Government of Canada is providing immediate assistance to First Nations in Manitoba to address the COVID-19 pandemic 

News release

November 10, 2020 — Ottawa, Ontario, Traditional territory of the Algonquin Peoples – Indigenous Services Canada

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. We are actively working with communities and leadership to ensure necessary resources are in place to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19, and stand ready to deploy additional resources as required.

In light of the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, the Government of Canada, in partnerships with Manitoba First Nations, is providing $61.4 million in immediate funding to support their response to the pandemic in a number of areas.

Through the hard work and leadership of the Manitoba First Nations Provincial Coordination Response Team (PCRT), regional First Nation organizations and partners, Indigenous Services Canada have come together and worked in partnership to protect First Nation individuals, families and communities. The PRCT has fostered key partnership that has provided significant and meaningful support in the fight against COVID-19 in Manitoba.

The funding announced today includes:

  • $38 million in immediate support to all Manitoba First Nations for public health activities such as Personal Protective Equipment for essential workers in the community, staffing additional primary care nurses, public health nurses, paramedics and community workers, and food security to support physical isolation;
  • $3 million in immediate support to eight on-reserve Personal Care Homes to support the adaptation of the visitation rooms, the hiring of additional staff, and the implementation of greater infection prevention and control measures;
  • $8 million in immediate support to First Nations with active cases for perimeter security, food security, and surge capacity as needed;
  • $3.4 million in community adaptation funding that will support First Nations to make community spaces more COVID-19 resilient; and
  • $9 million for Manitoba First Nations to respond to emerging needs through the Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, including today's announcement, the Government of Canada has provided over $268.2 million to Manitoba First Nations since the beginning of the pandemic to support their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indigenous Services Canada will also take immediate measures to deploy an additional 12 temporary structures and three drive-through testing sites to Manitoba First Nations  in support of testing. We will also provide additional support for contact tracing, and will partner with the Province of Manitoba and the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory to support rapid testing.

Indigenous Services Canada will also work directly with First Nations and partners to identify off-reserve service organizations that require supports needed by off-reserve members, especially in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson.

The government of Canada will continue to support efforts on the ground to ensure that Indigenous individuals, communities and organizations have the tools necessary to weather the impacts of COVID-19 on their health and lives. 


"The health and safety of Indigenous people and communities is our shared and highest priority. In the last week, I've spoken almost daily with First Nations leadership in Manitoba, and they've been clear about what is required to protect their members and communities. Hearing from them has been critical in understanding what support is required to make an immediate and meaningful difference for Indigenous people in Manitoba."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services 

"Our government will continue to support the leadership of First Nations, Inuit and Metis partners as they work to keep their communities safe. The recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Manitoba are deeply concerning. These new resources will provide them with the assistance they need to stop the spread of the virus and keep people healthy and safe. We will continue to work in partnership and invest in community-based solutions that respond to evolving needs and unique challenges faced by Indigenous communities in Manitoba and across Canada."

The Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs 

"I am pleased that Minister Miller has heard the Chiefs of Manitoba and is responding quickly to the need.  The Chiefs have made it clear that in order to keep our citizens safe and lower the rate of COVID-19 in this province, there needs to be additional resources in the community, medical and self-isolation infrastructure and health human resources.  This cannot be the end to the federal response and I look forward to continue to work with the Minister to address the needs of Manitoba First Nation citizens."

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs 

"First Nations leaders and their pandemic teams have worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their communities. The pandemic has really amplified many of the issues First Nations have been dealing with for generations. We are thankful for the support from the Government of Canada, these funds will be much appreciated and are much needed in the continued fight against this deadly virus. We are especially grateful for the funding to support prevention and control methods as well as increased staffing levels for personal care homes in First Nations."

Grand Chief Garrison Settee
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak 

"The pandemic has taken a great toll on our people, both physically and mentally, especially over the past several weeks of record breaking case numbers. First Nation peoples in Manitoba are already at a greater risk for health complications and illness,and have a life expectancy that is eleven years shorter, on average, when compared to non-First Nation Manitobans. I am pleased that the federal government has listened to us and is providing assistance that our communities are in desperate need of right now. SCO will continue to advocate as we work with our 34 Anishinaabe and Dakota First Nations to support their efforts to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, and to help our citizen's deal with the pandemic's effects."

Grand Chief Jerry Daniels
Southern Chiefs' Organization 

Quick facts

  • To date, the Government of Canada will have committed close to $2.5 billion to support Indigenous communities and organizations during COVID-19. 

  • Indigenous Services Canada is providing Manitoba First Nations with COVID-19 testing swabs, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hand sanitizer, masks, gowns, gloves and other infection prevention and control items. As of October 30, 2020 a total of 397 shipments of PPE have been sent. 

  • As of November 5, GeneXpert devices have been deployed to 11 communities in Manitoba, seven of which are First Nation. In addition, the First Nations Provincial Coordination Response Team has two portable GeneXpert devices that they take to communities when responding to outbreaks. 

  • 33 mobile structures have been deployed to Manitoba First Nations for screening/triage, accommodations, and isolation, in addition to other investments that have retrofitted or upgraded existing infrastructure to support pandemic response at the community level. 


For more information, media may contact:

Adrienne Vaupshas
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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