Government of Canada COVID-19 Update for Indigenous Peoples and communities

As of August 20, ISC is aware of these confirmed cases of COVID-19 for First Nations on reserve in provinces:

    • 428 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19
    • 35 hospitalizations
    • 408 recovered cases

There is a total of 17 confirmed positive cases in Nunavik, Quebec, and all have recovered.

First Nations communities have been successful in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. When compared to the general Canadian population, the COVID infection rate, hospitalization rate, and death rate were lower in these communities. For example, the rate of COVID-19 reported among First Nations individuals living on reserve is currently one-quarter the rate of the general Canadian population.

The epidemic curve continues to show signs of flattening, with the numbers of new and active cases dropping significantly in the most recent week. In order to keep flattening the curve and the infection rate low, we must all remain vigilant in employing measures to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from the spread of COVID-19.

Individuals can help by:

      • avoiding all non-essential trips in the community;
      • limiting the size of group gatherings;
      • maintaining physical distancing of at least 2 arm-lengths (approximately 2 meters or 6 feet);
      • limiting contact with people at higher risk, such as seniors, those in poor health, or with underlying health conditions;
      • wearing a non-medical mask when physical distancing is not possible; and
      • following the recommended public health guidelines outlined by your province or territory of residence.

On August 12, the Government of Canada announced an additional $305 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund. This most recent announcement brings the Indigenous Community Support Fund to $685 million in total funding directly to First Nation, Inuit and Mtis leadership as well as the organizations that support them. This fund is integral to equipping communities with what they need to prevent, prepare and respond to COVID-19 and to make the choices they need to make to keep their communities safe. It will be distributed through a combination of allocations directly to First Nations, Inuit and Mtis leadership, and needs-based funding, which will be application driven and extend to First Nations living off reserve as well as Inuit and Mtis living in urban centres. This fund is flexible and can be used to support the priorities of Indigenous leaders and Indigenous communities.More details will follow soon.

With September right around the corner, ISC continues to work with partners to address additional challenges related to the re-opening of schools and to determine how to best respond to the pressures they are facing. We are supporting educational and other supports for children, for example, the procurement of public health measures such as non-medical face masks, acrylic sheets (plexiglass) retrofits and hand sanitizing stations for schools in First Nations communities. As the situation evolves, ISC will support First Nations and their partners in their decision-making process regarding school reopening for on-reserve establishments.

Quick facts

        • Over $2 billion has been committed in specific support to Indigenous and northern communities and organizations.
          • $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.
          • $685 million for the distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund.
          • $10 million for emergency family violence prevention shelters on reserve and in Yukon to support women and children fleeing violence.
          • $72.6 million for health and social services support to the governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
          • $34.3 million for territorial businesses, through CanNor’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
          • $25 million for enhancement to the Nutrition North Canada Subsidy.
          • $17.3 million in support for Northern Air Carriers.
          • $15 million for CanNor’s Northern Business Relief Fund.
          • Up to $306.8 million in interest-free loans to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses.
          • $75.2 million in 2020-21 in distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Mtis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education.
          • $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.
          • $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. The Government of Canada 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. Starting this year, $1 million a year ongoing will also be provided to support engagement with Mtis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Mtis women, girls, LGBTQ and two-spirited people.
          • $117 million in new funding to support community-owned Indigenous businesses and $16 million in new funding to support Indigenous tourism through the pandemic and into recovery.
          • In addition to providing support to hundreds of Indigenous communities across the country, the Indigenous Community Support Fund has supported approximately 260 Indigenous organizations serving Indigenous Peoples in urban centres.

Associated links

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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada