The AFN through the Chiefs Committee on Economic Development (CCED) includes focus on First Nations connectivity and continues to advocate for increased access and support for sustainable and efficient First Nations Information Communications Technology (ICT). Resolutions 11/2006, 16/2008 and 53/2011 provide direction to advocate for appropriate program, services and investments in First Nations ICT.
ICT is a broad term that includes internet connectivity and related technologies, such as the main pipe into the communities (POP or point of presence); network hardware; computers; and software. Training and developing a skilled workforce; the collection of data; access to information; and information management are also essential elements of ICT.
The AFN promotes the concept of a First Nations e-Community and e-Community strategy as the basis of planning to help promote connectivity infrastructure, capacity and management broadly amongst First Nations communities. The First Nations e-Community is a critical segment for community development, which focuses on using information technology and information management to support all aspects of community. These aspects include: health, education, justice, governance, land stewardship, environmental protection, emergency management, social and economic development, and culture.
Current policy activity includes updating data on the status of First Nations connectivity and a greater focus on the human resource requirements to support the development of the First Nations e-Community. The AFN is seeking out opportunities to obtain feedback from First Nations rural and remote internet service providers related to upcoming Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearings, The AFN is also working in collaboration with Google to share information on Google initiatives and digital resources that may be of interest to First Nations communities.
The AFN continues to seek opportunities to provide First Nations input into programs being developed for recently announced broadband funding. The 2014 federal budget announced a $305 million initiative over five years in order to extend and enhance broadband internet service for Canadians in rural and Northern communities. The AFN continues to advocate for program funding criteria that includes specific consideration of the needs of First Nations communities.
Recent activities have also included advocacy efforts related to inclusion of First Nations specific considerations in the Digital Economy Strategy for Canada and monitoring potential next steps.
For more information on the First Nations e-Community portfolio, please contact:
Policy Analyst/Special Projects Coordinator
Safe, Secure and Sustainable Communities
Assembly of First Nations
55 Metcalfe Street, Suite 1600
Many First Nations service providers and organizations have initiatives underway to support and promote the ICT priorities of First Nations communities. More information on these initiatives can be found by contacting:
First Nations Technology Council (BC) – www.fntc.info
First Nations Health Council (BC) – www.fnhc.ca
First Nations (Alberta) Technical Advisory Group – www.tsag.net
Keewatin Career Development Corporation – www.kcdc.ca
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs – www.manitobachiefs.com
Chiefs of Ontario – www.chiefs-of-ontario.org
Keewaytinook Okimakanak – www.knet.ca
First Nations Education Council (Quebec) – www.cepn-fnec.com
Grand Council of the Crees – www.gcc.ca
Atlantic First Nations Helpdesk – www.firstnationhelp.com