management (Framework Agreement) was ratified by 14 First Nations and Canada in 1996. The First Nations Land Management Act (the Act) came into effect in 1999 to provide a legislative frame for the Agreement.
  • As a unique form of sectoral self-government, Canada's obligations under the Framework Agreement and the Act are jointly administered by the Ministers of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Indigenous Services Canada. While the Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada has legislative authority recently granted through Bill C-97 in recognition of the Nation-to-Nation relationship established by the Framework Agreement, it is envisioned that the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada will play an on-going leadership role in policy development and program delivery, recognizing that Indigenous Services Canada headquarters and regional staff provide vital support to First Nations transitioning away from sections of the Indian Act.
  • The success of First Nation Land Management relies heavily on partnerships between Canada and the Lands Advisory Board (an elected First Nations organization comprised of current and former Chiefs) and the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre (a technical advisory and service delivery organization established by the Lands Advisory Board).
  • There are currently 160 signatories to the Framework Agreement. As of August 2019, 85 First Nations are considered "operational" under First Nations Land Management, meaning they have fully implemented their land codes. These First Nations are better positioned to drive economic development opportunities on their lands that best respond to their communities' needs.
  • A further 52 are "developmental" and working towards the passage of their land code. 18 First Nations did not have a successful community ratification vote and may hold a subsequent vote, and nine are "parked" and, for a variety of community-based reasons, are not currently pursuing the development and ratification of their land code.

Top key current files or projects

  • The Lands Advisory Board has proposed that a co-development initiative for a second phase of amendments to the First Nations Land Management Act.

Results and outcomes

  • On December 13, 2018, enhancements to the First Nations Land Management Act came into effect, which included improved voting and reserve creation processes, as well as Canada's endorsement of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These enhancements reflected previous amendments to the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management.
  • 12 additional First Nations became signatories to the Framework Agreement in March 2019 and it is anticipated that at least 10 more First Nations will be undergoing the intake process to join First Nations Land Management in 2020.
  • There are currently 160 signatories to the Framework Agreement. As of August, 2019, 85 First Nations are considered "operational", having fully implemented their land codes.

First Nations waste management initiative

About the program

  • The First Nations Waste Management Initiative was launched in 2016 to improve the management of solid waste on reserve.
  • Investments in solid waste help to protect drinking water sources, reduce future liabilities related to contaminated sites, and reduce risks to human health and safety.
  • The Initiative supports: the construction and operation of engineered transfer stations and landfills; operation and maintenance costs; recycling and composting programs; partnerships with third parties and municipalities; municipal type service agreements; community awareness; operator training; and the cleaning up and closure of inactive waste disposal sites.

Top key current files or projects

  • Undertaking pilot projects to engage more Indigenous organizations in the delivery of solid waste programming to First Nations;
  • Continue to seek strategic advice and direction from the largely Indigenous National Advisory Committee on the implementation of the Initiative.
  • Expand the reach of the Initiative into all First Nations across Canada.
  • A priority is to secure long-term funding beyond 2020–2021.

Key milestones

  • Over 500 projects have been completed through this Initiative.
  • Over 464 First Nations have made progress toward improving the management of solid waste in their communities.

Results and outcomes

  • At the Hollow Water First Nation in Manitoba, a former landfill site was reclaimed for future uses by the community;
  • In British Columbia, a Zero Waste Education tool kit was developed by British Columbia First Nations and has so far been distributed to 60 First Nations in British Columbia;
  • At the Peguis Frist Nation in Manitoba, specials wastes (such as household hazardous waste) were removed from the community's solid waste facility;
  • At the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation in Ontario, a new solid waste transfer station was constructed and went into operation;
  • At the Pikangikum First Nation in Ontario, the band completed a community-wide cleanup of improperly disposed waste; and,
  • At the Bloodvein First Nation in Alberta, a hazardous waste drop-off depot was built and inaugurated.

Land use planning initiative

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada helps support First Nation governance over their lands by providing funding for the development of Land Use Plans. Land Use Plans combine land survey data, community input, and traditional knowledge into a cohesive plan through a multi-year development process that reflects the community's environmental, social, cultural, and economic priorities. Each plan is uniquely adapted to the communities' culture and traditions and facilitates community input on the management of their lands.
  • Currently, 48 First Nations have completed land use plans through the Land Use Planning Initiative, bringing the percentage of communities with a land use plan to approximately 23% of all First Nations. Another 41 First Nations have land use plans currently in development.

