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Archived - Part 3: 
A Resilient and Inclusive Recovery

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Chapter 7:
A More Equal Canada

COVID-19 highlighted and exacerbated the inequities within our society.

Systemic racism and discrimination are a painful reality for too many people, especially for marginalized groups, including Indigenous, Black, and racialized people, those living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2 communities.

Those who live with disabilities still face many barriers to health care, jobs, and services. And many Canadians require additional support for challenging health issues beyond COVID-19—from substance use, to fair access to sexual and reproductive health, to navigating the complexities of end-of-life care.

When we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue bridging the gaps that hold Canada back from reaching its potential. We are at our best when we come together to help one another, as we saw Canadians do countless times during the pandemic.

Budget 2021 outlines the government’s plan to build a healthier, more inclusive, and more equal Canada.

7.1 Fighting Systemic Racism and Empowering Communities

Systemic racism can have devastating consequences for the well-being of Canadians. Violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion from opportunities, and myriad expressions of unconscious bias deny Canadians their freedoms and fair treatment. A more equitable and inclusive society demands all Canadians come together to address racism in all its forms and make permanent and transformative changes.

In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the federal government announced a series of policies and programs to fight against systemic racism and empower racialized communities. These were early steps.

Budget 2021 takes the next steps towards long-term, foundational change. Canada can and will do more to support racialized communities, improve understanding of racial inequities and barriers, build a more diverse and inclusive federal public service, and work with partners to build a more equal and just future.

Strengthening the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and Helping Communities Respond to an Increase in Racism

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unequal impact on Canadians, with the increase in reports of harassment and attacks against Asian Canadians being an especially disturbing trend.

The work to address systemic racism is ongoing and must be done alongside engaged and knowledgeable partners. Their invaluable on-the-ground knowledge, experiences, learned best practices, and networks are crucial in the work to create foundational change. And their efforts can effectively bring Canadians together in the common purpose of building a fairer, safer, and more equal Canada where all are free from discrimination.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is a Crown corporation created in 1996, as part of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. The foundation has a quarter century of history working to eliminate racism, reaffirm the principles of justice and equality for all in Canada, and uphold the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Over the past year, the foundation has focused on supporting specific racialized communities impacted by dramatically rising cases of racism. In Vancouver, for example, there has been a 700 per cent increase in reported cases of anti-Asian racism since the pandemic began.

All Canadians should feel safe and be free of discrimination. Sadly, certain people are at risk of racially motivated violence, threatening their personal safety and the security of their communities.

Supporting Black Canadian Communities

Events over the last year have shone a light on the complex and unique lived realities of Black Canadians. Data show that Canada's Black population remains one of the most disadvantaged, with a higher prevalence of low-income households, lower employment rates compared to the Canadian average, as well as a much higher likelihood of discriminatory treatment at work.

COVID-19 has only exacerbated these inequities linked to anti-Black racism, and many Black Canadian communities, and the organizations that support them, are increasingly vulnerable to economic hardship.

To continue to support the work of community organizations that empower, advocate for, and lift up Black Canadians:

The Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative

The Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative is administered by Employment and Social Development Canada. The program supports capacity-building of Black-led non-profit organizations so they can better serve Black Canadian communities.

Organizations that recently received funding include:

  • Black Wellness Cooperative of Nova Scotia (Bedford, NS): This organization provides expertise, knowledge, and training to promote health, wellness, and fitness among the African Nova Scotian and Mi'kmaq communities.
  • Association Francophone de Brooks (Brooks, AB): 90 per cent of the francophone community of Brooks is of African origin. This organization offers activities for young people, community celebrations, and social activities for families in the francophone community of Brooks.
  • Youth Stars Foundation (Montréal, QC): This organization supports vulnerable youth populations, including Black youth, by offering a variety of programs and workshops that use the arts, sports, dance, and music to foster life skills, promote self-esteem, and strengthen interpersonal skills.

Mobilizing the reach and expertise of community-based organizations is an important tool for empowering Black communities and confronting systemic economic barriers. It also ensures that federal investments best serve the needs of their communities. New research published by the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and Carleton University found that Black-led and Black-serving charities receive significantly less grant funding than other charities in Canada.

Better Data for Better Outcomes

For every Canadian to reach their full potential, we need to properly understand the circumstances in which people live and the barriers they face. We cannot improve what we cannot measure.

At present, Canada lacks the detailed statistical data that governments, public institutions, academics, and advocates need in order to take fully informed policy actions and effectively address racial and social inequities. From a detailed understanding of demographic trends to economic and employment data, Statistics Canada has a vital role to play in providing the evidence-based foundation upon which good, effective policies can be built—policies that bring the impacts on marginalized groups into the heart of decision-making.

Journalists and researchers have long worked to tell the stories of where and why disparities in our society exist—whether among racialized groups or the power gap that exists between men and women that leads women’s careers to stall. Better disaggregated data will mean that investigative efforts or research projects like this will have more and better data to analyze.

Building on other investments in Budget 2021, this provides a combined $250 million over five years to Statistics Canada, ensuring Canada has the data it needs to make evidence-based decisions across priorities including disaggregated data, health, quality of life, the environment, justice, and business and the economy.

To modernize Canada’s justice system, support evidence-based policies, and ensure accountability within the criminal justice system, the government needs to update and fill gaps in its collection and use of data.

Comprehensive academic research enhances our understanding of the causes of discrimination, the impact of oppression on Canadians and our communities, and strategies to support greater justice, equity, and accountability.

Making the Public Service More Diverse

Canadians should have confidence that their public sector workforce is representative of the communities it serves. In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the government committed to implementing an action plan to increase diversity in hiring and appointments within the public service.

7.2 An Economic Recovery that Includes Everyone

As Canada recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is committed to building a more inclusive society that leaves no one behind. This includes providing programs and services that better respond to the unique needs of vulnerable people and improve quality of life for all Canadians.

Increasing Old Age Security for Canadians 75 and Over

During the pandemic, many seniors have faced economic challenges as they took on extra costs to stay safe. Additionally, many seniors are living longer and relying on monthly benefits to afford retirement. After a lifetime of hard work, they deserve a secure and dignified retirement. That is why the government is committed to increasing Old Age Security (OAS) benefits for seniors age 75 and older.

The government plans to implement this commitment in two steps.

In total, these two measures represent $12 billion over five years in additional financial support, beginning in 2021-22, and at least $3 billion per year ongoing, to be delivered by Employment and Social Development Canada.

Statutory funding authority would be sought to make the one-time payment. Changes to the Old Age Security Act would be made to implement the benefit increase as of July 2022, and to exempt the one-time payment from the definition of income for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

After working hard throughout his career as a barber, Matthieu retired about a decade ago and will turn 75 in June 2022. He is in good health and looking forward to many more healthy years in his retirement.

But because of that, Matthieu is also starting to worry that his retirement savings could run out at some point, which he has been drawing on to complement his monthly OAS and Canada Pension Plan payments. With the proposed measure, Matthieu will have an extra $500 to spend this year. The permanent increase to his OAS benefits as of July 2022 will then give him an estimated $766 more in benefits over the following twelve months. This amount will rise over the years, as Old Age Security benefits are increased in line with the Consumer Price Index every quarter. Matthieu will have a greater sense of financial security in his later years as the measure would help ensure that he has support and can reduce reliance on his savings.

Towards a New Disability Benefit

Since 2015, the government has taken steps towards building an inclusive and resilient economy that supports people with disabilities. In addition to enacting groundbreaking legislation to create a barrier-free Canada, the government has also taken concrete steps to help people with disabilities receive enhanced programming and access to benefits, savings plans, and education funding.

The pandemic has exposed many of the long-standing challenges persons with disabilities face, including an increased risk of poverty. The Government of Canada has a number of programs and services in place that provide support to Canadians with disabilities but these are often complex and can be difficult to navigate for users. To ensure all persons with disabilities have the support they need to overcome persistent barriers to full economic and social participation, the government is committed to bringing forward a new disability benefit.

