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Ontario First Nations group says federal back to school funding is too late for remote communities

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.
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. Don Mitchell / Global News

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.

Read more: Ontario First Nations group says feds refusing to provide aid for safe school reopening plan

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.

Read more: Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief calls for investigation into systemic racism in the RCMP

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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.