Top key current files or projects

  • The Land Use Planning Working Group has been established to guide implementation of Budget 2018 investments related to land use planning.
  • A First Nation Planning Hub has been proposed by the First Nation Land Management Resource Centre to support sectoral self-governing First Nations by providing a forum to share best practices, develop and deliver training strategies, and expand partnerships with other lands, community, and environmental planning bodies.

Results and outcomes

  • Currently, 48 First Nations have completed land use plans through the Land Use Planning Initiative, bringing the percentage of communities with a land use plan to approximately 23% of all First Nations. Another 41 First Nations have land use plans currently in development.

Matrimonial real property implementation support

About the program

  • Indigenous Services Canada works with Indigenous partners to support training, awareness, and development of resources for matrimonial real property on reserves, including First Nation matrimonial real property law making, in relation to the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (the Act).
  • Matrimonial real property refers to property owned by one or both spouses or common-law partners and used for a family purpose, including the land and permanent attachments to the land, such as the family home.
  • The Act fills a legislative gap identified in 1986, where provincial and territorial family law cannot apply on-reserve and the Indian Act is silent on the issue.
  • The Act includes two main parts: a mechanism for First Nations to enact their own on-reserve matrimonial real property laws, and; provisional federal rules that provide matrimonial real property rights and protections until a First Nation adopts its own law.

Top key current files or projects

  • Working with Indigenous and federal partners to develop and deliver training and facilitate awareness for members of the legal, judicial, and enforcement communities to support the full implementation of the Act and contribute to addressing gaps in the administration of justice on-reserve, including an inter-departmental sharing circle on enforcement.

Results and outcomes

  • 15 First Nations have developed matrimonial real property laws under the Act. A further 37 First Nations have addressed matrimonial real property under their land code under the First Nation Land Management Act.

National indigenous economic development board

About the program

  • Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (the Board) is an Indigenous Services Canada Ministerial appointed body mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the federal government on issues related to Indigenous economic development.
  • Comprised of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, the Board provides advice through: appearances before the House of Commons and Senate Committees, to Ministers across government, through representation at national and international events and by presenting at conferences, using these opportunities to advocate for and advance Indigenous economic development policy.
  • Although Indigenous Services Canada provides administrative support to the Board through a Secretariat housed in the Lands and Economic Development Sector, it is independent from government.

Top key current files or projects

  • The Board's 2020–2023 Strategic Plan will focus on the development of advice on a new National Indigenous Economic Strategy, aligning priorities by governments, Indigenous and sectorial organizations.
  • The Board works with academic institutions such as Vancouver Island University, and other post-secondary institutions to enhance its focus on policy development related to Indigenous youth, social innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada.

Key accomplishments

  • Reconciliation: Growing Canada's Economy by $27.7 Billion Report: Published in 2016, the report found that the economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and the marginalization of Indigenous peoples, are costing $27.7 billion to the Canadian economy.
  • 2019 Indigenous Economic Progress Report: Released in June 2019, is an update to the 2015 Aboriginal Economic Progress Report, comparing data from the 2006 Census and the 2016 Census. The Board has concluded that while the situation has improved over all, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians remains large.
  • Expanding the Circle: What Reconciliation and Inclusive Growth can Mean for Indigenous People and Canada Report: To be released in fall 2019, the Report provides recommendations generated from three forums hosted by the Board (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) The events brought together community leaders, Indigenous business leaders, academics, policymakers and young people. The final report features overarching recommendations on procurement, access to capital, capacity development and wealth sharing.
  • Other reports include:
    • Recommendations Report on Improving Access to Capital for Indigenous Peoples in Canada (July 2017)
    • Recommendations on First Nations Access to Indian Moneys (April 2017)
    • Recommendations on Northern Infrastructure to Support Economic Development (January 2016)
    • Recommendations Report: Northern Sustainable Food Systems (2019)
  • The Board has most recently been called to appear before:
    • The Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs to present on Bill C-262 to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
    • A Senate Special Committee on the Arctic to Consider the significant and rapid changes to the Arctic, and impacts on original inhabitants; and,
    • The Senate Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern to provide information on the current state of Northern infrastructure, as well as on the priority areas for infrastructure investments in the North.

Reserve land and environment management

About the program

  • The Reserve Land and Environment Management Program (the Program) funds First Nations to develop the capacity needed to manage and exercise increased responsibility over their reserve land, resources and environment under the Indian Act.
  • Participating in the Program can multiply land-based economic development opportunities, and may prepare a community for transition to other land management regimes (e.g., First Nations Land Management or Comprehensive Self-Government).
  • The Program consists of three levels of increasing responsibility: the "training and development" level; the "operational" level; and "delegated authority" under sections 53 and/or 60 of the Indian Act (now closed to new entrants), which allows First Nations to manage and deliver land management services on behalf of the Department.The success of the Program relies heavily on the partnership that exists between Indigenous Services Canada and the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association, which works to support professional development and technical expertise in the area of land management.

