Government of Canada invests $8 million in critical infrastructure and housing for Métis communities in the Northwest Territories

News release

August 13, 2021 — Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

As part of Budget 2021, the Government of Canada is making historic investments in Indigenous infrastructure to address critical infrastructure gaps and improve economic, social and health outcomes in their communities.

Today, Minister of Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal, along with Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, announced $8 million for Métis communities in the Northwest Territories to respond to their critical infrastructure and housing needs, as identified in their community-led infrastructure plans.

This historic new investment builds on Budget 2021's proposed investments towards immediate housing and infrastructure priorities in the Northwest Territories, including $25 million to the Government of the Northwest Territories to support the construction of 30 new public housing units across the Territory. It further responds to urgent needs identified by partners that have not historically received distinctions-based infrastructure funding in Northwest Territories.

The Government of Canada understands the need to close social and economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and that access to adequate infrastructure is vital to a community's social and economic health and well-being.

Through Canada's Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, Canada is working with Indigenous, territorial and provincial partners to identify immediate and long-term priorities for the North. Through the Framework, the need to address northern infrastructure and housing was identified as a top priority in order to support resilient and healthy northern and Indigenous people.

Quotes

"The Government of Canada has heard directly from Métis partners in Northwest Territories on the urgent need for new federal investments in infrastructure in their communities, based on their priorities. Many communities in the North face challenges accessing affordable housing, including lack of sufficient housing units, the high cost of rent, overcrowding, and inadequate infrastructure. Through Budget 2021, the Government of Canada has made a clear commitment to working together with Indigenous partners to address the infrastructure needs in the North. This investment will support the immediate infrastructure priorities of Métis communities in the Northwest Territories and help to reduce gaps in social outcomes experienced by northern Indigenous people and communities."

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

"Our Government is committed to improving the current infrastructure and housing situation in Canada's North and closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. This funding will support urgent demands prioritized by northern Métis communities, improve their quality of life of and create new opportunities for people living in northern Indigenous communities. Together, we are setting the conditions to build healthy, safe, and prosperous Indigenous communities."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

"The Government of Canada recognizes that northern Indigenous communities have critical infrastructure and housing needs that must be urgently addressed. Building strong northern indigenous communities is so important and we accelerate the path to self-determination."

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

"Through this direct investment into Métis community priorities, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to improving access to housing and reducing the infrastructure gap in the Northwest Territories."

Michael McLeod
Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories

"Today's funding announcement marks an important milestone and a new day between the North Slave Metis Alliance and the Government of Canada on our long journey towards reconciliation with the Crown. This funding as one step, is very much welcomed by us. Canada's funding, along with ours, will help our seniors to access housing that is appropriate and, affordable for their needs. Most of all, this funding allows them a choice to remain here, with us, at home, in the Northwest Territories. I also wish to offer our sincere thanks to our MP and NWT Regional office who supported us and helped make this funding a reality. We, at the NSMA, look forward to a closer relationship with Canada, as we continue to work together and with the GNWT towards reconciliation."

Mark Whitford
North Slave Metis Alliance

"Today's funding announcement from the Government of Canada comes at a time when NWT Metis Nation members face a real housing shortage. Our members work hard and it is important they have a safe place to call home. We will develop criteria for this funding that will support both our elders and Indigenous Metis with full time jobs who are just starting out in life. It will help our members repair their homes, and purchase and build new homes. This is a positive step in building a government-to-government relationship with Canada."

Garry Bailey, President
NWT Metis Nation

Quick facts

  • As part of Budget 2021, the Government of Canada proposed historic, new investments of over $18 billion over the next five years to address critical infrastructure gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and improve economic, social and health outcomes to advance meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation.

  • This includes $4.3 billion for the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund, including $18 million over four years in First Nations communities on non-reserve lands and Métis communities in the Northwest Territories to respond to their urgent critical infrastructure and housing needs. Funding allocations will be determined by Indigenous partners for their communities.

  • Through Canada's Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, Canada is working with Indigenous, territorial and provincial partners to identify immediate and long-term priorities for the North. The Framework guides the Government of Canada's priorities, activities and investments in the Arctic to 2030 and beyond and better aligns Canada's national and international policy objectives with the priorities of Northerners.

  • The Government of Canada launched Canada's Arctic and Northern Policy Framework on September 10, 2019. For the first time, the federal government worked collaboratively with Indigenous representatives and six territorial and provincial governments to define and co-develop this long-term vision. The Framework reflects the priorities and perspectives of Arctic and northern people and is grounded in inclusive engagement across the Arctic and the North.

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Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Ryan Cotter
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs
819-953-1153

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
819-934-2302
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca

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