PRESS RELEASE: 2021 Federal Budget under-delivers for urban Indigenous people
2021 Federal Budget under-delivers for urban Indigenous people
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2021
OTTAWA – The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased to see the commitments made for First Nations, Inuit and Métis, however, the 2021 Federal Budget falls short with respect to urban Indigenous people, communities, and organizations.
“While we recognize the historic investment in Indigenous communities, we believe the federal government missed an opportunity to announce investments specifically for urban Indigenous people,” said Christopher Sheppard, NAFC President, “For example, Friendship Centres have been on the frontline providing ongoing COVID-19 pandemic support and this was a chance to invest in the vital role we play.”
The 2021 budget was tabled as the country navigates out of over a year of uncertainty and worry, in which Indigenous communities have been disproportionately affected. The NAFC actively sought a response from the federal government that factors the unique challenges Indigenous people face in urban areas. This year’s budget included the expansion of Aboriginal Head Start, Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF), Indigenous Early Learning as well as funding for anti-racism initiatives, health navigators and Jordan’s Principle Workers.
"While we are encouraged to see the investments in expanding urban Aboriginal Head Start, employment and training, Jordan's Principle and health navigators, we are disappointed that there were few specific investments for urban Indigenous people," said Jocelyn Formsma, NAFC Executive Director, "As the largest network serving urban Indigenous people, Friendship Centres were hoping for recognition.”
The Friendship Centre Movement stands ready to engage and remain a strong national partner with the federal government to ensure that urban Indigenous people have access to every benefit for Indigenous people that was announced in the 2021 budget.
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The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.