Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

The federal government has announced an additional $305 million to help Indigenous Peoples combat COVID-19.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the money is meant to help Indigenous communities prepare for emergencies and prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

He says communities can also use the money for a variety of other measures, including helping elders and vulnerable people, food insecurity, educational and other supports for children and mental health assistance.

The new money will flow through the Indigenous community support fund, bringing the total amount to $685 million this year.

RELATED: Island tour operator keeps Indigenous culture alive through COVID-19 with virtual journeys

RELATED: Violence against Indigenous women during COVID-19 sparks calls for MMIWG plan

Some funding will also go to First Nations living off-reserve as well as Inuit and Metis people living in urban centres, distributed based on need through an application process.

Miller says Ottawa is committed to ensuring Indigenous leaders have the tools and support they need to implement the various aspects of their pandemic plans.

“This funding will provide crucial support to key community initiatives that strive to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19 in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities,” he said.

“This approach aligns with our commitment to support Indigenous leadership’s approaches to community wellness while providing the flexibility to respond to emerging needs, for example in response to an outbreak of COVID-19.”

To date there have been 425 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on First Nations reserves, with 34 people hospitalized. Of these, 393 have recovered from the virus. There have also been 17 cases in the Nunavik region in northern Quebec. All have recovered.

The federal government has acknowledged that COVID-19 case counts among Indigenous Peoples do not reflect the true impact on Indigenous communities and individuals, as they only capture statistics from those living on reserves or in Inuit territories. The majority of Indigenous people in Canada live off reserve.

—Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey wrestler Jason Bains receives four-year suspension for using banned substance

Queen Elizabeth Secondary grad tests positive for steroid Turinabol, silver national medal removed

What happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19 at a Surrey school?

Surrey Schools Superintendent explains step-by-step process for notifying the community

UPDATED: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Peace Arch Hospital

Provincial health officer says outbreak is in the facility’s rehab unit

COVID-19 exposures reported at four more Surrey schools

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

‘Ukrainian soul food’ fundraiser returns to Surrey hall, with a twist

COVID-19 put a stop to church group’s monthly event, but it’s back on Sept. 25

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

PHOTO: RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Man arrested in New Westminster pier park fire

Investigators don’t believe the public are at further risk and are not looking for any other suspects

Most Read