Top key current files or projects

  • Work is underway to explore sources of funding to enhance the Program based upon discussions with the National Aboriginal Land Managers Association and feedback received from 224 First Nations (351 participants, including Chiefs, Councilors, Land Managers, Environmental Officers, and other First Nation Officials) during a 2017 national engagement.

Key milestones

  • Through the Professional Land Managers Certification Program under Reserve Land and Environment Management Program, over 150 First Nations communities have been supported to train a certified land manager.
  • In fiscal year 2018–2019, National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association delivered 10 toolkit training sessions reaching a total of 188 participants that covered topics including land regimes, additions to reserve/reserve creation, and land use planning.
  • In 2018–2019, Regional Land Associations Administrative Hubs were established in Ontario and Manitoba, and will soon be established in Quebec, Atlantic and Saskatchewan, to better support First Nation land managers in their respective region through professional development, networking, and technical support expertise opportunities.

Results and outcomes

  • There are currently 129 First Nations participating in the Program, 16 of which are at the "training and development" level, 103 are "operational" and 10 have "delegated authority".

Strategic partnership initiative

About the program

  • Since 2010, the Strategic Partnerships Initiative has enabled Indigenous communities to participate in complex economic development opportunities. The Initiative is internal to the Government of Canada and uses a collaborative approach between multiple departments to fill gaps in other funding programs that might prevent Indigenous involvement in economic opportunities. Initiatives are usually 3 to 5 years long, have regional impacts and serve multiple communities. The Initiative is led by Indigenous Services Canada and shared by a growing network of 18 federal partners.
  • The Initiative provides a way for multiple departments to coordinate their efforts, reduce administrative burden and use shared program authorities. Its goal is to increase the economic opportunities available to Indigenous communities and businesses by promoting partnerships between federal and non-federal groups in key economic areas and provide funding to projects and opportunities that are not eligible for other federal funding.

Examples of current initiatives

  • Quebec Maritime Tourism Initiative (2016–2021)
    The Quebec Maritime Initiative is focused on providing economic opportunities to Indigenous communities in Quebec through the development and modernization of maritime tourism. To date, 57 First Nation communities along the St. Lawrence Seaway have benefitted from this initiative. Active businesses include; sea water food products made from seaweed, cruise ship rides to Wendake and a marine school for learning boat navigation.
  • Indigenous Inland Commercial Fisheries Initiative (2018–2023)
    The Indigenous Commercial Fisheries Initiative is a multi-year coordinated effort by federal and provincial governments, in collaboration with Indigenous organizations, to sustain and grow Indigenous commercial fisheries in Manitoba. Indigenous fishers, associations and communities are acquiring technical, business and resource management skills, and access to capital for economic development through opportunity readiness and business development focused activities.
  • British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative - Phase 2 (2019–2022)
    The British Columbia Clean Energy Initiative provides early support to develop Indigenous communities' capacity and readiness to advance local or regional clean energy projects. 31 First Nation communities and 10 remote off-grid and diesel dependent communities were funded in phase I during 2016–2018. Due to the success and demand of phase I, a renewal for Phase 2 was funded to support new and current communities complete clean energy projects.
  • Ring Of Fire Community Well-Being Project
    The Ring of Fire is considered one of the largest potential mineral reserves in Ontario. Initial federal investments (2010–2015) focused on mining and employment readiness. However, dire social conditions in remote First Nation communities required emphasis also be placed on individual and community wellbeing. Federal/provincial/Indigenous partnerships have resulted in the foundations of a sustainable social housing program, numerous construction projects, a community-based apprenticeship and training program, and strengthened financial management and governance.

Results and outcomes

  • As of March 31, 2018, the Strategic Partnerships Initiative has:
    • Funded over 43 initiatives
    • Leveraged $324 million from other sources
    • Over 470 Indigenous Communities have been directly or indirectly involved
    • 179 partnerships have been created

Individual affairs

Overview

Snapshot

Indigenous Services Canada, under the Indian Act, is responsible for determining individuals' entitlement to Indian registration, maintaining an accurate Indian Register, guiding the creation of new Bands, and fulfilling the Minister's responsibilities related to Indian moneys, estates and Treaty annuities.

The Department delivers direct client services for registration, estates and treaty payment services through 16 regional and district offices across the country. There are also over 600 band employees, who work as Indian Registration Administrators who assist the department in ensuring its records are complete and in providing client-service to the on-reserve population. Regional Offices are responsible for maintaining the relationship with Indian Registration Administrators who review applications and documentation from clients and forward the applications to the Regional Offices.

