Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak Calls for Investments to Close Gaps in Education and Infrastructure Following Release of New Data

Published: Apr 12, 2024Press Release

(April 12, 2024 – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario) – Following the release of Indigenous Services Canada’s (ISC) 2021 Community Well-Being (CWB) Index, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak highlights the urgent need for action and investment to address the critical gaps in First Nations.

The CWB Index is a tool created by the Government of Canada for evaluating trends in well-being among First Nations, Inuit, and non-Indigenous populations in Canada by measuring progress on closing the gaps in education, labour and employment, income, and housing. The data is measured on a 100-point scale, and comparisons across time allow us to track how the gap between First Nations’ and non-Indigenous outcomes have been reduced or, in many instances, widened. Although First Nations experienced a four-point overall increase between 2016 and 2021, data reveals that significant gaps continue to exist in access and outcomes associated with essential services, such as housing and education. First Nations, overall, remain more than 16 points behind non-Indigenous communities, even after improvements made between 2016 and 2021.

“Decades of underfunding have led to minimal progress in areas reflected in the CWB Index findings,” said National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak. “We know that First Nations-led approaches, in alignment with their rights and jurisdiction, is the only way to achieve equitable outcomes for First Nations. It’s critical for First Nations to be involved in the development and implementation of programs and services so that they can be effective, reliable, and culturally appropriate. This is essential for achieving reconciliation, improving outcomes, and upholding our rights and sovereignty.”

“What is required now is bold and transformative investments to not only address but also close the education and infrastructure gaps faced by First Nations. As we look toward the Federal Budget 2024, I urge the government to live up to its promises and obligations to First Nations by providing targeted investments to address the persistent funding deficits we’ve faced, aligned with the priorities identified in the 2024 AFN Pre-Budget Submission. This includes allocating $4.7 billion for the construction, renovation, and expansion of First Nations schools and teacherages, along with $3.675 billion to enhance existing First Nations financial, administrative, and political governance supports.”

Read the Indigenous Services Canada’s (ISC) Community Well-Being (CWB) Index: Overview of the Community Well-Being index, 1981 to 2021.


The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.

Contact information:

Genna Benson
Director, Communications
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]