Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), infrastructure investments are a key element of the government's commitment to foster the growth of safe, healthy and prosperous indigenous communities and support indigenous economic participation. Infrastructure needs of first nations communities are always evolving, whether due to changing population and demographics, adapting to climate change, or changes in technology. ISC is committed to working with first nations partners to determine the scope and scale of the infrastructure gap, and identify ways to close this gap, based on first nations needs and priorities.
In 2022, on-reserve first nations communities were asked to identify and prioritize their housing and infrastructure needs in comprehensive fashion though a community infrastructure needs engagement. In British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority was engaged on health-related infrastructure assets. A total of 405 communities, representing 72% of on-reserve first nations communities across Canada, provided these surveys to ISC, as of April 24, 2023. ISC has committed to provide additional capacity support in 2023 to the Chiefs of Ontario, to work directly with Ontario first nations that have not yet provided input to this survey. As such, ISC cannot yet provide a final report on this exercise; however, it expects that a comprehensive estimate of the first nations infrastructure gap will be available in 2023.
In 2023-24, in order to better respond to fire suppression needs and to measure progress, ISC began collecting annual data from first nations communities on fire incidents, what type, or types, of fire suppression services are available in the community, and what education and prevention programs are being delivered.
Through its departmental results framework, ISC has identified a number of indicators to measure progress made to close infrastructure gaps in first nations. For example, in 2023-24, the departmental result “Indigenous communities have sustainable land management and infrastructure” will be measured, in part, by the following indicators: percentage of first nations housing that is adequate as assessed and reported by first nations; percentage of on-reserve public water systems financially supported by ISC that have low risk ratings; percentage of on-reserve public wastewater systems financially supported by ISC that have low risk ratings; percentage of on-reserve ISC funded other community infrastructure assets with a condition rating of "good" or "new"; percentage of on-reserve education facilities with a condition rating of "good" or "new"; and percentage of on-reserve health facilities with a condition rating of "good" or "new".
ISC will report publicly on progress made against these indicators in its Departmental Results Report.
The department is also exploring alternative approaches to reform how it funds and delivers infrastructure programming, to provide first nations with a more fulsome suite of financing options, comparable to non-indigenous communities, to better support first nations in prioritizing, building and maintaining infrastructure assets in their communities. To that end, the department continues to engage with first nations communities to seek their views, including on results reporting.
With regard to part (b), as noted in part (a), ISC continues to work with first nations to determine the scope and scale of the infrastructure gap, and therefore, reporting against it is not yet feasible. While more work needs to be done, since 2016 and as of December 31, 2022, $8.49 billion, excluding operating expenses, of ISC targeted infrastructure funding for first nations on reserve has been invested toward 8,206 projects, and 4,996 of them are complete. A further $8.43 billion will be invested before 2031-32.
With regard to part (c), closing the infrastructure gap on reserve is a whole-of-government commitment. Once the initial needs-based infrastructure and housing surveys are completed, ISC will continue to work directly with first nations and other federal organizations that invest in first nations infrastructure, e.g., Infrastructure Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, to identify what further measures and investments may be required to close the infrastructure gap by 2030.