Indigenous Services Canada flowing $125M in Covid public health funding directly to First Nations Communities

Indigenous Services Canada

Ottawa, Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario – Indigenous Services Canada

As the Omicron variant continues to be identified in communities across the country, Indigenous Services Canada and all partners are working to ensure that appropriate public health measures are in place to prevent and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.

With this new variant and its speed of infection, the department has heard from Chiefs and communities of the need for quicker access to financial resources both to prepare and implement additional public health measures, as well as to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.

And so today, Minister Patty Hajdu announced that Indigenous Services Canada is flowing a total of $125 million of COVID-19 public health funding directly to First Nations across the country to support their public health efforts. The transfer of funding across the country has already started and will continue over the next couple of weeks to all First Nations, self-governing and modern treaty holders. It is being allocated using the Indigenous Community Support Fund methodology and includes an allocation to the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia. The allocation and its temporary implementation criteria also include careful consideration of needs for remote and isolated First Nations.

This funding can be used by First Nations to support community surge capacity in response to COVID-19. This may include, but is not limited to, continued administration of COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, implementation of rapid testing, surge infrastructure, surge staff and resources, food security to support self-isolation and supports to update, review and activate pandemic response plans.

Additionally, if and when needed, Indigenous communities and organizations can continue to request funding from the Indigenous Community Support Fund, and for First Nations, the contingency needs-based public health funding.

Indigenous Services Canada staff across the country, including Regional Medical Officers of Health, remain available to assist First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and organizations should they require immediate assistance with an outbreak, or supports such as temporary infrastructure, rapid testing or PPE. The department will continue to work with Indigenous communities to collaborate, share information and co-develop Indigenous-led, distinctions-based communications and health response approaches with Indigenous partners, listening to their advice and guidance.

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