Thank you for having me back.
I think we would like to begin by acknowledging that we come together on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people and that we're here to discuss the 2018-19 supplementary estimates (B) as well as the 2019-20 interim estimates for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.
Specifically, I will discuss the aspects of the estimates that pertain to my work as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
I am joined by Alex Lakroni, Chief Finance, Results and Delivery Officer.
Also with me are Diane Lafleur, the Associate Deputy Minister, and Joe Wild, the senior ADM for Treaties and Aboriginal Government. I think you will come to know that Joe's work has been very helpful in getting us as far as we are in helping get people out from under the Indian Act.
As you know, our government is taking concrete steps to renew the nation-to-nation, Inuit-to-Crown and government-to-government relationships between Canada and first nations, Inuit and Métis and to accelerate self-determination.
In support of these fundamental goals, our department's 2018-19 supplementary estimates (B) present initiatives totalling $174.9 million, which includes $112.8 million in new funding and $62.1 million in net transfers with other government organizations. This brings the total appropriations for CIRNAC in 2018-19 to $5.1 billion.
Roughly half of that new funding of $57 million reflects our commitment to resolving disputes outside of court whenever possible. As we've discussed here at this committee many times, our government strongly believes that negotiating settlements focused on healing and closure outside the adversarial court process is the most responsible way to resolve past wrongs and paves the way for a more respectful and constructive relationship with indigenous communities going forward.
I think it's important to reinforce that our work to support first nations, Inuit and Métis communities to implement their visions of self-determination is intrinsically linked to unlocking untapped prosperity and closing long-standing socio-economic gaps.
An excellent example of this is the new funding in the estimates of $48.4 million for the Métis Nation Housing Strategy and the Métis National Heritage Centre.
We have been working in partnership with the Métis Nation to identify in advance shared priorities, including affordable housing. Through annual meetings between the Métis Nation, the Prime Minister and key federal ministers, we have codeveloped the Métis national housing strategy.
In July we had the honour of representing Canada in signing the Canada-Métis Nation housing sub-accord with the president of the Métis National Council and the presidents of its governing members.
The housing sub-accord is funded from budget 2018 with $500 million over 10 years and reflects a shared commitment to narrow the housing gap between Métis Nation citizens and non-indigenous Canadians, and does so in a way that respects and supports the Métis Nation's right to self-determination.
Funding also supports the construction of a Métis national heritage centre in historic Upper Fort Garry, Winnipeg, by 2020.
The centre will showcase the history of the Métis nation and the significant contributions of the Métis people to the development of Canada.
Right now, no such Métis heritage facility exists in Canada, and this initiative will support the Métis Nation's management of its own culture, art and history.
Supplementary estimates (B) also include funding for first nations fiscal institutions to hire additional staff and open regional offices in Winnipeg, Halifax and Ottawa. This will allow the fiscal institutions to support more first nations to exercise jurisdiction over financial management and proper taxation and will provide better access to affordable financing for infrastructure projects.
Funding is also included for the renewal of the Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq education agreement, which provides for continued first nations self-governance over education programs and services and an inclusive and quality education for first nations students in that province.
I think at this table before, I have mentioned this huge success. It was 20 years ago that the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia decided to take over their education system. At that time, their secondary school graduation rate was 30%. Today, the Mi'kmaq education system in Nova Scotia has a secondary school graduation rate of 90%. That is higher than most of the non-indigenous population in Canada.
The evidence is clear: First Nations-led and First Nations-governed education systems, achieve better results for First Nations students.
For 2019-20, the department's interim estimates are $2.2 billion. This will provide sufficient funding in the beginning of the fiscal year to deliver regular programs and additional requirements specifically for out-of-court settlements, early settlements of specific claims and self-government agreements.
Our government has been working with first nations to resolve historic grievances through the specific claims process and has done so at twice the rate of any previous government in Canada. There are 475 specific claims that have been resolved through negotiated settlement agreements since 1973, with a total compensation value of over $5.6 billion. Sixty-seven of these specific claims agreements have been reached since November 2015, with a total compensation value of over $1.6 billion.
Payments of claims and tribunal awards up to $150 million come from the specific claims settlement fund. Anticipated funding is allocated in advance to ensure prompt payments.
We are forecasting that funding will be required during the first quarter of 2019-20 for settlements, including the Mohawks of Akwesasne's Dundee claim. As I noted earlier, the best way to support the success of indigenous communities is to accelerate self-determination and ensure that communities have the tools they need to implement their vision of what that means.
An exciting new way that we are supporting indigenous people in realizing their vision of self-determination is through the recognition of indigenous rights and self-determination discussion tables. I'm very pleased to say today that now there are over 77 tables, with 380 communities and involving more than 800 000 indigenous people. When there are 634 Indian Act bands in this country, to have 380 communities at tables is I think a huge success and is an example of us accelerating the path to self-determination.
We are also implementing 25 modern treaties, 18 of which include provisions for self-government and/or accompanying self-government agreements, four stand-alone self-government agreements and two sectoral agreements in education.
Stable funding of self-government agreements is fundamental to nation-to-nation, government-to-government and Inuit-to-Crown partnerships. Most of the funding for self-government agreements is paid during the first quarter of the fiscal year. In fact, some agreements flow 100% of the funding in April.
In addition, Canada has the obligation to provide stable funding to implement its obligations under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, including Inuit housing. These agreements require their majority or full annual payment during the first quarter of the fiscal year.
I look forward to discussing the supplementary estimates (B) and the interim estimates with you, and welcome your questions.