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

News release

July 21, 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 July 19, 2021, Canada and partners reported an incredible accomplishment in its vaccination efforts, with more than 55,378,776 COVID-19 vaccine doses being distributed across the country. As of July 20, 2021, in First Nations communities with available information, over 82% of individuals aged 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and over 61% have received two doses. 

As of July 20, 2021, over 82% 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 59% have received their second dose. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, over 78% of individuals aged 12 and older have received one dose, with 50% having received two doses as of July 16, 2021. 

We thank all those who have received their first dose of the vaccine and remind all Canadians to be sure to book your appointment for your second dose to protect against severe disease outcomes, such as hospitalization and death, especially in the context of the Delta variant. While we are still experiencing some outbreaks (10+ cases) affecting primarily unimmunized or partially immunized individuals, we have seen a continuing drop in active case counts of more than 90% over the past six months. For example, Hatchet Lake in Northern Saskatchewan has a Delta variant outbreak that is waning in the context of public health interventions that include the redoubling of immunization efforts. 

This week, Nunavut declared the outbreak in Iqaluit to be over. Current public health measures, including mandatory masks, remain in place.

As provinces and territories continue to ease restrictive public health measures, this easing will be dependent on the current risk level in and around their communities, including COVID-19 rates, the presence of variants of concern, vaccination coverage in each jurisdiction, public health and health care capacity, and community vulnerabilities. Members of the public need to continue to follow their community's recommendations on the use of personal preventive measures, such as wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing and receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine currently available in Canada. 

As of July 20, 2021, the following COVID-19 data have been confirmed: 

  • 32,766 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases
  • 239 active cases 
  • 32,149 recovered cases 
  • 378 deaths.

Through the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF), the Government of Canada is helping to support community-based projects to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake among Indigenous Peoples in rural and urban communities. The following Indigenous organizations are expected to receive funding through the IPF to support their projects:

  • Indigenous Primary Health Care Council
  • Mainline, a program of the Mi'Kmaw Native Friendship Centre
  • Regina Treaty / Status Indian Services Inc. 
  • Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec 
  • Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc.

Additionally, under the Government of Canada's Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge, more than 100 community-driven projects are being launched to promote vaccine confidence and reinforce public health measures, including 25 projects by Indigenous communities. These initiatives will take place across the country, in various Indigenous languages. Trusted community leaders and messengers will provide information on COVID-19 vaccination that is culturally appropriate, targeted and informed.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a critical part of Canada's whole-of-government response to the pandemic. The CAF is pleased to work in close collaboration with provincial, territorial and Indigenous leadership partners to provide emergency support to all community members affected by the recent COVID-19 outbreaks. 

The CAF continues to assist Indigenous communities across the country. As part of Operation VECTOR, which is the CAF's support to federal, provincial and territorial governments in distributing COVID-19 vaccines, Canadian Rangers and additional CAF personnel are extending their assistance to provincial vaccination authorities. 

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 Marten Falls First Nation, Eabametoong First Nation, Deer Lake First Nation and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation.

As part of Operation LASER, which is the CAF's response to a global pandemic situation, Canadian Rangers are activated in Kashechewan First Nation in Ontario and Hatchet Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan 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.

ISC is also working with other federal departments to respond to the request for assistance from the Government of Yukon. The department has reached out to the Council of Yukon First Nations to determine whether there are any specific needs for First Nations communities that could be supported by the Indigenous Communities Support Fund.

On July 19, further announcements were made on easing of border restrictions. Starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to allow entry to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are currently residing in the United States and who have been fully vaccinated with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. As of September 7, if case numbers continue to decline, the Government intends to open Canada's borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.

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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