In preparation for legislation, the government will undertake extensive consultations with stakeholders on the design of the new benefit and engage with provinces and territories, which play a central role in providing support to many Canadians with disabilities. Employment and Social Development Canada will also establish a steering committee to oversee the development of this work, alongside the Canada Revenue Agency, the Department of Finance Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada.

Improving Access to the Disability Tax Credit

In 2017, the Government of Canada reinstated the Canada Revenue Agency’s Disability Advisory Committee to ensure tax measures for persons with disabilities are administered in a fair, transparent, and accessible way. Since the release of the committee’s first annual report in 2019, the government has introduced many important changes, including improvements to its communications and outreach activities for the Disability Tax Credit and changes to Registered Disability Savings Plans to better protect beneficiaries. As the government considers new recommendations from the committee, released in a second report on April 9, 2021, the government is proposing to take further steps to act on the guidance of the committee by improving the eligibility criteria for mental functions and life-sustaining therapy. To help more families and people living with disabilities access the Disability Tax Credit, and other related support measures like the Registered Disability Savings Plan and the Child Disability Benefit:

It is estimated that, as a result of these measures, an additional 45,000 people will qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, and related benefit programs linked to its eligibility, each year. This represents $376 million in additional support over five years, starting in 2021-22.

Making Our Communities and Workplaces More Accessible

Every day, hundreds of thousands of Canadians with disabilities face accessibility challenges. Organizations want to become more accessible but osts can be prohibitive, especially for smaller organizations. The Enabling Accessibility Fund provides funding for renovation, construction, and retrofit projects—from building ramps, to support for the hearing impaired, to automatic door openers—that make communities and workplaces more accessible for persons with disabilities. To reduce barriers to employment, activities, and programs for persons with disabilities:

Supporting Greater Equality for LGBTQ2 Communities

Although we have made much progress as a society, LGBTQ2 people in Canada continue to face discrimination, harassment, and prejudice. Canada is committed to protecting LGBTQ2 rights and promoting social, economic, and political equality with respect to sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. To ensure that Canada’s recovery fosters a fairer and more equal society for LGBTQ2 people, where they can participate as full members of Canadian society:

Supporting Our Veterans

Veterans are three to four times as likely to suffer from depressive or anxiety disorders, and over 15 times more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), than the general population. Veterans are entitled to financial support for mental health care through the Treatment Benefit Program but they can wait up to two years to receive mental health care while waiting for their disability benefit application to be confirmed. To ensure veterans receive timely access to high-quality mental health care:

Many veterans have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. To improve the quality of life for veterans and their families during this challenging period:

Recognizing the Contributions of Atomic Workers

In the mid-twentieth century, Chalk River Laboratories was one of the leading global sites for cutting edge atomic science. But, in 1952 and 1958, there were accidents that required Department of National Defence and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited personnel to contain and clean contaminated sites. In 2008, the government recognized former Department of National Defence personnel who participated in the clean-ups through the establishment of the Atomic Veterans Recognition Program. To provide similar recognition to those Atomic Energy of Canada Limited employees who worked to clean-up these dangerous incidents and protect Canadians:

7.3 Supporting the Health of Canadians

The government recognizes that, even in a pandemic, Canadians face an array of other complex health concerns. For over half a century, our strong and reliable public health care system has been an anchor of Canada’s social and economic security. Investments must be made to ensure health care responds and evolves alongside the people it treats.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis and Problematic Substance Use

Since before the pandemic began, Canada has been facing a worsening opioid epidemic that has devastated lives and communities across Canada, especially in Ontario and Western Canada, with severe impacts in British Columbia and Alberta. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the ongoing opioid overdose crisis in Canada. Isolation, stress, toxic supply, and reduced access to services have contributed to the epidemic. Canada suffered a 74 per cent increase in opioid-related deaths over the course of the first six months of the pandemic. The government is taking further action to help people dealing with problematic substance use and tackle this ongoing crisis.

The government continues to work closely with provinces and territories to ensure our collective response is comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate, and evidence-based. In response to the crisis, the government has made a variety of investments, including a $150 million Emergency Treatment Fund to provinces and territories for 2018-2021, over $100 million in 2019-20 for targeted measures to expand access to harm reduction services and increase access to safer drug supplies, and a fall investment of $66 million over two years, starting in 2020-21, to support community organizations responding to the crisis.

Moving Forward on National Universal Pharmacare

A healthy economy is only possible when its people are healthy. Canadians have access to some of the best doctors, nurses, hospitals, and treatments in the world, and all through our publicly funded health care systems. But some Canadians have difficulty affording the medications they need.

The case for national universal pharmacare is well-established. The government is committed to work with provinces, territories and stakeholders to build on the foundational elements that are already in progress, like the national strategy on high-cost drugs for rare diseases, toward the goal of a universal national program.

To maintain momentum, the government will proceed with its announced plan to provide ongoing funding of $500 million for the program for high-cost drugs for rare diseases. The government will also directly engage with willing partners on national universal pharmacare, alongside other important health priorities, that can be advanced at the provincial and territorial level.

Supporting Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Information and Services

All Canadians should have access to a full suite of sexual and reproductive health resources and services, no matter where they live. Currently, women, youth, LGBTQ2 people, racialized Canadians, and Indigenous populations face the highest sexual and reproductive health risks and the greatest barriers to accessing support, information, and services. Too often, they do not receive the same quality of care, particularly if they are from marginalized communities. Furthermore, examples like Clinic 554—New Brunswick’s only private abortion clinic—show us that lack of funding puts access to sexual and reproductive health care at risk. Everyone deserves equal treatment in our health care system.

The Government is committed to collaboration with provinces and territories to strengthen our health care system, ensuring equitable and appropriate access to a full suite of reproductive and sexual health services, in any upcoming Canada Health Transfer funding discussions.

To improve access to sexual and reproductive health care support, information, and services—including protecting access to abortion care:

In addition, there are currently no existing resources that collect comprehensive data on a wide range of sexual and reproductive health indicators in Canada, limiting our ability to target supports. To address this:

Establishing a National Institute for Women's Health Research

Sex- and gender-related disparities continue to persist in Canada’s health system. Women are more likely to die of preventable illnesses and bear a higher burden of chronic illnesses. To improve health outcomes and eliminate the gaps in the quality of care women receive, we need to strengthen research.

National Autism Strategy

Children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, as well as their families, encounter significant economic and social challenges throughout their lives. Many also confront disparities when it comes to diagnoses and treatments. To improve the health and well-being of Canadians with autism spectrum disorder and their caregivers:

Strategic Research on Pediatric Cancer

Cancer is a leading cause of disease-related death in Canadian children. Pediatric cancers are faster growing and found in different organs than in adults. More targeted research is needed to help save lives and improve the services these brave children and their families receive.

Establishing a National Framework for Diabetes

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, a Nobel Prize-winning accomplishment by Canadian researchers that has helped to save millions of lives. 3.2 million Canadians live with diabetes, a disease which can lead to a variety of complications, such as heart disease and stroke, blindness, and amputation. Type 2 diabetes makes up 90 per cent of all cases of diabetes in Canada and, like other chronic diseases, is largely preventable. Adults with diabetes are also at greater risk of more severe COVID-19 symptoms, including respiratory distress and pneumonia.

Taxation of Vaping Products

Young Canadians’ use of vaping products, such as e-cigarettes, is on the rise. One Health Canada survey indicates that, since 2018, use has doubled among Canadian high school students. Vaping with nicotine poses risks, especially to young people: nicotine is highly addictive, can affect memory and concentration, and is known to alter brain development in teens. In addition to raising revenues, vaping taxation could become an effective means to help curtail harmful consumption of these products.

The Government of Canada will also work with any provinces and territories that may be interested in a federally coordinated approach to taxing these products.

Taxation of Tobacco

Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of premature death in Canada. Tobacco taxation is an effective way to reduce tobacco consumption and help reach the government’s goal of less than 5 per cent of the population using tobacco by 2035.

It is estimated that this measure will increase federal revenues by $2.1 billion over five years starting in 2021-22.

