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Feds could look to private sector to help close First Nations infrastructure gap

Feds could look to private sector to help close First Nations infrastructure gap
From CBC - April 13, 2018

The federal government is considering ways to involve the private and not-for-profit sectors in its efforts to address the massive infrastructure gap on First Nations reserves.

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott announced plans for a First Nations housing and infrastructure challenge fund on Friday, speaking at an event in Toronto organized by the Economic Club of Canada.

With the federal governmentset to invest $186 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years, Philpott said, many would argue that spending is neededmost urgently in Indigenous communities.

First Nations reserves alone facean infrastructure gap with a price tagof around $30 billion, according to estimates from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

"We cannot do this alone," Philpott said. "The gap is too big and we certainly ca not address this gap by doing business as usual."

New financing, procurement and design modelsare all needed to build and maintain some 80,000 housing units on reserve, Philpott said.

As a result, the Department of Indigenous Services is working with Indigenous partners to develop a fund that would provide seed funding for innovative projects.

Community-led infrastructure projects

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