First Nations have long suffered a lack of funding and attention from the Federal and Provincial governments of Canada, especially in relation to child protection matters. In recent years, several programs have been announced or implemented aiming to rectify this fact, but navigating the various funding programs can be extremely complicated. Developing an understanding of the available programs, application procedures and rights and obligations of Nations in receipt of these funds requires a significant amount of time and research.
Mincher Koeman has been working closely with various First Nations in recent years, primarily in the area of child protection and guardianship. We value our work with our Indigenous clients greatly, and as a result, we have expanded our depth of knowledge to include First Nations funding and grant regimes. Our lawyers can provide guidance and advice to Nations wishing to participate in one or more of these programs by advising on the various funding options available and the associated application requirements. We will provide an honest assessment of the benefits and drawbacks of the various options specific to every client.
All of the funding options and their drawbacks and benefits would be impossible to list here. For a more thorough review of the funding options available to a First Nation, please contact one of our lawyers to arrange for a discussion. However, we will take a brief look at a new federal program that came into effect in 2019.
This federal Grant was created with input from the Assembly of First Nations and became available in April of 2019. The aim of the grant is to establish a longer funding period with various First Nations in order to allow for better fund allocation and planning. The fund also claims to allow Nations to retain unspent funds, and to reduce a Nations’s administration and reporting burdens. By providing funds over a 10-year time period, it is argued that this will give a Nation a better view with respect to the allocation of funds, providing a Nation with the benefit of long-term planning. The fund is aimed at addressing a wide range of services, including:
In order to qualify for this grant, a Nation must have a Financial Administration Law or Bylaw in place at the time of the application and undergo a Financial Performance Review based on the most recent 5 years of financial statements, among other requirements.
At Mincher Koeman, our lawyers are knowledgeable and passionate about providing legal assistance to the Alberta First Nations and Indigenous communities. We would welcome the chance to work with your Nation in an assessment of funding options that may be available to you, and well as provide guidance with respect to the application process. Please contact our office to make an appointment to discuss your matter with one of our lawyers today by calling us at 403-910-3000 or by contacting us online.
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