Support for Canadian Blood Services

Many Canadians rely on plasma to treat life-threatening conditions. During the COVID-19 crisis, global demand, prices, and shortages have increased. To secure a domestic supply of plasma:

Better Palliative Care

To provide Canadians, including those who live in long-term care and their families, with better palliative and end-of-life care, including culturally sensitive care:

Ensuring Appropriate Access and Safeguards for Medical Assistance in Dying

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) is a complex and deeply personal issue. MAID became law in Canada five years ago to provide relief, in certain cases, for those with reasonably foreseeable deaths. Recent amendments to the law, with the passage of Bill C-7 to expand access for those suffering intolerably, underscore the need to be responsive to the evolution of Canada’s MAID framework.

Chapter 7
A More Equal Canada
millions of dollars
7.1. Fighting Systemic Racism and Empowering Communities 0 338 45 45 38 38 504
Strengthening the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and Helping Communities Respond to an Increase in Racism 0 8 5 0 0 0 13
Supporting Black Canadian Communities 0 300 0 0 0 0 300
Better Data for Better Outcomes 0 30 40 45 38 38 191
Making the Public Service More Diverse 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7.2. An Economic Recovery that Includes Everyone 0 1,726 1,833 2,456 2,592 2,747 11,354
Increasing Old Age Security for Canadians 75 and over 0 1,675 1,870 2,643 2,820 3,004 12,011
Less: Projected Revenues
0 -155 -210 -300 -325 -355 -1,345
Towards a New Disability Benefit 0 4 4 4 0 0 12
Improving Access to the Disability Tax Credit 0 19 84 90 91 92 376
Making Our Communities and Workplaces More Accessible 0 50 50 0 0 0 100
Supporting Greater Equality for LGBTQ2 Communities 0 8 7 7 0 0 22
Supporting Our Veterans 0 118 13 12 6 6 155
Recognizing the Contributions of Atomic Workers 0 7 15 0 0 0 22
7.3. Supporting the Health of Canadians 0 -304 -320 -392 -400 -400 -1,814
Addressing the Opioid Crisis and Problematic Substance Use 0 58 58 0 0 0 116
Supporting Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Information and Services 0 16 18 15 3 0 53
Establishing a National Institute for Women's Health Research 0 2 5 4 4 4 20
National Autism Strategy 0 8 8 0 0 0 15
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
0 -4 -4 0 0 0 -8
Strategic Research on Pediatric Cancer 0 15 15 0 0 0 30
Establishing a National Framework for Diabetes 0 7 7 7 7 7 35
Taxation of Tobacco 0 -415 -440 -435 -425 -420 -2,135
Support for Canadian Blood Services 0 6 8 6 0 0 20
Better Palliative Care 0 1 4 7 9 6 27
Ensuring Appropriate Access and Safeguards for Medical Assistance in Dying 0 3 3 3 3 3 13
Additional Investments – A More Equal Canada -28 7 22 0 0 0 0
Veterans Affairs Canada Service Capacity 0 7 22 0 0 0 29
Less: Funds Previously Provisioned in the Fiscal Framework
-28 0 0 0 0 0 -29
Funding for Veterans Affairs Canada to extend disability adjudication resources provided in Budget 2018 for an additional year and to develop more efficient disability benefits application and decision-making processes using digital technologies.
Chapter 7 – Net Fiscal Impact -28 1,767 1,580 2,109 2,230 2,385 10,043
Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding.

Chapter 8:
Strong Indigenous Communities

No relationship is more important to the federal government than the relationship with Indigenous peoples. The federal government continues to work with Indigenous peoples to build a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship—one based on respect, partnership, and recognition of rights.

In Budget 2021, the federal government is furthering its plan to address the unique challenges faced by Indigenous communities during the pandemic. This work is essential to make sure our recovery includes everyone and makes all communities more resilient. Since 2015, real progress has been made righting historic wrongs, but more work needs to be done.

Through this budget, the federal government is proposing a historic, new investment of over $18 billion over the next five years, to improve the quality of life and create new opportunities for people living in Indigenous communities. Working with Indigenous partners, these investments will make significant strides in closing gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, support healthy, safe, and prosperous Indigenous communities, and advance meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. These investments will support continued action on infrastructure and clean water. They will also take meaningful action on the new approach that is needed to end the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, one which addresses the root causes and the scope of the violence.

Chart 8.1
Investments in Indigenous Priorities (Actual and Projected)
Indigenous Investments: 2012-13 to 2021-22
Chart 8.1: Investments in Indigenous Priorities (Actual    and Projected) - Indigenous Investments: 2012-13 to 2021-22$    Billions

Sources: Public Accounts of Canada; Department of Finance Canada.

Text version
Year Expenditures (Public Accounts of Canada) Historical Growth Rate Projected Expenditures
2012-13  $11,300,000,000
2013-14  $11,300,000,000
2014-15  $11,000,000,000  
2015-16  $11,400,000,000 --
2016-17  $12,900,000,000  $11,900,000,000
2017-18  $15,400,000,000  $12,100,000,000
2018-19  $17,000,000,000  $12,300,000,000
2019-20  $20,500,000,000  $12,600,000,000 --
2020-21  $12,800,000,000  $22,700,000,000
2021-22  $13,100,000,000  $24,500,000,000

8.1 Healthy and Vibrant Communities

COVID-19 has highlighted the health vulnerabilities Indigenous peoples face and the challenges of delivering front-line health services in many Indigenous communities.

The federal government knows that addressing the gap in health outcomes faced by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, beyond COVID-19, means taking a broader approach to health and well-being. It means recognizing that health care includes preventive care and mental wellness, that good health is only possible when basic needs are met, and that education is key to a healthy future.

Good health also requires a distinctions-based, Indigenous-led approach. This is what the investments in Budget 2021 set out to accomplish.

Supporting Indigenous Communities in the Fight Against COVID-19

Since the start of the pandemic, Indigenous communities have faced extraordinary health challenges and continue to be vulnerable to the virus and its variants. The federal government has supported Indigenous communities every step of the way through the pandemic, and will continue to have their backs.

Vaccination efforts are well underway in Indigenous communities across the country and the federal government continues to work with provinces and territories to make sure Indigenous peoples in cities can get the vaccine too. The federal government recently introduced legislation that, if passed, would provide a one-time payment of up to $1 billion to provinces and territories to support vaccination rollouts across the country, and could be used to engage Indigenous communities to advance vaccine rollout. Indigenous communities have worked hard to combat the virus but the pandemic is not over and Indigenous communities remain at risk.

Together, these measures will help to ensure that Indigenous leadership has the tools and resources they need to continue to keep communities safe, respond to outbreaks, and support vaccination rollout.

To keep communities safe, the Government also proposes to introduce legislation that would ensure that the First Nations Election Cancellation and Postponement Regulations (Prevention of Diseases) are deemed to have been validly made since April 7, 2020. The Regulations provide a mechanism for First Nation councils to postpone their elections or to extend the terms of the chiefs and councillors, while avoiding a critical governance gap, to prevent, mitigate or control the spread of diseases on reserve, including COVID-19.

Improving Health Outcomes in Indigenous Communities

For far too long, Indigenous peoples have faced poor health care and their communities have experienced reduced health outcomes.

Since 2015, the government has invested over $5.5 billion to improve health outcomes in Indigenous communities. These investments have increased access to timely and culturally appropriate medical care and mental health services for Indigenous people and supported distinctions-based priorities. This includes dedicated funding for First Nations children through the implementation of Jordan’s Principle, responding to high rates of tuberculosis in Inuit communities and supporting the Métis Nation in gathering health data and developing a health strategy to address their unique needs.

Building on that, and to ensure Indigenous peoples can access high-quality health care:

These investments are in addition to the government’s commitment to co-develop distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation so that Indigenous communities have greater control over the design and delivery of high-quality and culturally relevant care. The government launched the engagement process to co-develop this legislation on January 28, 2021.  

Distinctions-Based Mental Wellness Strategy

The government is committed to supporting Indigenous peoples and communities as they seek to heal from historical trauma and the intergenerational impacts of colonization. The pandemic has exacerbated the mental health challenges many Indigenous peoples face. Three in five Indigenous peoples say their mental health has worsened in the pandemic. Providing better access to trauma-informed, culturally appropriate Indigenous-led services is a critical part of improving mental wellness in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.

