So what social programs for the benefit of First Nations people are funded by the First Nations Trust Fund?
Income Assistance Program
There’s the Income Assistance program to assist eligible individuals and families meet the basic necessities like rent, utilities, and food. That’s paid for from the First Nations Trust Fund.
There’s a program just like it in every province to assist eligible non-Native individuals and families, paid for by taxpayers. In Ontario, it’s referred to as Ontario Works.
National Child Benefit Reinvestment
The National Child Benefit Reinvestment is one component of the larger National Child Benefit initiative. The National Child Benefit has two components.
The first component is a financial benefits component and it goes directly to individuals who qualify. That’s paid for from the First Nations Trust Fund.
There’s something just like it, paid for by taxpayers, that’s available to non-Native individuals who qualify. It’s referred to as the Canada Child Tax Benefit.
There’s also a reinvestment component called the National Child Benefit Reinvestment it provides community-based supports and services for children in low-income families in provinces/territories that choose to operate this initiative. That’s paid for from the First Nations Trust Fund.
Guess what? Non-native individuals and families have similar funding from the government, paid for by taxpayers, in various provinces that choose to operate a similar initiative.
What’s more, in Ontario, non-Native individuals and families that qualify, are entitled to payments from the Ontario Trillium Benefit and the Ontario Child Benefit. Don’t forget the Universal Child Care Benefit and the Working Income Tax Benefit along with the GST/HST Credit … all of them paid for by taxpayers.
Assisted Living Program
If qualifying First Nations peoples need funding to assist in non-medical, social support services for seniors, adults with chronic illness, and children and adults with disabilities (mental and physical) which will enable them to maintain functional independence and achieve greater self-reliance, there’s the Assisted Living Program. That’s paid for from the First Nations Trust Fund.
Qualifying non-native people in similar situations have similar funding from the government. In Ontario, it’s known as the Special Services At Home (SSAH) program for adults, and Special Services At Home (SSAH) coupled with Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) for children. There’s also the Canadian Disability Credit for qualifying non-native people. Those programs, are also paid for by taxpayers.
Child and Family Services Program
The First Nation Child and Family Services program ensures the safety and well-being of First Nation children on reserve by “supporting culturally appropriate prevention and protection services for First Nation children and families.” That’s paid for from the First Nations Trust Fund.
And off-reserve, non-native families have similar funding from the government, paid for by taxpayers, that provides similar services. In Ontario it’s known as the Children’s Aid Society for children, with various other programs in place to deal with violence and to provide prevention and protection services.
Family Violence Prevention Program
The Family Violence Prevention Program assists First Nations in providing access to family violence shelter services and prevention activities to women, children and families ordinarily resident on-reserve. There are two components to the program: operational funding for shelters; and proposal-based prevention projects. That’s paid for from the First Nations Trust Fund.
Non-native initiatives like this exist, funded by the government, too. And paid for by taxpayers.
Final Note On These Programs
It’s important to underscore the fact that the programs identified in this blog article that benefit First Nations people, are paid for out of the moneys in the First Nations Trust Fund.
A trust is a way to hold property that lets Trustees manage the money so it benefits a defined beneficiary. The defined beneficiary in this instance are the First Nations people living on reserve.
It’s also important to underscore the fact that the programs identified in this blog article that benefit non-Native people, are paid for by the taxpayer.
Similar programs. Different funding sources.
It’s time to stop mixing these two separate, yet similar, issues up when discussing what First Nations people receive, who pays for it, and why First Nations people are entitled to receive those services and supports.