With Budget 2019 released on Tuesday, the province has announced that First Nations communities across BC will receive $3 billion over the next 25 years as a step towards reconciliation.
Starting in April 2019, funding from the province and a percentage of BC’s gambling revenue will be divided among every First Nations community annually. According to the Ministry of Finance, each community will be eligible for $250,000 to $2 million per year.
“This agreement will change lives for the better in every corner of the province. It means consistent, predictable and sustainable funding to support critical things every government needs, like improving infrastructure, implementing long-term planning and pursuing development opportunities to address the economic, social and cultural needs of Indigenous peoples on the lands that have belonged to them since time began,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement.
The funding comes with no strings attached, allowing for each community to decide where to invest the money, including areas like health, housing, infrastructure, training, environmental protection, and governance cost.
The First Nations Gaming Commission has created a formula to calculate how the funding will be distributed to each community. A full 50% of the funding will be divided equally among partnered First Nations, 40% will be based on population, and 10% for remote communities.
“The B.C. government is finally implementing a long-awaited agreement to share gaming revenue that will enable First Nations the opportunity to prioritize critically important community issues that have long hindered their beneficial development,” said Grand Chief Joe Hall, former chair of the BC First Nations Gaming Commission.