Indigenous Services Canada provides Individual Affairs services in the following areas:

  • Registration and Secure Certificate of Indian Status: The department determines the eligibility of individuals to be registered under the Indian Act and maintains an accurate Register relied on by the Government of Canada. The department also issues the Secure Certificate of Indian Status to registered Indians, which serves as a federal identify document to access benefits and services.
  • Band Creation: The department manages the creation of bands pursuant to the Indian Act. This includes the creation of a new band from a formerly unrecognized group of persons (as was the case with the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation).
  • Indian Moneys: Canada collects Indian moneys (capital and revenue) on behalf of First Nations pursuant to the Indian Act. Summaries of the moneys held in Trust by Canada for First Nation Bands and individuals are reported in the Department's financial statements and the Public Accounts of Canada.
  • Estates: Pursuant to the Indian Act, the Minister of Indigenous Services has exclusive jurisdiction and authority over the estates of deceased First Nations individuals who are registered or ordinarily resident on reserve. Services provided by the Estates Program include approving wills, appointing executors, acting as administrators of last resort, administering assets of minors and dependent adults and offering capacity building initiatives to First Nations.
  • Treaty Annuities: Treaty annuity payments are paid annually on a national basis to registered Indians who are entitled to treaty annuities through membership to bands that have signed historic treaties with the Crown. The administration of treaty annuities falls under the Indian Moneys Program, which is responsible for the discharge of the Crown's treaty obligations. Depending on the terms of the specific treaty, these obligations can include the payment of individual treaty annuities, the provision of ammunition and twine for nets, and the provision of a suit of clothing every three years for Chiefs and Councillors.

Financial overview

  • Total expenditures: $46 million (2018–2019)

Context

Recent data indicates that:

  • The average annual number of newly registered Indians is 20,000 and there are approximately 1,000,000 registered Indians in the Indian Registry.
  • On an annual basis, approximately 40,000 Secure Certificate of Indian Status are issued.
  • Approximately $2 million is paid annually in treaty annuities to entitled First Nation individuals.
  • As of December 31, 2018, an estimated 995,000 persons were registered in the Indian Registry. This number is expected to grow to 1,326,000 in 2040 (an addition of approximately 15,000 per year). These projections do not take into account additional registrations resulting from Bill S-3 (the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act).
  • Bill S-3 will result in an increase in the number of individuals registered as Status Indians under the Indian Act who were not entitled before. An estimated 37,000 will be newly entitled due to amendments coming into force in 2017, and an additional 270,000 to 450,000 individuals will be newly entitled over 10 years with the amendments coming into force in August 2019.

Indian moneys

About the program

  • The Indian Act defines Indian moneys as, "all moneys collected, received or held by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of Indians or bands". These belong to First Nation bands or individuals and are held in trust, by Canada, within the consolidated revenue fund.
  • The Indian Act identifies two categories of Indian moneys for bands. Capital moneys are derived from the sale of band land or assets or from non-renewable resources such as oil and gas royalties. Revenue moneys are derived from all other types of band-generated revenues such as the sale of renewable resources, leases and permits.
  • Canada collects Indian moneys on behalf of First Nations pursuant to the Indian Act (reserve land instruments and other reserve land transactions such as leases, permits, sale of surrendered lands, etc.) and the Indian Oil and Gas Act (royalties from oil and gas, surface leases and bonuses).
  • These moneys are recorded as a Public Debt – therefore a liability as these moneys are not assets belonging to Canada; they are moneys belonging to First Nations. Interest is paid on moneys held in Trust by Canada at a rate fixed by the Governor-in-Council. Interest accumulated in the accounts is compounded semi-annually.
  • First Nations can access their Indian moneys through a number of mechanisms:
    • Indian Act (expenditures and transfers)
    • First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act
    • First Nations Land Management Act (capital and revenue, except Oil & Gas revenues under the Indian Oil and Gas Act)
    • First Nations Fiscal Management Act (recent legislative amendments)
    • Self Government Agreement (capital and revenue moneys)

Top key current files or projects

  • Indigenous Services Canada is working with Indigenous, non-governmental, and governmental partners towards increased First Nations autonomy for access and management of Indian moneys through policy and legislative changes.