Supporting Indigenous Children and Families

The government is committed to supporting the well-being of Indigenous children and families. Work continues with Indigenous leadership to reform child and family services so that all Indigenous children have the opportunity to grow up in their communities, immersed in their cultures, and surrounded by loved ones.

The government will also continue to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities in developing their own child and family services models that reflect their values and traditions under the Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.

These investments and the implementation of the Act will help realize the shared goals of prioritizing the best interests of children, increasing the number of communities exercising jurisdiction in relation to child and family services, and decreasing the number of children in care.

Providing High-quality Education

A high-quality education is the foundation of success, which every child growing up in Canada deserves no matter where they live. Not only does good elementary and secondary schooling lead to better jobs, studies have shown that better education can lead to better mental heath and improved personal, family, and community well-being. Since 2015, investments the government has made have improved learning experiences for approximately 107,000 students per year and helped build 186 education-related infrastructure projects benefiting 240 First Nations communities. Investing in children’s education is an important part of the government’s plan to build long-term economic resilience. In 2019, the federal government implemented a new, co-developed policy and funding approach to better support the needs of First Nations students on reserve.

To invest in the future of First Nations children and continue to support this new approach:

Supporting Indigenous Post-secondary Education During COVID-19

The pandemic continues to affect Indigenous post-secondary students and institutions. To help Indigenous students complete their studies and ensure that Indigenous-led post-secondary institutions can provide online services and continue to implement health and safety measures:

On-reserve Income Assistance

The On-reserve Income Assistance program helps eligible individuals and families cover the costs of daily life and provides access to employment supports. The federal government is continuing to engage with First Nations on ways to make the program more responsive to the needs of individuals and families and to develop support that helps people transition from income assistance to employment and education.

8.2 Building Infrastructure and Economic Growth

Budget 2021 lays out a plan to help build resilient Indigenous communities through new, distinctions-based investments in infrastructure, including support for clean drinking water, housing, schools, and roads. This builds on the recent announcement by the Canada Infrastructure Bank to commit $1 billion towards the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative to support new partnerships with Indigenous communities on infrastructure projects.

Chart 8.2
Progress on Long-Term Drinking Water Advisories since 2010
Chart 8.2: Progress    on Long-Term Drinking Water Advisories since 2010

Source: Indigenous Services Canada

Text version
  Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Investments
($ million)
Number of Water Advisories
2010-11  $395 106
2011-12  $311 103
2012-13  $303 109
2013-14  $295 106
2014-15  $329 108
2015-16  $367 104
2016-17  $462 97
2017-18  $664 91
2018-19  $673 62
2019-20  $648 56
2020-21  $891 59

As of April 13, 2021, 106 long-term drinking water advisories, and 178 short-term drinking water advisories, have been lifted since 2015, while 105 long-term drinking water advisories were in place when this government committed to eliminating long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves. Since 2015, the expansion of the scope of the commitment and short-term advisories becoming long-term have added advisories to the list, but the government’s commitment to end all advisories remains firm.

Indigenous community-owned businesses are key drivers of economic growth—they reinvest profits back into their local communities. They are important partners in the work to strengthen communities. This budget makes bold investments to support new opportunities for Indigenous businesses and communities. These targeted investments expand revenue sources and provide businesses and communities with access to the capital they need to grow during the recovery and beyond.

Indigenous Infrastructure

Investments in clean water, housing, and other community infrastructure will create good jobs and build healthier, safer, and more prosperous Indigenous communities in the long-term. The investments in the federal government’s plan will accelerate its 10-year commitment to close the infrastructure gaps in Indigenous communities, which could include all-weather roads, northern airstrips, broadband, health care and educational facilities.

Supporting Indigenous Economies

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Indigenous communities and businesses. Public health measures have affected many of the revenue sources, such as community-owned business revenues, property taxes, and revenues from leased properties, which communities use to support service delivery and pay loans which have been taken out to support community, economic development, and jobs. To ensure the long-term resilience of Indigenous economies, Budget 2021 proposes to provide:

This time-limited spending will help Indigenous communities withstand the pressures of the pandemic and ensure they are well-positioned for a quick recovery.

Support for Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Indigenous communities are often in rural and remote areas and the success of Indigenous-led businesses, including tourism businesses, is critically important to local jobs and economies. In order to ensure Indigenous businesses are part of the recovery and that their economies experience long-term growth, Indigenous-led businesses need access to support.

The Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program provides additional support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation entrepreneurs by lowering the cost of business financing, providing equity, and offering business support services. The program helps Indigenous entrepreneurs access affordable loans to start and grow their businesses. To help Indigenous entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, create jobs, and generate prosperity in their communities:

Currently, only 36 per cent of Indigenous-led businesses are owned by women. To address this and make sure women entrepreneurs are empowered in the economic recovery:

Launch of the Indigenous Growth Fund

Indigenous businesses play an important role in creating jobs and opportunities across Canada. The national network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions, including Métis Capital Corporations, helps to launch and grow these important businesses. 

In order to help ensure that Indigenous businesses have access to financing, the government announced in Budget 2019 the development of an Indigenous Growth Fund.

Through close collaboration between the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association and the Business Development Bank of Canada, an innovative, sustainable new $150 million fund has now been created. 

As announced on April 14, 2021, the Indigenous Growth Fund is designed to provide capital to Aboriginal Financial Institutions and ultimately Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs. The unique structure leverages an initial government investment to help recruit other investors, and most importantly, to grow and sustain the fund on an ongoing basis. This will help to provide a long-term source of capital to support continued success for Indigenous businesses.

Securing Capital for Community Investments

The First Nations Finance Authority provides opportunities for First Nations to use their own revenue—often from provincial revenue-sharing agreements or business ventures—to secure long-term financing. This in turn supports First Nations’ self-determination, job creation, and social and economic development. To expand opportunities for First Nations to raise capital in support of community priorities:

This measure will apply to First Nations that have opted into the First Nations Fiscal Management Act regime and that are collecting First Nations Goods and Services Tax or First Nations Sales Tax revenues within their lands.

Redesigning the Additions to Reserve Policy

Lands are central to First Nations traditions, identity, and prosperity. They are a crucial asset for advancing self-determination, economic development, and well-being.

8.3 Responding to the Tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The government is accelerating work on the National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice and the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Budget 2021 lays out a plan that will build on progress and remain accountable to communities, families, and survivors across Canada.

To end the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, a new approach is needed—one that addresses the root causes of violence, that recognizes the scope of the problem, and one that factors in the different experiences of Indigenous peoples from coast-to-coast-to-coast. This work is anchored in four interconnected thematic areas from the national inquiry: culture, health and wellness, human security and safety, and justice.

Actions to address this tragedy must be broad in order to address the socio-economic root causes including loss of culture and languages, poverty and lack of access to housing, and the need for community safety, food security, employment, education, health care, infrastructure, and the many threads that tie the fabric of society together.

Budget 2021 proposes to invest an additional $2.2 billion over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $160.9 million ongoing, to help build a safer, stronger, and more inclusive society.  


The preservation, restoration, and promotion of culture and language, as well as participation in sport, are powerful tools for healing, reconciliation, and fostering a strong sense of identity. To support this work in Indigenous communities:

Health and Wellness

Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old mother of seven children, from the Atikamekw de Manawan, died at the Joliette Hospital after receiving degrading insults from two hospital staff. Joyce’s Principle aims to guarantee to all Indigenous peoples the right of equitable access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services, as well as the right to enjoy the best possible physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

The tragic death of Joyce Echaquan last summer made clear the devastating consequences of anti-Indigenous racism in our health care systems.

This builds on critical investments outlined earlier in this chapter, including $597.6 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22 for distinctions-based mental wellness supports which provide community-based, culturally relevant, and trauma-informed wellness services for families and survivors, as well as broader investments to support the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Human Security and Safety

Indigenous communities, like all communities in Canada, should be places where people and families feel safe and secure. A well-funded, culturally sensitive, and respectful police service is essential for community safety and well-being. 

This investment seeks to address the Calls for Justice, which are further supported by critical investments outlined in Chapter 9 to advance a new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, including $55 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, for the Department for Women and Gender Equality to bolster the capacity of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations to provide gender-based violence prevention programming aimed at addressing the root causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.


