The rate of COVID-19 on First Nations reserves is 40 per cent higher than in the general Canadian population. Indigenous people living in urban areas have been similarly hard-hit. The crisis represents another in a long series of failures of the Canadian state to achieve justice and reconciliation with first peoples. For an effective recovery, Canada must renew its commitment to upholding Indigenous sovereignty, laws, values, customs and traditions by investing in Indigenous communities. Collaboration and partnership will be required to develop and enact solutions that adequately address the needs of Indigenous communities.
Here is a version of our budget submission part 4 of 7, with some simple calls to action that you can take added in.
Art by Corrina Keeling for justrecoveryforall.ca
In recognizing the importance of restoration and natural infrastructure as well as ecosystem resilience and regeneration, Canada will need to partner with Indigenous organizations such as Indigenous Land Guardians to protect key Indigenous areas. Large-scale, Indigenous-led establishment of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) is necessary to meet Canada’s commitment to 25% protected areas by 2025, on the way to 30% by 2030. Moreover, the creation of a regulatory system that safeguards biodiversity, air, water and Indigenous food sovereignty will also be necessary to ensure the success of these goals.
To consider one economic point, prior to COVID-19, Indigenous tourism in Canada contributed $1.9 billion GDP annually, with a 20% annual growth rate, 40,000 employees and 19,000 businesses. Investing in IPCAs now will provide immediate support for communities, and also put in place the planning, infrastructure, and governance structures necessary to capitalize on economic opportunities from IPCAs, such as tourism, as our economy recovers.
Some Recommendations below! See more in our full budget submission.
- Task the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) with supporting feasibility studies and providing capital funding to enable projects in remote Indigenous communities that displace diesel generation with renewables. $450 million over five years [GBC]
- Capitalize an Indigenous Clean Energy, Technology, and Infrastructure Fund to increase Indigenous capacity and equity participation in clean energy projects while creating jobs. $300 million over five years [GBC]
- Indigenous-led efforts such as the Indigenous Leadership Initiative and Land Needs Guardians are calling for significant new investments in Indigenous-led conservation, including land/ocean-use planning and the creation of new IPCAs managed by Indigenous Guardians. [GBC]
- Create an Indigenous Food Sovereignty Fund [CCPA AFB]
- $600 million/year for terrestrial and marine-protected areas. Include Indigenous protected areas and support for the Indigenous Guardians program. [CCPA AFB]
 “Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050” International Renewable Energy Alliance (2018)
References for Recommendations:
Green Budget Coalition, “Preliminary Recovery Budget Actions for 2020-2021” (2020).
“Alternative Federal Budget Recovery Plan,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, (July 21, 2020).