Government of Canada announces funding for Indigenous communities and organizations to support community-based responses to COVID-19
August 12, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
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. 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.
Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced an additional $305 million to support Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Indigenous Community Support Fund.
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. 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. This approach aligns with our commitment to support Indigenous leaders’ approaches to community wellness while providing the flexibility to respond to emerging needs, for example in response to an outbreak of COVID-19.
This funding 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.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Indigenous leaders have the tools and support they need to implement the various aspects of their pandemic plans.
The health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis remains the priority of the Department. 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. First Nations, Inuit and Métis also have access to all other measures provided through the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and are encouraged to review financial supports that may be available to them.
“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. 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 Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
Over $2 billion has been committed in specific support to Indigenous and northern communities and organizations, including the funding announced today.
- $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.
- $685 million for 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.
- $72.6 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 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 in new funding to support community-owned Indigenous businesses and $16 million in new funding to support Indigenous tourism through the pandemic and into recovery.
In addition to providing support to hundreds of Indigenous communities across the country, the Indigenous Community Support Fund has supported approximately 260 Indigenous organizations serving Indigenous peoples in urban centres.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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