Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
Tansi. Boozhoo. Greetings and hello.
I want to begin by acknowledging that I am speaking with you today from my office in Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, Treaty 1 territory, the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene peoples, the homeland of the Métis nation, and a city that many Inuit call home.
I am proud to join you virtually today, alongside Minister Bennett, to speak about the 2020-21 supplementary estimates (C) and the 2021-22 main estimates, and what the Government of Canada is doing to assist first nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unique needs of indigenous people and northerners present their own challenges in these COVID times. While the pandemic is certainly not over, there is hope down the way.
I thank you for this opportunity to discuss the important work we are doing to confront the COVID-19 situation and to mitigate its impacts in the north, as well as to answer your questions on supplementary estimates (C) and the main estimates.
These estimates reflect our government's commitment to creating greater economic opportunity and supporting a higher quality of life in Canada's north and Arctic. Furthermore, these estimates demonstrate our government's firm intention to continue working to renew our relationship with indigenous peoples, to tackle climate change and its impacts, to promote economic development and economic growth for northern communities, and to create quality jobs for the people of the north and the Arctic.
Growing the economy while protecting the environment and addressing climate change is a priority for our government. Despite the challenges we all faced in 2020, it was still a year of progress and successes.
In November, with the Government of Yukon, we introduced the COVID-19 recovery research program. As I reported to the committee in November, northerners should not have to worry about putting food on their table or ensuring a continued supply of essential items. Our government provided an additional investment of $25 million to nutrition north Canada. We've also introduced the new harvesters support grant, which is increasing northerners' access to country foods by providing funding to support traditional hunting, harvesting and food sharing. We also marked the formation of the task force on post-secondary education in the north.
The supplementary estimates (C) reflects a net increase of $138.6 million for CIRNAC, including $120.9 million in new funding and $17.7 million of net transfers with other government departments. The total budgetary authorities for 2020 will be $6.9 billion.
More specifically, as announced in the 2020 fall economic statement, $64.7 million is allotted to funding for northern supports to territorial governments to support steps taken to respond to the pandemic. This initiative will contribute to ensuring that territorial governments have the capacity and the resources required to enforce preventative measures and to afford medical options to limit the spread of COVID-19, address regional challenges related to the pandemic and take immediate action to protect health and safety.
CIRNAC's 2020-21 main estimates will be approximately $4.7 billion. This reflects a net decrease of $189 million, compared to last year's main estimates, which my colleague Minister Bennett spoke to.
While there was an overall decrease in these main estimates, they also reflect increases in support of key initiatives, such as the northern abandoned mine reclamation program, which is building a better future for Canada's north by addressing federal contaminated sites.
The government's main objective is to provide support to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that communities are supported throughout the pandemic. We will continue to work with our territorial and indigenous partners to ensure that all remote and northern communities are protected and are in a strong position to recover when we can safely.
I want to take a moment of course to acknowledge the hard work of territorial and indigenous partners, public health officials and frontline workers who have done an incredible job of distributing and administering vaccines across the north.
Last week, eligibility opened up for every northerner in the territories over the age of 18, which is only four months after the first shipments arrived in Canada. I think we can all acknowledge the significance of this milestone, but we know there's still much more work to do.
Again, I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to you. I look forward to your questions.