Published: Apr 21, 2021Bulletin

Federal Budget 2021


  • The federal budget was tabled in the House of Commons on April 19, 2021
  • Budget 2021 commits a total of $18 billion for Indigenous peoples – the largest ever investment for First Nations
  • Cumulative budget investments since 2015 have surpassed $39 billion

The AFN will continue to advocate for consistent and sustained investments to close the socio-economic gap only widening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

The 2021 federal budget tabled Monday April 19, 2021 by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland includes the largest ever investment for First Nations and builds on the momentum achieved through First Nations advocacy.  Cumulative budget investments toward Indigenous priorities since 2015 have surpassed $39 billion.

Budget 2021 includes a total of $18 billion over five years for Indigenous people, with much of the funding committed to addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It specifically responds to areas identified by First Nations for additional support to respond to COVID-19, such as mental wellness, health response, and safety measures for educational spaces, items reflected in the throne speeches of 2019 and 2020.

Additional investments have been identified for health, infrastructure and essential services, economic development, child and family services, policing and justice, education, languages, culture, and economic development, detailed below and in the attached chart.

COVID-19 Supports:

Budget 2021 commits that Indigenous communities will have the resources they need to deliver vaccine doses to people as quickly as possible. The commitment totals $478.1 million in health response and $760.8 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund.

Mental wellness:

Budget 2021 promises innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID 19, including First Nations. Indigenous peoples will receive $36 million over three years to address the mental health impacts of COVID-19.

Addressing Racism in Health:

Budget 2021 makes specific reference to the death of Joyce Echaquan and the devastating consequences of anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health care systems. It identifies $127.7 million over three years for efforts toward equitable access to healthcare without discrimination, and $12.5 million over five years, and $2.5 ongoing to support the well-being of families and survivors through project-based programming in collaboration with the National Family Survivors Circle.

Infrastructure and Essential Services:

This federal budget commits $4.3 billion over four years for an Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund and $1.7 billion over five years ($338.9 million ongoing) for Operations and Maintenance on-reserve.

Economic development and Growth:

This federal budget includes 11 programs that will provide funding for Indigenous economic development. Programs include modernizing federal procurement and creating opportunities for specific communities by diversifying the federal supplier base ($87.4 million) and designating $117 million for the Indigenous Community Business Fund. Following up on a commitment made in 2019, the budget promises $150 million for the launch of the Indigenous Growth Fund. This fund will provide capital to Indigenous entrepreneurs to aid in securing additional investors. This new fund is the result of collaboration between the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Child and Family Services:

This budget references the federal government’s commitment to working with Indigenous leadership to reform child and family services in ways that Indigenous children have every opportunity to grow up in their communities, immersed in their cultures and with their families and relatives.  It commits $1 billion over five years and $118 million ongoing for child and family services, and $73.6 million over four years for the implementation of Bill C-92 (an Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families).


Budget 2021 proposes to provide $43.7 million over five years to establish First Nations policing as an essential service and an investment of $540.3 million over five years to expand the First Nations Policing Program and $108.6 million over five years to repair, renovate, and replace policing facilities in First Nation and Inuit communities.  These and additional investment in this area total 886.1 million over five years.


This federal budget identifies $74.8 over three years to improve access to justice for Indigenous people and support the development of an Indigenous justice strategy to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.


The government will provide $2.2 billion over five years to implement the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Budget 2021 will begin these investments in 2021-22, with $160.9 million ongoing.


Budget 2021 promises $1.2 billion over five years for three areas related to Indigenous education. COVID-19 support, including PPE for students and staff as well as remote learning resources, will receive $112 million in 2021-22. Student transportation and Regional Education Agreements will receive $726 million over five years, starting in 2021-22. First Nations adults on reserve who wish to complete their high school degree have $350 million in funding support.

Culture and Language:

Budget 2021 designates $460 million for Indigenous culture and language-based programs. $275 million will bolster reclamation, revitalization, and strengthening of Indigenous languages. The budget also promises investments of $14.9 million for the preservation of Indigenous heritage through Library and Archives Canada. Additional funds will support cultural spaces, sports and recreational activities, and programs specific to Indigenous women and girls.

The AFN will continue to advocate for consistent and sustained investments to close the socio-economic gap only widening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For further details on all programs included in the $18 billion investment for Indigenous peoples, please see the attached chart.