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Government of Canada announces further reinforcement of COVID-19 supports for Indigenous communities

Government of Canada announces further reinforcement of COVID-19 supports for Indigenous communities

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, TRADITIONAL UNCEDED ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON, Jan. 13, 2021 /CNW/ - As the COVID-19 pandemic increases in intensity, the Government of Canada continues supporting First Nations, Inuit, Métis to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to keep their communities safe, and respond to outbreaks of COVID-19.

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services is highlighting $1.2 billion in investments made through the Fall Economic Statement (FES) in additional support for the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.

Providing communities with the flexibility needed to respond to COVID-19 is essential. Since the beginning of the pandemic, action has been taken at all levels to protect the most vulnerable and support those who need it most. Collective measures have been undertaken by community-based organizations across this country. This work is making a fundamental difference.

To continue to support this work, the Government of Canada is allocating an additional $380 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund. This will ensure continued critical support for on-the-ground, community-led solutions to prevent, prepare and respond to COVID-19. 

With this further investment, the Government of Canada has now invested over $1 billion in the Indigenous Community Support Fund. This fund continues to serve an important role in supporting priorities identified by Indigenous leadership. Funding can be used for a variety of measures, such as promoting food security, improving mental health support services and ensuring the distribution of emergency equipment.

In addition, this announcement includes $631.6 million over two years to support a number of measures in communities, including procuring PPE, adapting existing facilities, hiring more staff, and providing surge capacity when needed. This brings the total funding allocated specifically for public health emergency response in communities to $926.7 million.

Given the vulnerability of elders and those in long-term care facilities, $186.8 million over two years is also being is also being announced to support needs and gaps in those facilities and to provide additional home care in Indigenous communities, in order to protect these populations from COVID-19.

To date, and with these additional investments, the Government of Canada has announced approximately $4 billion in COVID-19 funding for Indigenous communities and organizations supporting families and individuals since the beginning of the pandemic. We will continue to respond to emerging needs and remain committed to supporting Indigenous communities and families through this pandemic and beyond.


"First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have worked diligently to prevent, respond and control the spread of the virus in their communities. We acknowledge their strength and resilience, and the hard work they continue to put into leading their communities to safety. Through these investments, we will continue to support community-led solutions, and to ensure a strong and multi-faceted pandemic response."

The Honourable Marc Miller

Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

As of December 18, over $4.2 billion has been announced in specific COVID-19 support to Indigenous and northern communities and organizations:

  • $926.7 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.
  • $1.1 billion to be delivered through the distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund.
  • $10 million for emergency family violence prevention shelters on reserve and in Yukon to support women and children fleeing violence.
  • $137.3 million for health and social services support to the governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
  • $34.3 million for territorial businesses, through CanNor's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
  • $25 million for enhancement to the Nutrition North Canada Subsidy.
  • $17.3 million in support for Northern Air Carriers.
  • $15 million for CanNor's Northern Business Relief Fund.
  • Up to $306.8 million in interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses.
  • $75.2 million in 2020-21 in distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education.
  • $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses.
  • $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. The Government of Canada will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing. Starting this year, $1 million a year ongoing will also be provided to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, LGBTQ and two-spirited people.
  • $117 million to support community-owned and micro-businesses through the Indigenous Community Business Fund.
  • $16 million to support Indigenous tourism businesses through the COVID-19 Indigenous Tourism Stimulus Development Fund.
  • $82.5 million in mental health and wellness supports to help Indigenous communities adapt and expand mental wellness services, improving access and addressing growing demand, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $112 million to support a safe return to elementary and secondary schools for First Nations on reserves.
  • $41 million has been allocated to Canada's Territories to safely restart their economies and make the country more resilient to possible future surges.
  • $120.7 million to help Indigenous early learning and child care facilities safely operate during the pandemic.
  • $59 million for First Nations to adapt their on reserve community infrastructure.
  • $25.9 million to provide immediate support to Indigenous post-secondary institutions in 2020-21.
  • $332.8 million in 2021-22 to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to offset declines in own-source revenues and to help ensure that Indigenous communities can continue to provide the same level of core community programs and services to their members.
  • $186.8 million over two years to address needs and gaps in supportive care facilities and provide additional home care in Indigenous communities in order to protect elder and other vulnerable communities members
  • $144.2 million in 2021-22 to the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program to bolster support to those hit hardest by the pandemic by providing training and supports to young Indigenous people, Indigenous people with disabilities, and out-of-territory and vulnerable Indigenous people to prepare them for good jobs. This funding also helps improve labour market data and service delivery.
  • $3 million to CanNor for foundational economic development projects that will support small businesses in Canada's Territories.

Associated links

Fall Economic Statement 2020 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks

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Facebook: @GCIndigenousHealth 

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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada

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