Report Slams INAC’s Funding For School Buildings
Monday, May 25, 2009 at 16:41
An independent report sharply criticizes Indian Affairs’ handling of funds for school construction on First Nations reserves across Canada.
The Parliamentary Budget Office, an independent office set up by order of Parliament last year, released its findings this morning.
The report says that INAC has no proper method for deciding how and where money is allocated for on-reserve school construction and repairs. This makes it difficult for INAC officials to determine which schools need work.
The cost of replacing an old school is often underestimated. Right now, the budget for school construction is short by approximately $170 million.
As well, INAC is able to easily move money out of this budget and spend it in other areas, without parliament approval. $122 million was transferred out of the capital budget between 2003 and 2008.
The rate of population growth in a First Nations community should be a key factor in determining when, where and how large new schools should be built, the report authors say.
Only eight schools have been built since 2006, and less than half of the schools in Canada are listed in “good” condition. The report estimates that all of Canada’s 803 First Nations schools will need to be replaced in the next 20 years.