A vice-chief with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations says he is not surprised by a new report from the parliamentary budget officer that says on-reserve schools in B.C. are underfunded by as much as 50%.
Bobby Cameron says the FSIN has been stating for years children attending First Nations schools in Saskatchewan are chronically underfunded when compared to their provincial peers.
He says the new report out of Ottawa only further vindicates this position.
“Until these changes to meet today’s inflation rates, to meet the needs of the population growth in terms of our First Nations communities and people, nothing is going to change until the dollars add up to what our specific needs are at our community levels,” he says.
Cameron adds he was shocked to read in the report of First Nations children having to attend schools where they were forced to wear toques and mittens because of a lack of heat in winter.
He says he hopes this serves as a wake up call to the federal government that it needs to address the problem now.
The report also says there is an annual funding gap of $13 million in capital infrastructure investment in on-reserve schools in B.C.
In an e-mailed statement to a request for an interview by MBC on the parliamentary budget officer’s report, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada responded, “In Economic Action Plan 2012, our Government made significant investments to build new and renovate First Nations schools across Canada.”