Key milestones

  • In 2015, the Department approved the Policy on the Transfer of Capital Moneys Through Paragraph 64(1)(k) of the Indian Act and has since been engaging First Nations on the policy's function and advantages.
    • The Policy enables self-determination while working within the framework of the Indian Act.
    • Some of the benefits include:
      • More flexibility and quicker access to their capital moneys
      • Ability to invest moneys more freely
      • Provides opportunity to design their own programs
      • Potential for larger returns on moneys invested
      • Canada no longer controls the management and expenditure of the capital moneys
  • In 2018, an option to more easily access capital moneys was adopted through legislative amendments to the First Nations Land Management Act and the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management.
  • Also, in 2018, an option to access both capital and revenue moneys was adopted through legislative amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act.

Results and outcomes

  • Providing First Nations with options for self-determination in accessing and managing funds held in trust by Canada on behalf of First Nations (Indian moneys).

Estates services

About the program

  • Under the Indian Act, the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada has exclusive jurisdiction and authority over:
    • The estates of deceased individuals who are registered or entitled to be registered for Indian status and are ordinarily resident on reserve at the time of their death.
    • The estate of registered individuals who, pursuant to the provincial laws, have been found to be mentally incompetent are ordinarily resident on-reserve, and are registered or entitled to be registered for Indian status and/or are a band member or entitled to be a band member.
  • The Minister also has discretionary jurisdiction over the property of minors ordinarily resident on-reserve.
  • Estates management involves two main responsibilities that ensure the federal government fulfills its legal obligations under the Indian Act.
    • The management of decedent estates, pursuant to sections 42-50 of the Indian Act; and,
    • The management of living estates pursuant to sections 51 and 52 of the Indian Act.
  • Services include approving wills, appointing executors and administrators or acting as administrators of last resort, administering assets of minors and dependent adults, and working with First Nation communities to build capacity in the management of Estates Services.

Top key current files or projects

  • A review of our Decedent Estates records is underway to ensure that the estate of a deceased individual who may have been eligible receives the appropriate and due consideration under the Sixties Scoop and Day Schools Settlement Agreements.
  • Establishing a clear path forward for the devolution of the management of Estates Services.

Treaty annuities

About the service

  • Between 1850 and 1921, the Crown negotiated 13 treaties that promised annual payments to eligible Indigenous community members forever. Treaty annuity payments are paid annually to registered Indians who are affiliated with bands that are signatories to these treaties.
  • Treaty annuities are normally paid in cash at Treaty Day events held annually on or off reserve across British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, and Ontario. Cash payments are usually $4.00 or $5.00 annually, depending on the treaty.
  • Payment events are a legal obligation; they are a constitutionally protected treaty right. First Nations are very clear about the fact that they value these locally held payment events.

Top key current files or projects

  • Each year, through the Treaty Annuity Payment Experience 2, employees from the department visit communities to assist with treaty annuity payments.

Registration and secure certificate of Indian status

About the service

  • Indigenous Services Canada determines eligibility for registration under the Indian Act and maintains an accurate Register.
  • The Department issues proof of registration documents, including the Secure Certificate of Indian Status, which identifies those eligible to receive programs and services to which they are entitled.

Top key current files or projects

Bill S-3 Implementation

  • Bill S-3 was introduced in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in Descheneaux, which declared key provisions of the Indian Act inoperative, because they unjustifiably violated equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by perpetuating sex-based inequities in eligibility for Indian registration.
  • Bill S-3 came into force in two stages:
    1. On December 22, 2017, a first set of provisions came into force and eliminated all known sex-based inequities in Indian registration dating back to 1951.
    2. Bill S-3 also included provisions to remove what is commonly known as the 1951 cut-off (the practice of linking registration reform to the date of the creation of the modern Indian registry in 1951), but with a delayed coming into force to allow for consultation on an implementation plan. The consultation processes concluded in March 2019 and results are publicly available.

Key milestones

  • On February 1, 2019, in response to a Report from the Minister's Special Representative on border crossing issues, a machine-readable zone was introduced on the Secure Certificate of Indian Status to facilitate border-crossing.
  • On August 15, 2019, the 1951 cut-off was removed from the Indian Act. This was the last remaining provision of Bill S-3 to come into force. As a result, all known sex-based inequities in Indian registration dating back to 1869 have been eliminated.
  • To address gaps in access and facilitate more timely service digital options have been explored for the Secure Certificate of Indian Status. As of July 9, 2019, a mobile Photo App was made available to the public and individuals no longer have to pay for a passport quality photo.

Results and outcomes

  • The average annual number of newly registered Indians is 20,000 and there are approximately 1,000,000 registered Indians in the Indian Registry.
  • In 2018–2019, 47,160 Secure Certificates of Indian Status were issued to registered Indians across the country.
  • There are approximately 200,000 client interactions a year for registration activities and the Secure Certificate of Indian Status.
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