British Columbia Government issued its 2019 budget for the province and extensive information on it is now available for anyone interested in the details around it. There are many improvements coming with the new budget, among them, being the First Nations support that has been anticipated for quite a while now. British Columbia Lottery Corporation revenue is going to be shared with the First Nations and the first phase of allocations amounts to CA$300 million over the next three years, CA$3 billion over the next 25 years.
The arrangement has been anticipated and Indigenous tribes across the province were willing to see it come true, as it is projected to give them the needed financial boost for a wide variety of projects within their communities. The British Columbia government made a promise First Nations would receive regular allocations generated by lottery operation across the province and the entire arrangement was detailed in the budget for the following months.
First Nations Celebrate Decision
Finance Minister Carole James had the important task to introduce the budget for this year in Victoria, where he gave a detailed explanation and run through everything new it has on offer. Over the span of the following 25 years, First Nations would receive some CA$3 billion from British Columbia Lottery Corporation. This new agreement promises continuous support of the First Nations across British Columbia with allocations on an annual basis.
Every year, the lottery corporation would send each and every community financial support starting from CA$500,000. Some of them could receive up to CA$2 million per year, an amount that could be used for beautification works around the First Nation area or other projects in need of a financial boost. The said amounts of cash would be generated via the regular operation of the lottery corporation enjoyed by people of all ages.
Up until this point, the said 7-percent portion of the gaming revenue used to be sent to the general revenue and later on invested in other projects across the province. The overall number of Indigenous communities across British Columbia reaches 203, meaning that all of them would receive the allocations they are worthy of. As a result, infrastructure and environment projects are expected to see an improvement.
BC Budget: $3 billion over 25 years for First Nations in BC from Gaming Revenue.
— Khelsilem (@Khelsilem) February 19, 2019
Allocations of CA$500,000 to CA$2 Million per Year
This new arrangement is something First Nations has been looking forward to for many years now. Grand Chief Joe Hall, a former chair of the B.C. First Nations Gaming Commission, stated that for the longest time not enough funds has slowed down the process of development for Indigenous communities. British Columbia has been part of the conversation throughout the years as Nations sought to guarantee their development continues at a steady pace.
The Liberal government found it hard to agree with the proposed conditions. Now the NDP government is seeking to introduce a change. The First Nations Gaming Commission is going to facilitate the process of funding management and distribution via a limited partnership. The step marks a pivotal point of British Columbia’s development, as it follows the example of other provinces supporting their First Nations with regular gambling allocations.
#bcbudget19 announced gaming revenue sharing of $3 billion over 25 years. Or 7% of gross revenues. For 203 #FirstNations. Over 39 years of fighting for this. I was part of the team for 13 years in various capacities-Only prov in Canada that didn’t share. Now they do. #happyday
— Judith Sayers (@kekinusuqs) February 20, 2019
Judith Sayers, President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, pointed out that Indigenous tribes have been fighting for this for nearly 40 years and 2019 would see the historical move, at last, bringing joy to the communities.