Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Kwe kwe. Ulaakut. Tansi. Hello. Bonjour.
I want to acknowledge that we are meeting on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
Today, I will give an overview of investments my government is making to ensure that Canada is honoring its lawful obligations to Indigenous Peoples and working to renew Canada’s relationship with treaty partners and all Indigenous communities.
We also continue to work with other government departments to implement investments and policies that address the root causes of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
We will soon begin the engagement process with First Nations partners on redesigning the Additions-to-Reserve policy to ensure it’s effective and inclusive. We are also working with First Nations to modernize the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, and are working closely with First Nations fiscal institutions and First Nations to ensure they have sufficient resources to further their visions for self-determination.
Crown-Indigenous Relations supplementary estimates (B) include initiatives totalling $6.3 billion, which will bring the total budgetary funding for the department to approximately $13.7 billion.
Roughly half of the estimates, $2.9 billion, is funding for out-of-court settlements. These funds are used to advance reconciliation by paving the way for more respectful and constructive relationships with indigenous peoples.
These estimates also include $673 million in new funding for the continued management of the indigenous childhood claims litigation, further supporting the compensation of survivors of physical and sexual abuse under the day school settlement agreement, as well as related administration costs for the day schools and sixties scoop settlement agreements. As of November 2 of this year, over 118,000 class action members have received compensation for the harms they suffered attending a day school, and 20,798 class action members have been deemed eligible for compensation for the harms they suffered related to the sixties scoop.
Additionally, the top-up of $678 million in new funding in this fiscal year for the specific claims settlement fund ensures that funds are available for the timely payment of settlement agreements reached through the negotiations with first nations, or any compensation awards that are made by the Specific Claims Tribunal.
In parallel to our ongoing efforts to work with First Nations to resolve their claims expeditiously, we are working with the Assembly of First Nations and other Indigenous partners on the joint development of reforms to improve the specific claims process.
In addition to reform efforts, we are striving to address the lack of housing for Indigenous communities, which has been a long-standing crisis. Our partners have informed us of their urgent need for safe and sustainable housing options for their communities.
New funding of $458 million was provided through budget 2022 to improve and expand indigenous housing and infrastructure for self-governing and modern treaty first nations, Inuit and Métis. This funding extends and enhances the distinctions-based housing strategy work that's already under way, such as the Métis nation and Inuit Nunangat housing strategies. This investment helps to address the critical housing needs of indigenous partners and supports better health and socio-economic outcomes overall.
Mr. Chair, the funding included in the Supplementary Estimates (B) will further support the department as we work to deliver on our mandate and priorities.
I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these estimates with the committee. I'm happy to now proceed to questions.
Meegwetch. Qujannamiik. Marsi. Thank you. Merci.