Statement by Minister Miller on the COVID-19 outbreak at Kashechewan First Nation


OTTAWA, ONTARIO (June 13, 2021) – Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, issued the following statement regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in Kashechewan First Nation:

“The health and safety of Kashechewan residents remains our top priority. Our government is working closely with the leadership of Kashechewan First Nation, and other partners, including Mushkegowuk Tribal Council, Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA), the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS), the Canadian Red Cross, and other federal and provincial government departments to address the urgent health needs of the community in light of a recent COVID-19 outbreak. Together, we are continually assessing the situation in Kashechewan and providing additional supports as needed.

In addition to the 15 Canadian Rangers who have been urgently mobilized to Kashechewan by the Canadian Armed Forces, Indigenous Services Canada’s (ISC’s) efforts to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak in Kashechewan First Nation include:

  • Ensuring the community has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by community health care providers. 
  • Leading COVID-19 testing and case and contact management, with support from Kashechewan Health Services and WAHA. The nursing station is open 24 hours a day, with nurses that are available to assess individuals requiring medical attention. Home testing is also available.
  • Ensuring adequate health human resources are in the community. Six additional nurses have been deployed for a total of 15 nurses in the community. They are working with three ISC paramedics to conduct case and contact management, checking in daily with all COVID-19-positive individuals and with all high risk contacts, assisting with testing and providing routine primary care. ISC has 10 surge capacity nurses conducting remote contact and case management and two physicians will remain in the community.
  • Engaging with partners, including WAHA, to ensure adequate mental health services are available, both remotely and in-community. The NAN HOPE line and the ISC Hope for Wellness Help Line are available 24/7.   
  • Supporting a request from the community for an additional $453K through the Indigenous Community Support Fund and Public Health Measures Fund to address immediate needs, bringing the community’s total COVID-19 response funding to more than $8.0M. This additional funding will support food supplies and transport, personal protective equipment, a pandemic response coordinator, quarantine officers, COVID-19 screeners and testing personnel, security, and communications.
  • Supporting WAHA in holding a mass testing clinic on Friday, June 11, 2021, to proactively identify new cases in the community.

Additionally, ISC will:

  • Assess, with the assistance of the Canadian Armed Forces, the need for further personnel to be deployed to the community.CAF members will be in community today to perform further in-person assessment of immediate needs alongside community members and provincial partners.
  • Work with partners to urgently bring temporary structures to the community to further support the community’s need for additional isolation space. 
  • Continue to monitor and replenish PPE, as needed. 
  • Explore alternative transportation methods to bring food into the community and have it delivered to those in need or in insolation.
  • Assist Mushkegowuk Tribal Council to identify additional Indigenous security capacity in case NAPS requires support.

I commend Chief Leo Friday of Kashechewan First Nation who has done an incredible job preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak in his community. I also thank all of our other partners for their collaboration in addressing the urgent health needs of this community. I understand that WAHA ran a successful vaccine clinic in the community on June 8 and 9, 2021.

We will continue to work with leadership of Kashechewan First Nation, federal and provincial government departments and all partners involved to support the residents of Kashechewan First Nation in bringing an end to the current outbreak and returning everyone to good health.”


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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