Government of Canada COVID-19 update for Indigenous Peoples and communities, week of June 21

News release

June 23, 2021 — Ottawa, Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is committed to supporting Indigenous communities in their response to COVID-19 and continues to work closely with Indigenous organizations and provincial and territorial governments. As of June 22, 2021, Canada and partners reported an incredible accomplishment in its vaccination efforts, with more than 37,230,836 COVID-19 vaccine doses being distributed across the country. As of June 22, 2021, in First Nations communities with available information, over 84% of individuals aged 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and over 49% have received two doses.

In provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples aged 12 and older are currently eligible to register for their first vaccine dose. Many provinces and territories continue to prioritize first doses to the population aged 12 and older, with various approaches implemented across Canada, including home-based, school-based, family-based and drive-thru clinics to reach households and support uptake. As of June 22, 2021, over 77% of individuals aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities. Of this group, over 49% have received their second dose. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 73% of individuals aged 12 and older have received one dose.

We thank all those who have received their first dose of the vaccine, and remind everyone that it is important to get your second saving dose to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Getting fully vaccinated is a step in the right direction toward lives and protecting each other.

We are pleased with Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq's encouraging announcement on June 22, 2021, reporting 0 active cases, 0 new cases and 8 recoveries of COVID-19, totalling 262 recoveries from the territorial outbreak. Their region has successfully administered one dose to 20,126 people in Nunavut, with 15,861 having received their second dose of a vaccine.

There has been minimal community transmission of COVID-19 in the Atlantic provinces, with only 22 active cases reported in Indigenous communities on reserve. Partners in Atlantic provinces are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and increase vaccine uptake through activities such as a rapid testing clinic in Eskasoni First Nation, where close to 70 community members were tested. In addition, the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre hosted vaccine clinics for urban Indigenous Peoples in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and the Native Council of Prince Edward Island (PEI) is working with Health PEI to administer vaccines to as many as 1,500 Indigenous islanders living off reserve.

As of June 22, 2021, the following COVID-19 data have been confirmed:

  • 31,639 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases
  • 673 active cases
  • 30,610 recovered cases
  • 356 deaths.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) continue to assist Indigenous communities across the country. As part of Operation VECTOR, which is the CAF's support to the federal, provincial and territorial governments in distributing COVID-19 vaccines, Canadian Rangers and additional CAF personnel are extending their assistance to provincial vaccination authorities by completing logistics and general duty tasks in various communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Northern Ontario to continue supporting the Government of Ontario and Ornge partners with the delivery of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to community members aged 12 to 17.

Ornge's Operation Remote Immunity 2.0 launched on May 31, 2021, and aims to vaccinate approximately 6,000 youth aged 12 to 17 in 31 Ontario fly-in First Nations communities and Moosonee. This week, the CAF's Ornge-supported vaccine clinics are being held in King Fisher Lake First Nation, Bearskin Lake, Wunnumin Lake First Nation, and North Spirit Lake First Nation for the first dose, Neskantaga First Nation, Weenusk First Nation, and Webequie First Nation for the second dose.

As part of Operation LASER, which is the CAF's response to a global pandemic situation, Canadian Rangers are currently activated in Attawapiskat First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation and Long Lake 58 First Nation in Ontario to provide assistance with COVID-19 response efforts in these communities.

Canadian Rangers are also activated in many communities across the country as Sentinels to help identify emerging demands.

Working alongside partners such as Mushkegowuk Tribal Council, Weeneebayko Area Health Authority, the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service, the Canadian Red Cross, and other federal and provincial government departments, ISC continues to ensure a coordinated approach to delivering critical supports to address the needs of Kashechewan First Nation in light of its current COVID-19 outbreak.

Significant progress has been made in transporting and preparing temporary structures for additional isolation, quarantine and medical use. Six medical isolation domes are being deployed to the community to provide additional space, beyond the existing BluMed structures. As of June 20, all three BluMed structures are in the community and are being used to provide patient care. Additional medical and mental health surge capacity from ISC and partners remains accessible in the community and remotely.

A senior ISC representative is in the community to assist in coordinating efforts with community leadership and health partners. ISC will not hesitate to provide additional resources as required.

Despite many challenges throughout the pandemic, it is important to recognize the resilience and hard work of Indigenous communities in Canada. While the vaccine results are encouraging, Indigenous communities are making decisions based on ensuring the health and well-being of their community members, recognizing the need for continued vigilance as outbreaks continue to occur. At an individual level, it remains essential to keep our loved ones, our communities and ourselves safe during the pandemic. This includes minimizing in-person interactions with people outside our immediate household, avoiding gatherings, wearing a mask and washing our hands frequently. Indigenous leadership, including the guidance offered by Elders and Knowledge Keepers, has been central in promoting vaccine confidence, encouraging community members to get vaccinated, and ensuring that people have the information and resources needed to stay healthy and combat COVID-19.

In response to how COVID-19 has evolved, the Government of Canada announced the easing of border measures on June 21, 2021. Beginning July 5, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. EDT, fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on day 8. In addition, travellers arriving by air who are fully vaccinated and have respected the two-week period after receiving their second dose in a two-dose series will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel.

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

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