Public officials ask for $2B for “immediate” repairs to First Nations schools

November 2, 2016

The federal Indigenous Affairs Department has said that it will need at least $2B to properly address 115 First Nations schools that require "immediate attention," according to documents tabled in the House of Commons. CBC reports that while last year’s budget committed half of this amount over five years, the funds will not necessarily be directed at the schools identified as being most in need of repair. 40% of the promised funds are also set to be delivered after the next election, and there is “no guarantee a new government would make the same spending commitments.” The IAD’s request for $2B stems from recently completed inspections of First Nations schools across the country, which found that over half of the 439 surveyed schools had at least one example of a “health or safety deficiency.” CBC reports that over the past decade, roughly $720M in First Nations infrastructure money has been reallocated this way. “While this is helping to cover some of the pressures of social and education programs, it is putting increased pressure on already inadequate infrastructure funding,” public servants wrote in a January 2013 briefing note. “The gap between current identified need and available resources is so vast that even with a significant increase in the escalator, the current gap remains.” CBC