April 23, 2021
(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.)
The provincial government tabled its 2021 Budget on April 20th, under the title, “A Stronger BC, For Everyone,” with key investments addressing the immediate and long-term impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some historic investments are planned, including a new Strategic Investment Fund, InBC, $500 million in funding towards mental health and addictions services, targeted investments to address the ongoing opioid crisis, and $45 million to respond to the recommendations of the In Plain Sight report on systemic anti-Indigenous racism in the healthcare system.
While Budget 2021 rightly focuses primarily on pandemic response and recovery, it unfortunately lacks significant, new First Nations financial commitments, including funding geared towards the implementation of the MMIWG Action Plan and Calls for Justice; overall advancement in the Indigenous justice sector; cannabis strategy and legalization; wild salmon conservation and aquaculture; emergency management and reform of the Emergency Program Act (EPA); and forestry reform, including old growth management.