Published: Mar 22, 2019Bulletin

March 2019

Budget 2019 Investment Areas


  • The federal budget was tabled in the House of Commons on March 19, 2019.
  • Budget 2019 includes 24 measures for Indigenous peoples, totalling approximately $4.7 billion. More than $4.4 billion has been identified for First Nations.
  • Investments over the last four budgets total more than $21 billion, which is four times what the Kelowna Accord committed to in 2006.

Budget 2019 identifies important sustained investments for First Nations, a result of sustained advocacy by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and First Nations. These investments are good for First Nations and Canada.  AFN’s advocacy is garnering results and while we must continue to seek investments to close the gap between First Nations and Canada, we are seeing progress in priority areas as a result of the total investment of more than $21 billion over the past four budget cycles.

The federal budget released March 19, 2019 includes 24 measures for Indigenous peoples, totalling approximately $4.7 billion.  The investments are aimed at a range of initiatives, including, languages, post-secondary education, education, economic participation, emergency management, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action such as the National Council for Reconciliation, water and well-being.  This federal budget also provides loan forgiveness and reimbursement to First Nations in the area of comprehensive claims, and funding for research in specific claims.  Investments over the last four budgets total more than $21 billion. That is four times what the Kelowna Accord ($5.1 billion) committed in 2006.

Here is a breakdown of Budget 2019 investments for First Nations. The attached chart provides further detail:

$1.2 billion over 3 years for Jordan’s Principle

This new investment reflects the ongoing commitment to uphold and fully implement Jordan’s Principle and supplements the federal government’s work with First Nations to develop a long-term approach to improving services for First Nations children via Jordan’s Principle.  AFN continues to advocate for greater First Nations control of Jordan’s Principle to ensure First Nations children have access to child-centered, needs-based and First Nations-based programs and services wherever they reside.

$739 million over 5 years for water

The majority of this investment builds on previous investments to eliminate boil water advisories by funding operations and maintenance to prevent First Nations from ending up on boil water advisories again.

$333.7 million over 5 years +  $115.7 million ongoing to implement Indigenous Languages Act

This investment will support the implementation of Bill C-91, which is currently before the House of Commons.  AFN has pressed for the revitalization and strengthening of First Nations languages – to keep our people connected to our cultures and to ensure our children are healthy and are strong in their identity. The goal is for the Indigenous Languages Act to become law by June 2019 (within this parliamentary session) and within the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages (2019).

$327.7 million over 5 years for post-secondary education

This investment helps reduce the existing wait list of First Nations post-secondary students (currently about 10,000). Without continued investments, however, the wait list will continue to grow as more and more  of our students graduate from high school.  AFN continues its work with the federal government to ensure the implementation of recommendations made by First Nations through the federal review of First Nations post-secondary education.  This work includes facilitating the drafting of a new federal policy for First Nations post-secondary education with the intent of securing adequate funding and supports for post-secondary students and First Nations institutions of higher learning.

Loan forgiveness and reimbursement for comprehensive claims and research for specific claims

This investment pertains to any loan taken by a First Nation for the negotiation of comprehensive claims and self-government, including any loans that were taken and paid back by the First Nation. These loans will be forgiven or, where they have already been paid, they will be reimbursed.  National Chief Bellegarde, AFN and First Nations in BC, the Yukon and Northwest Territories pressed hard for this commitment and this is a step in the right direction.  First Nations should not have to pay for the restoration of our rightful land base.

$127 million to create the National Council for Reconciliation

This is a one-time funding commitment to create the National Council for Reconciliation, the key accountability mechanism identified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Calls to Action.