Government of Canada to assist remote communities in Northern Ontario with COVID-19 response
November 13, 2021
Today, the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, confirmed that the Government of Canada has approved a Request for Federal Assistance from the Province of Ontario to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic in remote Northern Ontario communities, including remote First Nations fly-in communities.
In recognition of the significant, immediate challenges facing Northern Ontario and the importance of ensuring support to vulnerable remote fly-in communities, the Government of Canada will provide federal assistance in the form of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Rangers to support Operation Remote Immunity 3.0 (ORI 3.0) vaccination campaign targeting specific Ontario communities.
Specifically, ORI 3.0 will encompass the following parameters:
- Third doses for all eligible Individuals;
- First and second doses for children ages 5-11 (once approved);
- First and second doses for those aged 12 and over that have not yet been vaccinated and have indicated they wish to receive vaccination.
Dependent on community agreement to co-administration, flu vaccine may also be made available at the clinics for administration of both the COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.
Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority and the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority will lead the implementation of ORI 3.0 in their respective communities with the support of First Nations Inuit Health Branch, the northern Public Health Units and Ornge.
The CAF support to ORI 3.0 will begin on November 15, 2021, and will continue until March 31, 2022. The support will be specific to the communities listed in the ORI 3.0.
CAF members will work alongside other members of the community to address the emergent needs of remote First Nations fly-in communities.
The CAF will provide Canadian Rangers to help support ORI 3.0 in the form of:
- General logistics support, including transportation of personnel, community members and materials;
- Local coordination including translation, integration of mobile vaccination teams and distribution of information and educational materials; and
- Administrative support, including conducting COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaires, reception and other general support to planning and operations.
The Government Operations Centre is working closely with federal and provincial partners to coordinate the federal response to the situation in Northern Ontario.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government Operations Centre has administered more than 140 requests for assistance from federal, provincial, and territorial partners. These requests have been administered in collaboration with federal organizations, such as the Department of National Defence, Indigenous Services Canada, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, and non-governmental partners, such as the Canadian Red Cross.
“The Government of Canada always stands ready to assist provinces and territories in their efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The deployment of CAF resources to remote indigenous communities demonstrates the ongoing dedication and commitment of the Government in assisting vulnerable populations in their time of need. I commend the outstanding collaboration between all responding organizations and partners, and I want to thank all those on the front lines who continue to keep Canadians safe.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Emergency Preparedness
“Once again, the Canadian Armed Forces will be leveraging the local cultural and operational experience of the Canadian Rangers to support the effective roll-out of this vaccination campaign to vulnerable populations in Northern Ontario. Since the start of the pandemic, the Rangers have demonstrated steadfast dedication to vaccination efforts in remote and northern communities across the country and we are grateful to have such capable members to call on when indigenous communities need them most.”
- The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
To date, the Government of Canada has approved a total of 143 Requests for Federal Assistance (including extensions), which includes 19 requests to support Ontario with their COVID-19 response.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the CAF has received and responded to 70 COVID-19-related requests for assistance from provincial or federal partners.
CAF-related support is likely to consist of approximately 100 Canadian Rangers engaged in a wide range of logistics, coordination, and administrative support roles.
The Government Operations Centre is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada's response to emergency events including the pandemic. It supports the Public Health Agency of Canada, which is the federal government lead for the response to COVID-19.
In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the municipal level and if they need assistance, they request it from their province or territory. If the emergency escalates further, provinces or territories can get help from the federal government.
A Request for Federal Assistance is initiated when an emergency event overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm the resources of a province or territory and federal government help is needed to effectively support the impacted region.
Should a province or territory make an official Request for Federal Assistance, there is a well-established process in place for managing the request, through the Government Operations Centre, and includes provincial/territorial and interdepartmental consultation and coordination.
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Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
Department of National Defence
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