The federal government announces an additional $650 million in funding for Indigenous communities across Canada.
Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says this is to help Indigenous communities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Miller says that although the first wave of COVID-19 appears to be receding, the threat of a second wave is very real and Indigenous communities will be just as vulnerable to it as they were to the first.
The $650 million is on top of the $305 million previously promised to help First Nations reserves, and Inuit and Metis communities with supplies, medical care and facilities that allow for physical distancing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave more details about the funding in his daily morning press conference on Friday, saying the money will be going towards healthcare, income support and new shelters for women.
Trudeau announced the federal government is investing more than $285 million for public health in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.
“Although we’ve made progress, there are still communities that are not properly equipped to handle a COVID-19 outbreak,” said the Prime Minister.
The $285 million will be used to hire more nurses, procure specialized supplies and work with a number of communities on community-driven responses.
Trudeau says although healthcare is essential, there is much more support needed.
“Because of this pandemic, a lot of people also need a hand in paying for the basics.”
The federal leader announced the boosting of the on-reserve income assistance program, to help those living in Indigenous communities pay for things like groceries, cleaning supplies and rent.
A portion will also help communities continue to provide services like skills training.
“The work being done in communities, by members of the community, is very important to help people get through this very challenging time,” said Trudeau.
The last pillar of the funding announced Friday morning is allocating $85 million for new shelters for ingenious women across Canada.
“No one should have to stay in a place where they are unsafe,” said Trudeau. “No one should have to choose between violence and homelessness.”
With files from the Canadian Press