Building on recent actions to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system through Bill C-22, to improve Indigenous peoples’ access to justice in all areas of the justice system:

Working with Partners

At present, only three national Indigenous women’s organizations and one regional organization receive dedicated federal funding for operations. There are over 30 regional organizations that are either unfunded or receive only time-limited, project-based funding.

The proposed Budget 2021 investments build on investments made as part of the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, which announced $781.5 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22 and $106.3 million ongoing. This included:

8.4 Walking the Path to Reconciliation and Self-determination

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting self-determination and self-government as part of its efforts to forge stronger relationships with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

The federal government also recognizes that meaningful action is required to address the systemic racism many Indigenous peoples face, including in their interactions with public institutions.

Budget 2021 presents the next steps in the federal government’s plan to ensure Indigenous peoples have greater say over the policies and programs that affect their lives.

Implementation of Legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous peoples. It provides guidance on co-operative relationships with Indigenous peoples based on the principles of equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples. In December 2020, the Government introduced Bill C-15, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which was developed with Indigenous partners, fulfilling its commitment to introduce legislation to implement the Declaration as government legislation.

Escalating 10-Year Grant Funding

To help advance a new fiscal relationship with First Nations, a new 10-year grant funding mechanism was implemented in 2019. This initiative aims to provide more long-term stabilized program supports for eligible First Nations who choose to join the grant. It allows them to build capacity, do effective planning, and account for inflation and population increases on reserve. The government has also committed to escalate the 10-year grants to address price and population growth and ensure that funding keeps pace with the needs of First Nations.

Supporting Indigenous Governance and Capacity

Core governance support is essential for First Nations leaders to effectively serve their communities and advance self-determination. 

Advancing Specific Claims Settlements

The specific claims process helps right past wrongs and address First Nations’ long-standing grievances through negotiated settlements. Canada is continuing to consult in order to co-develop program reforms. To provide timely payment of negotiated settlements of specific claims, while this work continues, Budget 2021 will replenish the Specific Claims Settlement Fund in 2022-23.

Commemorating the Legacy of Residential Schools

The Residential School System is a shameful, tragic, and defining part of Canada’s history. It was born of colonial practices that left negative impacts on generations of Indigenous peoples. As part of our collective duty to remember:

This builds on investments since 2015 to commemorate the legacy of residential schools; support the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages and cultures including the passage and support for the co-developed Indigenous Languages Act; and to continue to provide healing supports for residential school survivors and their families. The government has also announced more than $700 million in new funding through a variety of programs and initiatives to help strengthen Indigenous languages and cultures, with additional proposed investments of more than $460 million in this Budget.

Support for Indigenous-led Data Strategies

Access to reliable and culturally relevant data on Indigenous peoples is critical to building a complete portrait of Indigenous lived experiences, unmasking inequalities, and ensuring delivery of effective policies and programs.

Indigenous-led data strategies can further self-determination by providing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation governments and organizations with the data they need to support their communities.

Engagement with Indigenous Peoples

The government is committed to renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples through increased engagement, partnership, and co-development of policy and programs. In Budget 2016, the government announced new investments to support the capacity of Indigenous Representative Organizations to engage with the government. To continue to support this important work:

Supporting Self-determination through Tax Agreements

Tax arrangements between the Crown and Indigenous governments support self-determination and social and economic development by creating opportunities for Indigenous governments to raise tax revenues within their reserve or settlement lands in support of community priorities.

The federal government continues to be committed to negotiating agreements with interested Indigenous governments that enable them to implement a First Nations Goods and Services Tax within their reserves or settlement lands and with interested self-governing Indigenous governments to enable them to implement a personal income tax within their lands. The federal government also remains committed to facilitating similar arrangements between interested provincial and territorial governments and Indigenous governments.

Supporting First Nations Priorities

Budget 2021 proposes significant investments for First Nations to advance initiatives across a number of priority areas. Here is a summary of those investments:

First Nations will also benefit from:

Supporting Inuit Priorities

The Government of Canada and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami continue to work together to advance shared priorities through the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee. Budget 2021 proposes to build on this work by advancing initiatives that will make a meaningful difference in Inuit communities, including:

Inuit will also benefit from:

Supporting Métis Nation Priorities

The signing of the Canada-Métis Nation Accord in April 2017 effectively reset the relationship between Canada and the Métis Nation. Budget 2021 continues progress by proposing investments in key Métis Nation priorities, including: 

Métis Nation communities will also benefit from:

Chapter 8
Strong Indigenous Communities
millions of dollars
8.1. Healthy and Vibrant Communities 0 3,123 1,467 725 512 516 6,343
Supporting Indigenous Communities in the Fight Against COVID-19
0 1,225 2 2 2 2 1,231
Improving Health Outcomes in Indigenous Communities
0 428 563 152 120 121 1,384
Distinctions-Based Mental Wellness Strategy
0 195 201 201 0 0 598
Supporting Indigenous Children and Families
0 594 140 143 144 126 1,147
Providing High-quality Education
0 270 177 227 247 267 1,188
Supporting Indigenous Post-secondary Education during COVID-19
0 102 75 0 0 0 177
On-reserve Income Assistance
0 309 309 0 0 0 618
8.2. Building Infrastructure and Economic Growth 0 1,204 1,953 1,987 763 389 6,296
Indigenous Infrastructure
0 1,024 1,918 1,942 763 389 6,037
Supporting Indigenous Economies
0 150 0 0 0 0 150
Support for Indigenous Entrepreneurs
0 15 20 31 0 0 66
Redesigning the Additions to Reserve Policy
0 14 15 14 0 0 43
8.3. Responding to the Tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 0 223 412 453 260 238 1,585
0 107 185 150 7 5 453
Health and Wellness
0 25 54 56 2 2 139
Human Security and Safety
0 64 132 208 239 217 861
0 18 30 27 0 0 75
Working with Partners
0 9 11 12 12 13 57
8.4. Walking the Path to Reconciliation and Self-determination 0 136 211 174 182 234 938
Implementation of Legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
0 15 16 0 0 0 31
Escalating 10-Year Grant Funding
0 32 60 94 134 185 505
Supporting Indigenous Governance and Capacity
0 55 92 36 36 36 256
Commemorating the Legacy of Residential Schools
0 4 2 2 2 2 13
Support for Indigenous-led Data Strategies
0 20 31 31 0 0 82
Engagement with Indigenous Peoples
0 10 10 10 10 10 50
Additional Investments – Supporting Strong Indigenous Communities 0 8 5 5 2 2 23
Parks Canada Capacity for Indigenous Engagement
0 2 2 2 2 2 11
Funding proposed for Parks Canada to support the Agency’s capacity to engage at Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussion tables. This measure will support the government’s commitment to negotiating workable arrangements with Indigenous groups to define how each group will exercise its Aboriginal rights.
Supporting the Resolution of Indigenous Childhood Claims
0 3 0 0 0 0 3
Funding proposed for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to support work to resolve historic childhood claims in a manner that is fair, compassionate, and respectful.
Supporting Indigenous Partners for Meaningful Crown Consultation and Engagement
0 3 3 3 0 0 9
Funding proposed for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to negotiate and implement Consultation Protocols. This measure will support the government’s commitment to meaningful engagement and consultation with Indigenous people on projects or changes that could impact their traditional territories and Aboriginal and treaty rights.
Chapter 8 – Sub-total 0 4,695 4,048 3,344 1,720 1,378 15,184
Less: Provisions for Anticipated Cabinet Decisions Not Yet Made Included in Previous Budgets or Updates
0 -431 -562 -364 -403 -427 -2,188
Chapter 8 - Net Fiscal Impact 0 4,263 3,486 2,980 1,317 951 12,997
Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding.

Chapter 9:
Protecting Our Shared Values

Canadians are rightly proud of our global reputation as a diverse, fair, safe, and open society.

The government will stand up for Canadians’ shared values, including: the rule of law; protection of the environment; freedom from persecution as a result of one’s race, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, age, or ability; the preservation of language and culture; the protection of the world’s most vulnerable; and the promotion of peace, security, and human rights, including the rights of women and girls.

