Government of Canada is providing immediate assistance to Territorial government, communities and Inuit partners in Nunavut to address the COVID-19 pandemic 

News release

November 25, 2020 — Ottawa, Ontario, Traditional territory of the Algonquin Peoples, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
Since the beginning of the pandemic, action has been taken by all governments to protect the most vulnerable and support those who need it most. Territorial governments, Indigenous partners and community organizations continue to work hard to keep their communities safe and the Government of Canada will be there to support them as they manage the current COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of Nunavut communities are experiencing outbreaks, including Arviat, Whale Cove, and Rankin Inlet. Additional assistance is urgently needed for food and social supports, municipal services such as water truck delivery, security, and non-medical personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep people safe.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Nunavut, the Government of Canada announced today that it is providing $19.36 million in immediate funding to support the Government of Nunavut, Inuit communities and Inuit organizations in their response to the pandemic.

The funding announced today by the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CanNor, will flow to the Government of Nunavut, Kivallliq Inuit Association through Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), and other partners to support immediate needs, and protection measures to help limit further spread in the region to meet changing needs. This funding will also support the emergency response and preparedness plans in place in Nunavut. This funding includes the following.

  • $ 11.36 million to the Government of Nunavut which includes:
    • $1.8 million for food support for households that are isolating and to respond to other food security needs, to support individuals and families weather the impact of the pandemic.
    • $1 million to help ensure a reliable supply of non-medical PPE and cleaning supplies for affected communities. This can include masks, soap, hand sanitizers, and household cleaning supplies to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
    • $6.5 million to support essential municipal services for affected communities, such as security, water and sewage services, transportation of critical supplies including food, cleaning supplies, testing and other medical supplies, as well as additional medical personnel.
    • $1.3 million to expand Internet bandwidth in support of education, remote health care and community response.
    • $513,000 to support early learning and child care (ELCC) programs with the impacts of COVID-19 including training for ELCC workers, mental health supports for children and families, home-based learning kits, and food hampers to replace breakfast or lunch programs.
    • $250,000 for the purchase of equipment to support distance learning in the Kivalliq region. This funding is allocated out of a new agreement with Nunavut Arctic College, under the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency's (CanNor) Northern Adult Basic Education Program.
  • $8 million to Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated in collaboration with Kivalliq Inuit Association:
    • $6 million for food hampers, support for households that rely on school breakfast and lunch programs, other food security needs for individuals and families in communities with active COVID-19 outbreaks as well in communities where schools have closed.
    • $2 million to support on the land initiatives, including food harvesting, while facilitating physical distancing and promoting mental well-being. 

Indigenous communities, organizations and partners, and the Government of Canada continue to work together to protect their communities. This work has fostered key partnerships that have provided significant and meaningful support in the fight against COVID-19 across the country. With today's announcement, since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has allocated $105 million in combined COVID-19 support to communities in Nunavut.

The Government of Canada will also continue to work with Inuit and other Indigenous partners to identify service organizations that require support to serve Inuit living outside of Nunavut.

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. We will not hesitate to deploy additional resources if needed. 


"We know Nunavummiut are strong and resilient, and communities are pulling together to face this unprecedented challenge. We recognize that Nunavut has unique needs. Our commitments today are in direct response to ongoing discussions with territorial and Inuit leadership about how the Government of Canada can make an immediate and meaningful difference for Nunavummiut. We are actively working with the Territorial government, Inuit leaders and other partners to ensure necessary resources are in place to support affected communities, and combat the spread of COVID-19."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services 

"The Government of Canada continues to follow the COVID-19 situation in Nunavut. We are working across departments as well as with the Territorial government and Inuit partners to ensure we have a coordinated and targeted response to the rising number of cases in Nunavut. We will continue to ensure that all Nunavummiut are supported and provided with the resources they need to respond effectively to the pandemic. We are asking all residents in Nunavut to continue to follow the guidelines and recommendations of their regional public health authorities."

The Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs 

"In light of the COVID-19 situation in Nunavut, our government is working together with the Government of Nunavut and Inuit partners to ensure all Nunavummiut have the resources they need to fight the spread of the virus. While post secondary and adult education students are being asked to stay home and follow public health guidelines, CanNor's investment will support Nunavut Arctic College and their efforts to minimize the disruption to their studies. We thank our partners for their dedication to keeping their communities safe and will continue to support them through this challenging time."

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CanNor 

"COVID-19 has hit the Kivalliq region quickly and is testing our limited resources and capacity. The Government of Nunavut is very grateful for the federal government's on-going support and openness. Their immediate financial assistance in response to the outbreak, and their swift action to provide support where we need it is truly appreciated."
The Honourable Joe Savikataaq, Premier of Nunavut   

"Hampers with food and cleaning supplies are critically needed. This funding will support Nunavut Inuit to stay home and limit contacts. On behalf of Nunavut Inuit, I thank Minister Marc Miller for rapidly responding to the outbreak in the Kivalliq."

James Eetoolook, Acting President
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated 

"On the land social distancing helps to reduce overcrowding in homes and shelters, improves mental health and strengthens children learning Inuit language and culture. I am encouraged and grateful for this support."

Kono Tattuinee, President
Kivallliq Inuit Association 

Quick facts

  • As of November 10, 2020, the Government of Canada has committed close to $2.5 billion to support Indigenous communities and organizations during COVID-19. 

  • Indigenous Services Canada has provided a total of $33.8 million to Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated through the Indigenous Community Support Fund. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, along with the Nunavut Regional Inuit Associations, has used the funding to support a number of initiatives. These include the following:

    • Supporting children with Inuktut learning packages focused on literacy and numeracy
    • Existing and new domestic violence shelters and transition homes to support physical distancing
    • Expanding Nunavut's testing capacity, including training for Inuit
    • Supplying every Nunavut Inuit household with a thermometer
    • Supporting Nunavut Inuit sewers to make face masks
    • Providing food, cleaning supplies and learning resources for any individual diagnosed with the virus, and their family, to support their 14 day self-isolation
    • Working with Hamlets and the Government of Nunavut to support reliable water and sewer infrastructure
    • Supporting a wage subsidy for Early Childhood Educators, in partnership with the Government of Nunavut, for 2020 mandatory closures 
  • The Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) program provides necessary access for children to culturally appropriate early learning, health and social services in urban and northern communities. On average, the national program reaches between 4600 and 4800 children annually at 134 sites across the country.  

  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, CanNor has invested $3.2 million to support 47 small and medium-sized enterprises, and maintained 216 jobs, in communities across Nunavut. Also, through an agreement with the Government of Nunavut, CanNor has provided Community Futures Organizations with an additional $3.9 million in funding. 

Associated links


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

Allison St.Jean
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Naomi Sharpe
Manager, Communications
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

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