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KO to lose two-thirds of AANDC funding

Thursday November 22, 2012

Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) is looking at the loss of about two-thirds of its tribal council funding due to changes to the federal government’s tribal council funding formula, announced on Sept. 4.

“We receive about $700,000 from Indian Affairs (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) on an annual basis,” said Geordi Kakepetum, KO’s executive director. “With this new formula coming up, we’ll only get $250,000, so it will have some significant impacts on our operation.”

Kakepetum said the letter they received from the federal government did not contain many details other than on advisory positions, but KO provides many more services than just advisory services.

“We sent a letter to the minister asking clarification on a lot of points that were on the letter,” Kakepetum said. “(The funding cuts) will have impacts on our organization, but I am not sure whether it will have a major impact.”

Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit said the AANDC funding cuts would have a major impact on how tribal councils deliver services to First Nation communities.

“It’s a major cutback in providing services to First Nations,” Louttit said. “That will definitely have a major impact on the delivery to First Nations, and especially the capacity of the tribal councils to deliver that service on behalf of the First Nations.”

Louttit said the cutbacks would lead to First Nations having to leverage more funds from the government or private sector to provide the technical services that the tribal councils have been providing.

In the Sept. 4 announcement, AANDC stated the changes involve either reducing the core funding of all regional and national Aboriginal organizations by 10 percent, or implementing a $500,000 ceiling on their funding.

Tribal council funding will now fall under a three-tiered system, based on the populations served by the tribal council and the number of First Nations within the council.

Tier one tribal councils, serving two to five member First Nations with an on-reserve population of less than 2,000 people, will receive $200,000 per year. The largest tribal councils will receive $500,000 per year for operations.

Band advisory services in the areas of economic development, financial management, community planning, technical services and band governance, currently performed by tribal councils, will be eliminated in 2014-2015.

Shortly after the cuts were announced, Shibogama First Nations Council executive director Margaret Kenequanash asked if the federal government would be increasing advisory service funding to the communities.

AANDC Minister John Duncan said the ministry will be shifting the focus of funding for tribal councils and band advisory services away from the requirement to deliver specific advisory services, in order to ensure that resources are directed toward the more efficient and effective delivery of essential programs and services.

Kenequanash said if the communities have to use consultants to provide advisory services, it will be “very costly.”

Duncan said tribal councils will no longer be required to deliver the five specific advisory services required under the existing funding formula, but tribal councils may continue to provide advisory services if mandated by their members, provided that the requirements of the program have been satisfied.

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