The government is protecting communities through a firearms ban, protecting Canadians through investments in defence, and protecting and upholding our values through amendments to our justice system and public safety that make them more responsive to the needs of Canadians.

Amid the global pandemic, our global interconnectedness has never been more evident. We are all in this together.

9.1 Promoting Our Two Official Languages

For more than 50 years, the Official Languages Act has upheld the equal status of English and French. Our two official languages and our linguistic duality are part of who we are as Canadians.

The government also recognizes that Canada’s French language situation is unique and that the federal government has the responsibility to actively protect and promote the language. The government has been consulting with Canadians about how to better protect the use of the French language, support the vitality of official language minority communities—including the institutions and rights of Francophones outside of Quebec—and improve bilingualism in our public institutions. To meet the needs of Canadians for the next 50 years, the government is committed to introducing amendments to the Official Languages Act.

The government also remains committed to the work already underway to revitalize, strengthen, and maintain Indigenous languages in Canada. More details can be found in Chapter 8.

Promoting Official Languages

The federal government is committed to promoting the vitality of Canada’s official language minority communities and fostering bilingualism in Canada—now and for generations to come. In the recently released paper entitled English and French: Towards a Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada, the government proposed fundamental changes to establish a new linguistic balance and pave the way for official languages for the next 50 years. This new funding commitment will support these reforms, bolster the vitality of official language minority communities, and celebrate the voices they bring to our country’s landscape.

9.2 Keeping Canadians Safe and Improving Access to Justice

Every Canadian should feel safe in their community and everyone should receive equitable treatment under the law.

To keep Canadians safe and protect the integrity of our public institutions, the government is proposing measures that strengthen our democratic process, reduce violent crime, and make the justice system more responsive to the needs of all Canadians.

Gun Control

Firearms were used in more than 40 per cent of homicides in Canada in 2019. There were over 107,000 victims of police-reported intimate-partner violence in Canada in 2019. For 660 of them, a firearm was present. Women accounted for almost 8 in 10 victims of all incidents and they were even more likely to be the victim in the 660 incidents where a firearm was present.
According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, in a study of 6,400 firearm-related incidents in Ontario, young men in cities and predominantly lower-income were more likely to be involved in assaults. But two-thirds of the cases involved self-harm by men over the age of 45, across all income levels, and living mainly in more remote parts of the province; of those cases, 92 per cent were fatal.

Communities across Canada have seen too many tragedies as a result of firearms.

On February 16, 2021, the government introducedlegislation to amend the Criminal Code and Firearms Act to strengthen gun control in Canada, support handgun bans in our cities, and eliminate all legal use of prohibited military-assault style firearms among other measures. To continue this critical work and protect Canadians from gun violence:

Advancing a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence

The Government of Canada is committed to building a country free of gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence costs women and gender-diverse people their lives. It has profound effects on children. And according to estimates, Canadians collectively spend billions annually to deal with the aftermath.

Every 2.5 days a woman or girl is killed in Canada. In the last year alone there were over 160 women violently killed. Sexual assault is a gendered crime that is far more likely to target women, especially young women. Sadly, the rate of sexual assault is not declining, according to Statistics Canada, with police-reported sexual assaults increasing every year from 2015 to 2019.

Those at highest risk of violence are those living in rural and remote areas, Indigenous women, Black women, women with disabilities, women of colour, gender non-binary and LGBTQ2 people.

During the pandemic, job losses, financial stresses, and self-isolation have created conditions for a rise in gender-based violence—82 per cent of those who work on the front lines report an increase in the frequency and severity of violence experienced by survivors. Since March 2020, the federal government has announced up to $100 million for organizations providing emergency support and services to survivors of gender-based violence.

In 2017, the Government of Canada launched the Gender-Based Violence Strategy. Nearly $200 million starting in 2017-18 until 2022-23, and over $40 million per year ongoing, has been committed through the strategy to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and promote responsive legal and justice systems. The government has also launched a $100 million Feminist Response and Recovery Fund, creating building blocks for long-term, lasting change to advance women’s equality.

The government—in consultation with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous peoples, gender-based violence experts, stakeholders and, most importantly, survivors of gender-based violence—is moving forward on developing a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, focusing on ensuring that anyone facing gender-based violence has reliable and timely access to protection and services, no matter where they live.

Budget 2021 proposes to invest $601.3 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to advance towards a new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, as outlined below.

Gender-Based Violence Organizations

To enhance the capacity and responsiveness of organizations such as sexual assault centres, women’s shelters, and other organizations that provide critical and often life-saving services and supports for women, girls, LGBTQ2, and gender non-binary people experiencing violence:

Gender-Based Violence Program

To make our communities more resilient to the threats of gender-based violence, including initiatives that support at-risk populations and survivors—almost half of whom are between the ages of 18 and 24, with nearly three in ten survivors under the age of 18—and that educate men and boys, so that all people recognize the role they play in ending gender-based violence:

National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence Secretariat

To establish a dedicated secretariat to coordinate the ongoing work towards the development and implementation of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, and to continue engagement with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous peoples, gender-based violence experts, stakeholders and, most importantly, survivors of gender-based violence:

Increased Data Collection

To build a better foundation of data around gender-based violence upon which government can build stronger policies and take stronger action:

Indigenous Peoples

In recognition that Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are much more likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women, and that the homicide rate for this community was seven times higher than for non-Indigenous women:

Safer Relationships

To pilot interventions that promote healthy relationships and prevent violence in the home:

Crisis Hotlines

To support crisis hotlines that are experiencing a rise in call volumes during the pandemic:

Free Legal Advice

To help ensure access to free legal advice and legal representation for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, no matter where they live:

Protections for Women and Children during Divorce or Separation

Women are six times more likely to be killed by a former spouse than a spouse with whom they are living. When co-parenting during a divorce or separation, having supervised options can protect women’s safety and protect children from experiencing violence in their homes. To support supervision services for parenting time in cases of separation and divorce:

Child Exploitation

The online exploitation of children is disturbing and alarming. The government supports innovative tools to fight child sexual exploitation including the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s Project Arachnid, which is a world-leading tool to detect and remove exploitative content from the internet. But more must be done to ensure children are protected and to stop perpetrators:

Support for Newcomers

To support newcomers and refugees who experience gender-based violence:

In addition, as outlined in Chapter 6, the government is proposing to reallocate $250 million in funding which will be used for transitional housing and shelter spaces for women and children fleeing violence, as well as provide additional rental assistance through the Canada Housing Benefit for low-income women and children fleeing violence.

Additional details on the government’s National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence will be announced in the coming months.

Preventing Radicalization to Violence

In recent years, Canada and the world have witnessed an increase in radicalization that leads to violence. This poses a significant threat to public safety. To prevent violent extremism:

Better Job Protections for Parents of Young Victims of Crime

The death or disappearance of a child is devastating and can leave parents unable to work. In September 2018, the Government of Canada introduced a more inclusive and flexible Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime, to ensure victims’ families continue to get the help they need.

This benefit provides up to 104 weeks of income support to eligible applicants, who have suffered a loss of income because they took time away from work to cope with the death or disappearance of a child or children, as a result of a probable Criminal Code offence.

Diverting Youth Away from the Justice System

At present, certain groups of young people are significantly overrepresented in the youth criminal justice system. In 2018-19, 43 per cent of youth admitted to correctional services were Indigenous — over four times higher than their share of the population.

The government is committed to addressing systemic inequities in the criminal justice system. That includes at early stages, when, instead of going into custody, young people can be redirected to community-based programming that encourages rehabilitation and reduces criminal behaviour over the long-term. To address overrepresentation of certain groups and reduce youth crime and youth incarceration rates:

Expanding Access to Drug Treatment Courts

The pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of problematic substance use in Canada. The government takes a public-health centered approach to addiction. With Bill C-22, the government has proposed legislative amendments that require police and prosecutors to consider alternatives, such as diversion to addiction treatment programs, instead of laying charges or prosecuting people for simple drug possession. Drug treatment courts can break the cycle of drug addiction and criminal behaviour by helping non-violent offenders get the treatment they need. Since 2015, the federal government has provided over $25 million to support 13 drug treatment courts, which treat an average of 200 clients per day. To make our communities safer and support families struggling with addiction:

Enhancing Legal Support for Vulnerable Communities

The government is committed to building a strong justice system and ensuring fair outcomes for all involved. That is why the government is making investments to support access to legal information and advice for racialized Canadians and asylum seekers.

