New funding agreement should be dictated by chiefs: FSIN Chief

By Bryan Eneas
January 11, 2018 - 2:00pm

A recently announced funding agreement between the federal government and Indigenous communities should be constructed with the guidance of local chiefs according to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN).

At the Assembly of First Nation’s winter meetings in December, Indigenous Services Minster Jane Philpott announced a new funding agreement for Indigenous communities in good financial standing.

Currently, Indigenous communities are funded on a yearly basis; the proposed agreement would see the length increased to 10 years. Although the agreement is still in the very early stages, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron is already relaying messages to the government on behalf of Indigenous communities.

“What we did relay to Minister Philpott is, the solutions are in our First Nation chief and councils and their communities,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said. “You’re not going to find any better answers or any better results; you have to deal directly with these First Nations.”

According to Philpott 100 communities “in good financial standing” could see a new funding agreement by spring 2019.

Cameron said Indigenous people have been waiting a long time for an announcement of this nature.

Under the current agreements, Indigenous communities are forced to spend an entire year’s budget by the end of the fiscal year. Funding cannot be rolled over into a new fiscal year. The agreement proposed by Philpott would allow for funding to roll over.

Philpott’s announcement also included changes to the way Indigenous communities report their financials to the government.

Currently, roughly 130 reports are filled out by Indigenous communities every year regarding the dollars they spent. The number of reports required by the federal government would be reduced to roughly 90.

Cameron said people have differing opinions on what this means for accountability and transparency among Indigenous communities however he’s confident leaders would still be held fiscally responsible.

“Chief and councils go through their own accounting governance,” Cameron said. “They hold and have annual audits year after year. Everyone will have their own opinion; as far as we’re concerned chief and councils know where their commitment is.”


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