NAN say federal back-to-school funding comes too late for remote communities

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Classroom with Desks

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — An Ontario First Nations group is criticizing the federal government’s back-to-school funding plan, saying the money comes too late to make meaningful change in their remote communities.

On Wednesday, Ottawa announced $2 billion in funding that will go to provinces and territories, who will decide how the money is allocated.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 Ontario First Nations, says there was little engagement between the government and community leaders leading up to the announcement.

Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox says he’s disappointed the plan doesn’t provide details on specific resources, timelines, how to access the funding or how it will be allocated.

He says it’ll take longer for remote communities to prepare, and leaders are scrambling to ensure the entire school year isn’t jeopardized for some students.

Earlier this week, the NAN called on Ottawa to help acquire personal protective equipment and sanitization supplies for its nearly 9,000 elementary and secondary school students.