Supporting Work to Address Systemic Racism in Public Safety Institutions

All people in Canada should be treated fairly by our public safety agencies. Yet, systemic racism exists in Canada and racialized communities and Indigenous peoples continue to be overrepresented in the justice system and far too many Canadians do not have confidence that public safety agencies are there to protect them. This must change.

Reforming Canada’s Pardons Process

For a Canadian with a criminal record, the obstacles they face (long after serving out their sentence) can impede their ability to fully reintegrate and contribute to their community. A pardon increases access to jobs, education, stable housing, and makes communities safer by helping to end the cycle of crime. However, fees and difficult-to-navigate processes pose unnecessary barriers to pardons, particularly among marginalized groups.

Reforming the Judicial Conduct Review Process

Canada’s judicial system is built on a foundation of trust, impartiality, and respect. The judges that preside over Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial superior courtrooms should uphold these values, so it is important that when allegations of misconduct arise, investigations are conducted in an efficient, transparent, and accountable manner. To reform the judicial conduct process, while fully respecting judicial independence:

Enhancing the Capacity of Superior Courts

An accessible justice system requires efficient court processes that help Canadians obtain timely resolutions to their legal disputes. That is why the government has committed to creating new judicial positions. To help reduce court delays and enhance access to justice across Canada’s superior courts:

Maintaining Federal Court Services During COVID-19

To ensure the continued safe operation of Canada’s federal courts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Courts Administration Service has adapted and implemented necessary public health measures.

Re-establishing the Law Commission of Canada

A Law Reform Commission of Canada was first introduced in 1971 to provide independent legal advice to the Government of Canada. After being shuttered in 1992, it was re-established as the Law Commission of Canada, in 1997. Despite a track record of providing guidance on key legal questions (for example, on the matter of same-sex marriage), the commission was closed again in 2006. Independent expertise is critical if Canada’s legal system is to be responsive to the complex challenges of the day such as systemic racism in the justice system, legal issues around climate change, establishing a new relationship with Indigenous peoples, and rapid technological shifts in the world.

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Correctional Institutions

The Government of Canada has a responsibility to keep all Canadians safe from COVID-19 infection, including the inmates at federal correctional institutions, who are disproportionately Indigenous and Black, and staff. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Correctional Service of Canada has worked to limit the spread of the virus within its institutions.

Enhancing Data Collection on Cyber Security Threats

As our society becomes increasingly digital, the government must continually assess emerging cyber security threats and ensure that the government can respond and protect Canadians and Canadian businesses.

Improving How Access to Information Works for Canadians

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested approximately $35 million in incremental funds to improve Canadians’ access to information. To continually raise the bar on openness, effectiveness, and transparency in government and to provide requestors with the timely responses they deserve:

9.3. Defending Canada and Canadian Values

Canada’s 2017 defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, set out a vision for a long-term, fully-funded plan to renew and re-equip the Canadian military, built around people. Providing the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces with the training, equipment, and care they deserve is the most important objective of this policy. This investment is also central to defending Canada and promoting Canada’s values around the world.

Budget 2021 reaffirms Canada’s commitments to its allies.

The government also understands that for Canada’s military to truly renew, its culture must be one in which all members of the armed forces are safe and where sexual misconduct and abuse of power are not tolerated.

Addressing Sexual Misconduct and Gender-based Violence in the Military

The federal government has no tolerance for sexual misconduct or gender-based violence in the Canadian Armed Forces. Recently reported stories about misconduct are shining a light on the scope of the problem. The members of Canada’s military make enormous sacrifices to protect Canadians and, regardless of rank or gender, have an inalienable right to serve in safety, in a respectful and dignified work environment. Since the 2015 External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces, important progress has been made, but there remains much work to do. The government is committed to taking further action to strengthen accountability mechanisms, promote culture change in the military, and provide a safe space for survivors to report misconduct and access the services they need. In addition to the Budget 2021 measures below, the federal government will have more to annouce in the coming weeks on next steps.

These investments will be part of the government’s broader National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.

Supporting NORAD Modernization

Canada takes seriously its responsibility to defend against threats to North America, including as a member of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). Since NORAD was established in 1958, the threats facing the continent have evolved significantly — including as climate change drives a changing strategic context in the Arctic. Building on commitments in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Prime Minister and the President of the United States recently agreed to modernize NORAD and expand cooperation on continental defence and in the Arctic to keep people in both our countries safe.

These early measures will position Canada to move forward hand-in-hand with the United States on modernizing NORAD and to maintain continental defence and deterrence capabilities. It will also support jobs and businesses in Canada’s North.

Increasing Canada’s Contributions to NATO

Since its creation in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been a cornerstone of Canadian defence policy. In 2019, Canada committed to increase its contribution to the NATO Readiness Initiative, an agreement to enhance the pool of high-readiness forces and capabilities available for collective defence and crisis response. To follow through on this commitment and invest in a ready and capable collective defence force to help keep Canadians safe:

This funding demonstrates Canada’s unwavering commitment to NATO and will strengthen this country’s capacity to respond to evolving global security challenges.

Advancing the Safer Skies Initiative

Canada launched the Safer Skies Initiative after Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by Iran on January 8, 2020, killing all 176 people on board, including 138 people with ties to Canada. Since then, Canada has been at the forefront of global efforts to uncover the full truth of what happened, including by highlighting the major shortcomings of the Iranian investigation, and demanding that Iran provide answers to Canadians who lost loved ones.

While we cannot bring back the lives lost, we can do our utmost to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The goal of the Safer Skies Initiative is to prevent civil aviation tragedies like Flight 752 from ever happening again. To achieve this, the initiative will bring together like-minded countries, international associations, industry, and the International Civil Aviation Organization to develop a warning system that can keep civilian aircraft out of dangerous conflict zones when the countries responsible for those conflict zones fail to act responsibly to close their dangerous airspace. Safe and secure air travel will be more important than ever when the world emerges from the global pandemic.

To help protect Canadians and reduce civil aviation safety risks:

To pay tribute to the students, teachers, and all those victims of Flight 752 who had ties to schools across Canada, the government will establish scholarships in memory of the victims of Flight 752.

On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, claiming the lives of 157 people, including 18 Canadians and many others with ties to Canada. To honour the memory of those who died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302:

To honour all victims of air tragedies, the government has designated January 8th of every year as a National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Air Disasters.

Sustaining Health Services for the Canadian Armed Forces

To continue protecting the health and safety of the women and men who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces, especially during COVID-19:

Better Equipping Our Coast Guard and Military

Public Services and Procurement Canada manages the procurement of equipment and ships for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard. Procurement and project management volumes are increasing as Canada implements its defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.

This funding will increase defence procurement efficiency, help Canada negotiate better contracts, improve oversight, and lower costs in the long run. Ultimately, it will help ensure our women and men in uniform receive the equipment they need.

Ensuring Procurement Partners Respect Canada’s Economic Interests

In December 2017, the government announced that the evaluation of bids for the competition to replace Canada’s fighter aircraft would include an assessment of bidders’ impact on Canada’s economic interests, and that any bidder that had harmed Canada’s economic interests would be disadvantaged.

This policy will protect Canada’s economic interests and make sure the government does business with trusted partners who value doing business with Canada.

9.4 Building a Safer, Resilient, and Equitable World

The government understands that to protect people, save lives, and defeat COVID-19, global collaboration is essential and that Canada has a responsibility to take action on shared challenges. In Budget 2021, the government is making investments to support Canada’s international COVID-19 response, with a focus on addressing the health needs in developing countries (Chapter 1).

Furthermore, it is important that our global economic recovery be fair and not leave the most vulnerable countries behind. This is the surest path to a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous world. That is why Budget 2021 commits an additional $1.4B over five years in international assistance to support developing countries and vulnerable populations respond to this crisis and to meet growing humanitarian needs around the world.

