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Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare Issues Statement Regarding the Release of Ontario’s 2024 Budget

Press Release

March 28, 2024

The 2024 Ontario budget was tabled this week at Queen’s Park. While there are some important initiatives that may positively impact First Nations, it’s hard to understand why the government is investing millions into policing while at the same time removing First Nations from the new policing legislation,” said Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare.

“Neither the Solicitor General nor the Attorney General could even be bothered to meet with us. It’s a slap in the face and clearly illustrates the two-tiered justice system in this province.”

On April 1, legislation that specifically excludes First Nations laws from mandatory policing functions in Ontario comes into force. The Community Safety and Policing Act has been met with fierce criticism from First Nations Leadership and First Nations police forces. At the same time, the budget proposes nearly $100 million dollars to address violent crime in the GTA and auto theft across the province.

“It’s a dangerous precedent and this week’s budget reinforces the feeling that law, order and safety in First Nations do not matter to this government,” Ontario Regional Chief Hare said.

Among the budget’s highlights are additional investments of $152 million over three years to expand access to supportive housing in Ontario. Announced last year, the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program aims to support those dealing with mental health and addictions challenges and precarious housing.

“It’s heartbreaking that homelessness and unsafe housing are both issues that deeply impact First Nations people in Ontario. These further investments give me hope that the provincial government is committed to ending these parallel crises,” Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare said.

As in previous provincial budgets tabled by this government, a great deal of focus is on economic development across the province, with particular emphasis on development in the North.

The budget also details a commitment to enhance “the health and well-being of Indigenous and Northern communities” through investments in several programs worth about $94 million over three years, according to the budget. The bulk of this funding, $60 million, will go to mental health and addictions services. Another $34 million is earmarked to support public health such as vaccination programs; early detection of complications related to diabetes; and prevention efforts targeting diabetes, chronic diseases and smoking for Indigenous communities.

“I’m happy to see that the government is paying attention to some of the issues First Nations Leadership have long been advocating. There is a dire need to increase mental health and addictions supports in First Nations communities,” Ontario Regional Chief Hare said. “This funding will directly benefit some of those who have suffered the most from decades’ of chronic underfunding.”

The Ontario government’s 2024 budget also proposes to the following investments:

  • $24 million over three years to expand the Indigenous Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program across 160 delivery sites. The community-based program is a tries to give families and children a healthy start to life.
  • $10.9 million to improve internet access for First Nations and rural communities across Northern Ontario.
  • $7.3 million to funding eight training projects that will support Indigenous workers across Northern Ontario.
  • $11 million over three years to support safer births in Northern Ontario. This funding is aimed at improving maternal and newborn health outcomes by providing mothers in Northern Indigenous communities with vital birthing supports, including more doulas, second attendants or birth helpers.
  • $15 million for the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund, which is supposed to assist with the research, development and commercialization of mining technology.
  • $20 million to expand the Forest Biomass Program, which supports projects that harvest from Crown forests. Included in this program is the Indigenous Bioeconomy Partnerships Stream.

There are also billions in investments towards education, affordability and infrastructure. And while the budget mentions that “Indigenous” groups are among the beneficiaries, it is not clear how much —if any — is for First Nations.

“We are advocating for First Nations-specific set asides for this funding because we shouldn’t have to compete with municipalities or other entities,” said Ontario Regional Chief Hare. “As the first peoples of this land, we shouldn’t be the last in line for our fair share.”

Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare (Gwiingos)


The Chiefs of Ontario support all First Nations in Ontario as they assert their sovereignty, jurisdiction and their chosen expression of nationhood. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @ChiefsOfOntario.

Media Contact:
Christopher Hoyos
Director of Policy and Communications
Policy and Communications Sector
Chiefs of Ontario
Telephone: (416) 579 4998


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