Federal government expands COVID support funding for Indigenous Peoples

by Jake Cardinal

(ANNews) – On August 12, 2020 Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, announced an additional $305 million to support Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Indigenous Community Support Fund.

“Health and safety remains our priority and we will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations to support a strong and comprehensive pandemic response,” said Miller. “This funding offers further concrete support for on-the-ground community solutions that respond to the unique needs and circumstances of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis wherever they reside.”

The Indigenous Community Support Fund was first announced on March 18, and to date has allocated $380 million in funding to Indigenous communities and organizations. The funding in today’s announcement is in addition to what has already been committed through the fund and brings the total investments to date in the Indigenous Community Support Fund to $685 million.

“The Government of Canada recognizes that First Nation, Inuit and Métis are among the most at risk and face unique challenges in addressing COVID-19,” said Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). “It also recognizes that Indigenous leadership, governments and organizations are best placed to determine the needs of Indigenous Peoples and to develop community-based solutions that respond to these challenges.”

It will be distributed through a combination of allocations directly to First Nations, Inuit and Métis leadership, and needs-based funding, which will be application driven. The money will be available to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, as well as Indigenous communities and organizations serving Indigenous peoples, including First Nations living off-reserve as well as Inuit and Métis living in urban centres, on an application basis. Further details will be forthcoming.

This fund can be used for a wide variety of measures such as supporting Elders and vulnerable community members, addressing food insecurity, educational and other supports for children, mental health assistance and emergency response services, preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and more.

ISC stated that, as of August 11, they are aware of:

  • 425 confirmed positive COVID-19
  • 34 hospitalizations
  • 393 recovered cases
  • 6 deaths

Jake Cardinal is a local journalism initiative reporter for Alberta Native News. 

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