The government also recognizes that climate change and biodiversity loss do not respect borders. Not only do they represent existential threats in their own right, but they are also catalysts for instability, conflict, starvation, and pandemics. That is why Canada intends to build on its ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada with an ambitious commitment to combat climate change and biodiversity loss around the world in the coming months leading up to the international COP conferences. These commitments will particularly help those already being affected by climate change to adapt, with a focus on those in low and middle income countries. This is part of Canada's contribution to ensure 2021 is a transformative year for ambitious global climate action and COP26 is a success.

Increasing International Humanitarian Assistance

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance to new highs. The United Nations estimates that 235 million people worldwide will require humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021.

This support would be used by trusted humanitarian partners to provide needs-based and gender-responsive assistance in vulnerable countries affected by protracted crises.

This funding is in addition to the $1 billion increase to Canada’s loan commitment to the International Monetary Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which provides interest-free loans to low-income countries. Additionally since May 2020, Canada has provided more than $70 million in temporary debt service relief for the poorest countries through the G20 and Paris Club agreed Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). For the final DSSI extension to the end of 2021, announced by the G20 on April 7th, Canada could provide up to an additional $33 million in relief. Canada also strongly supports the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments which will enable more comprehensive debt relief for the poorest countries.

Responding to the Rohingya Crisis

Three years after Canada became the first country in the world to recognize the attacks perpetrated against the Rohingya minority as constituting a genocide, over 860,000 refugees are living in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Bangladesh. To continue to respond to this humanitarian crisis, encourage positive political developments, ensure accountability for the crimes committed, and enhance international cooperation:

This investment is part of Canada’s ongoing efforts to address the crisis in Myanmar. Canada condemns the recent actions of the Myanmar military and State Administrative Council and stands with the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy and human rights.

Response to the Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Crisis

The political and economic situation in Venezuela has led to more than five million Venezuelans to flee their homes—and it is currently one of the world’s largest displacement crises. Canada is a key player in international efforts to find solutions to this crisis.

Extending Canada’s Middle East Strategy

Since 2016, Canada has been a major contributor to the international response to the crisis in Iraq, Syria, and neighbouring countries. Canada has worked with its allies to reduce instability in the region and counter terrorism by groups like Daesh through the NATO Mission in Iraq and Operation IMPACT.

While there has been progress, the situation remains fragile.

To continue providing development, humanitarian, and military support and advance peace and stability in the region:

Recapitalization of FinDev Canada

Private sector finance is critical to helping developing countries reduce poverty, economically empower women, and mitigate and adapt to climate change. FinDev Canada advances these objectives by supporting inclusive private sector growth and sustainability in developing countries.

Supporting Developing Economies Through the International Finance Corporation

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) supports private-sector development in developing economies. In April 2020, the World Bank Group Board of Governors, which includes Canada, provided final approval for a US$5.5 billion capital increase for the IFC.

Supporting the African Development Bank

The financial capacity of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has been eroded by the COVID-19 crisis. This bank is a core development partner of Canada that plays a critical role in economic growth and development in Africa. In May 2020, Canada committed to provide US$253.4 million over eight years, starting in 2020-21, to purchase shares in the latest general capital increase of the AfDB.

Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise

A robust and responsible global trading system generates prosperity and jobs at home and abroad. The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) reflects the government’s commitment to advance the responsible conduct by Canadian companies when doing business abroad.

Chapter 9
Protecting Our Shared Values
millions of dollars
9.1. Promoting Our Two Official Languages 0 132 160 100 0 0 392
Promoting Official Languages 0 132 160 100 0 0 392
9.2. Keeping Canadians Safe and Improving Access to Justice 0 473 397 260 248 246 1,623
Gun Control1 0 55 73 64 62 57 312
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
0 -1 0 0 0 0 -1
Advancing a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence 0 136 216 85 84 80 601
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
0 -7 -7 -7 -7 -1 -28
Preventing Radicalization to Violence 0 1 4 4 0 0 8
Diverting Youth Away from the Justice System 0 43 43 43 43 43 216
Expanding Access to Drug Treatment Courts 0 4 6 10 10 10 40
Enhancing Legal Support for Vulnerable Communities 0 31 4 4 4 4 48
Supporting Work to Address Systemic Racism in Public Safety Institutions 0 12 15 18 15 15 75
Reforming Canada's Pardons Process 0 17 19 18 19 20 92
Less: Fee Revenues
0 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -4
Reforming the Judicial Conduct Review Process 0 6 6 3 3 3 19
Enhancing the Capacity of Superior Courts 0 10 9 10 10 10 49
Maintaining Federal Court Services During COVID-19 0 4 0 0 0 0 5
Re-establishing the Law Commission of Canada 0 1 5 4 4 4 18
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Correctional Institutions 0 155 0 0 0 0 155
Enhancing Data Collection on Cyber Security Threats 0 1 1 1 1 1 4
Improving How Access to Information Works for Canadians 0 6 3 3 0 0 13
9.3. Defending Canada and Canadian Values 50 280 299 267 267 197 1,361
Addressing Sexual Misconduct and Gender-based Violence in the Military 0 64 63 37 37 35 236
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
0 -30 -30 -33 -34 -32 -159
Supporting NORAD Modernization 0 45 62 54 52 39 252
Increasing Canada's Contributions to NATO 204 320 320 326 327 334 1,831
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
-153 -153 -153 -153 -153 -217 -984
Advancing the Safer Skies Initiative 0 3 3 3 3 3 15
Sustaining Health Services for the Canadian Armed Forces 0 26 26 27 27 28 134
Better Equipping Our Coast Guard and Military 0 6 7 7 7 7 35
9.4. Building a Safer, Resilient, and Equitable World 0 880 205 43 -29 -33 1,067
Increasing International Humanitarian Assistance 0 165 0 0 0 0 165
Responding to the Rohingya Crisis 0 95 96 96 0 0 288
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
0 -27 -27 -27 0 0 -80
Response to the Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Crisis 0 39 41 0 0 0 80
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
0 -10 -10 0 0 0 -20
Extending Canada’s Middle East Strategy 0 527 0 0 0 0 527
Less: Funds Sourced From Existing Departmental Resources
0 -237 0 0 0 0 -237
Recapitalization of FinDev Canada 0 0 0 110 108 104 322
Less: Funds From the Retained Earnings of Export Development Canada 0 0 0 -100 -100 -100 -300
Supporting Developing Economies Through the International Finance Corporation 0 224 0 0 0 0 224
Supporting the African Development Bank 0 141 141 0 0 0 283
Less: Funds Previously Provisioned in the Fiscal Framework
0 -40 -40 -40 -40 -40 -202
Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise 0 3 3 3 3 3 16
Additional Investments – Protecting Our Shared Values 0 92 51 61 39 37 279
Leaders’ Debates Commission2 0 1 1 4 1 1 6
Less: Funds Previously Provisioned in the Fiscal Framework
0 0 -1 -5 0 0 -6
Realignment of funds proposed for the Leaders’ Debates Commission to ensure a base level of funding and readiness in a minority government context. This would ensure the Commission is ready and prepared to support leadership debates during the next election.
Enhancing IM/IT Systems to Support Transparent Lobbying 0 1 1 1 1 1 4
Funding proposed for the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada to improve the resilience and capabilities of the office’s information management/information technology systems used to ensure transparent lobbying in Canada.
Supporting Parole Board of Canada Operations 0 1 2 2 2 2 8
Funding proposed for the Parole Board of Canada to ensure it can deliver its mandate to make fair and informed conditional release and record suspension decisions for offenders.
Modernizing the Department of National Defence’s Information Systems 0 89 48 60 36 34 267
Funding proposed for the Department of National Defence to upgrade the critical information systems it relies on to manage its assets, finances, and human resources. These projects will improve administrative efficiency and departmental planning, reducing costs and ensuring the Canadian Armed Forces have access to the equipment they need when and where it is required.
Chapter 9 - Net Fiscal Impact 50 1,857 1,112 731 525 447 4,722
1 Announced in February 2021.
2 Timing of estimated costs is notional and would depend on timing of federal election.
Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding

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