A one time provincial grant of $74 million is being made available to First Nations governments who saw a loss from shared gaming revenue due to the pandemic.
Revenue for 2020-21 is roughly 80% lower than anticipated, and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation said this grant will help meet community needs like social services, education, infrastructure, cultural revitalization and economic development.
“Through this grant, we are keeping our promise to support First Nations in delivering on the priorities and services they have identified, such as new housing, community youth centres, wildfire protection and important language programs,” said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin.
“The gaming commission is pleased to have worked with the Province to deliver this important relief to First Nations communities from COVID-related impacts on their share of gaming revenues. This grant will ensure that communities can continue to plan and implement their priorities for the coming year and beyond,” said co-chair for the BC First Nations Gaming Commission Kathryn Teneese.
Regional Chief for the BC Assembly of First Nations Terry Teegee said that this funding is vital, and will help support economic growth and recovery.
“First Nations have been hit the hardest by the socioeconomic consequences, and it is critical that they be able to design their own recovery policies and address their specific needs. Providing these resources will enable First Nations’ participation in the Province’s ‘build back better’ priority on their own terms.”
An agreement lasting until 2044-45 with the province is seeing 7% of annual net provincial gaming revenues be shared with First Nations communities.
From 2019 to 2021, 7% of the BC Lottery Corporation was almost $123 million.