The Government of Canada recognizes Indigenous peoples’ inherent right to self-determination and supports the inherent right of First Nations, Inuit and Métis to independently deliver their own services to address the unique needs of their communities.
Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, and Chief Matthew T. Peigan of the First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan (FNCIAS) announced the signing of an historic Framework Agreement. This Framework Agreement sets a path for the Agency to independently deliver housing, capital and infrastructure services to any participating First Nation on reserve in Saskatchewan.
The Framework Agreement outlines the negotiation process, guiding principles and the roles and responsibilities for all parties involved in the transfer of the control, delivery and management of First Nations housing, capital and infrastructure services in Saskatchewan.
First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan is a First Nations-led organization modeled on the results of its engagements with First Nations communities, leadership and Tribal Councils in Saskatchewan. On June 10, 2020, it incorporated to become a stand-alone service delivery organization.
First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan is working closely with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) to address legislative requirements as per the FSIN Convention Act. In addition, FNCIAS is working closely with First Nations and Tribal Councils throughout the interim operations stage to help shape the Agency’s business model and service delivery approach.
First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan will present their full business plan, strategic plan, and organizational and governance model to First Nations and Tribal Councils in Saskatchewan prior to the proposed transition from the Government of Canada.
Once the transfer is complete, FNCIAS will assume responsibility and management for the design, provision and delivery of the infrastructure programs and services currently under the responsibility of Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) for First Nations member communities and Tribal Councils in Saskatchewan. For First Nations that choose not to join the Agency, ISC will continue to deliver housing and infrastructure services.
This Framework Agreement advances a new First Nations-led service delivery model and represents an important step towards self-determination and greater control for First Nations over services in their communities.
“Decisions around infrastructure service delivery are a crucial element of self-determination. My department is dedicated to the future transfer of authority to First Nations to address their own unique community infrastructure needs. With this Framework Agreement, Canada and the First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan are moving forward together to help build a future where control of First Nations’ essential services is rightly placed into their own hands.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
“The creation of the FNCIAS provides First Nations with an alternative and a unique new way in assisting First Nations with the delivery of Band Based Capital and Major Capital Projects. It’s about thinking outside the box on a way to provide added funds for First Nations to fulfill their Capital Projects.”
Chief Matthew T. Peigan, Pasqua First Nation
Chair, First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan
“This FNCIAS initiative provides a wider scope of control and certainty around Capital and Infrastructure requirements that First Nations need in order to address the critical issues surrounding housing and infrastructure programs that have direct impact on the wellbeing and health of First Nations members. It provides the opportunity to revitalize the Capital and Infrastructure programs, which have long been stagnant and not meeting the needs of an ever-growing population and community, and addresses not only the backlog in housing but other much needed infrastructure projects.”
Chief Clarence Bellegarde, Little Black Bear First Nation
Vice-Chair, First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan
“This is helping to fulfill our Inherent and Treaty Right to Shelter and Self-Determination. Our First Nations must have greater care and control of housing and infrastructure. It is our destiny to no longer have policies that hinder the growth of our nations and people. The time has come where we have the opportunity to develop policies by our people, for our people. We want to ensure all stakeholders have opportunities to grow and prosper.”
Vice Chief Heather Bear
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations
First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan (FNCIAS) continues to engage with First Nations communities and organizations in Saskatchewan to ensure their experience, expertise and best practices are integrated into FNCIAS’s service model.
Indigenous Services Canada is committing $4 million this year to stand up FNCIAS. Following a Final Transfer Agreement, ISC will work with the Agency to develop a funding agreement that provides sufficient and predictable funding over a minimum of 10 years. This will provide sufficient, long-term sustainable funding to ensure FNCIAS is able to work with communities and Tribal Councils in the delivery of infrastructure programs and services.
Little Black Bear First Nation was the first community to apply to be a member of FNCIAS in November 2020
First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan will work with all Saskatchewan First Nations and Tribal Councils during its interim operations phase.