April 22, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Responding to yesterday’s release of the federal government’s 2015-16 budget, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Betty Ann Lavallée called it “a disappointment”.
“They took note of the growing importance of Aboriginal people in the labour market and there is language in the documents about the help that our people need, but there is precious little there in the way of help” said National Chief Lavallée. “Where the federal budget focuses attention on Aboriginal people at all – which, I should stress, isn’t a lot – it focuses on those who live on reserve”, added the National Chief.
Although more than 1 million of the 1.4 million people who identify as Aboriginal in Canada live away from reserves, only a portion of $341.8 million will be invested in programs for off-reserve Aboriginal people over the next five years, totalling less than $70 per person each year.
The specific investments in programs that might pertain to Aboriginal people living off reserve are as follows:
· $215 million over five years for Aboriginal labour market programming.
· $33.5 million over five years for administrative support and an on-reserve pilot labour force survey to improve available labour market information.
· $12 million over three years for the Indspire scholarship and bursaries for First Nation and Inuit students.
· $33.2 million over five years for surveys concerning Aboriginal people on and off reserve, however, $22.3 million of this will come from the existing budgets.
· $5.7 million over five years to help the sealing industry market its products.
· $30.7 million for research to promote the health of Aboriginal people.
· $34 million over five years to consult with Aboriginal peoples concerning the environmental assessment of development projects.
“These are the most vulnerable, the most economically disadvantaged people in the country. Less than seventy dollars a year isn’t going to change that” concluded the National Chief.
Since 1971, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples has been the national representative organization advocating for the rights and interests of off-reserve non-Status and Status Indians, the Southern Inuit of Labrador and Métis Peoples.
To arrange an interview with the National Chief, please contact:
Director of Policy and Media Relations
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
613-747-6022, ext. 202