Grand Chief Ed John, a former minister of children and family development, is an executive member of the B.C. First Nations Summit. (Black Press files)

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

The B.C. government is following through with its commitment to share B.C. Lottery Corp. revenue with Indigenous communities, starting with $100 million a year over the next three years.

Finance Minister Carole James announced the program in the province’s budget Tuesday, describing it as a 25-year commitment worth $3 billion.

Each of B.C.’s more than 200 Indigenous communities will be eligible for grants between $250,000 and $2 million each year, to put towards housing, infrastructure, training, environmental protection, economic development and other uses as the local government chooses.

The province is also increasing its support payments to Indigenous caregivers by 75 per cent, under the extended family program that was recommended by Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit. The program is designed to keep children with relatives rather than foster care and adoption outside their communities and culture.

“Every additional dollar into B.C. First Nations communities, including gaming funds, will directly correlate to better living conditions and an improved quality of life,” said Robert Phillips, a member of the First Nations Summit political executive.


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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