Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced new funding for Indigenous Peoples. Approximately $600 million will be given to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis groups to focus on their COVID19 needs.
“COVID-19 has further highlighted the unique challenges that already exist for Indigenous peoples and communities. We are listening to Indigenous peoples, and are working with them to ensure they have the support they need to get through this crisis,” Trudeau said. The funding breaks down as follows:
- $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities. The investment will fund community-led responses to the pandemic, and provide targeted increases in primary health care resources for First Nations communities. In case of outbreaks, this funding can be drawn upon to provide surge capacity and additional support for community-based services in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.
- $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nations communities and connect individuals to other government programs.
- $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. This funding will help build 10 shelters in First Nations communities on reserve across the country, and two in the territories, to support Indigenous women and children. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing. We are also announcing $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.
The additional funding will be used to provide surge capacity including the delivery of up to 160 temporary assessment, screening and isolation units, and increase the number of health care providers.