#Canada; #IndigenousServices; #IndigenousCommunitySupportFund; #COVID19Pandemic
Ottawa, Mar 26 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made Mar 26 by Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services outlining the the details of the $305 million for the new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF) to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities related to COVID-19, media reports said.
Marc Miller. Image credit: Twitter
Miller said that this new ICSF is the result of vital discussions with Indigenous leadership and communities across Canada and will further support not only the evolving needs of their population but also in making their own decisions where this fund is most required.
The Government of Canada recognizes the top priority of the health, safety and well-being of all people in Canada, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, who are more vulnerable during the present crisis of COVID19 pandemic outbreak.
"We are working to ensure communities have access to needs based resources, open communications, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to strengthen communities' resilience to this virus," said Dr. Tom Wong, Chief Medical Officer of Public Health for Indigenous Services Canada.
The Indigenous Community Support Fund will be distributed as follows:
$215 million for First Nations: allocated to each First Nation based on population, remoteness and community well-being; $45 million for Inuit, which will flow to each of the four land claims organizations through an allocation determined by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and regional Inuit land claims organizations; $30 million for Métis Nation communities, which will flow through each of the Governing Members; $15 million for regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members living away from their communities, and to regional organizations such as Friendship Centres and the Métis Settlements General Council of Alberta.
These new funds will flow directly to Indigenous communities and could be used for measures including, but not limited to: support for Elders and vulnerable; address food insecurity; educational and other support for children; mental health assistance and emergency response services; preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Fund is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Fund designated for First Nations, Inuit and Metis announced on March 11, 2020 and to the initial $50 million provided to support the immediate public health response.
A $10 million fund for emergency family violence prevention shelters on reserve and in Yukon had been created by Canada to support women and children fleeing violence, as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 18, 2020.
The Indigenous Community Support Fund is also in addition to the support of public health issues, including the provision of personal protective equipment, testing and health care personnel.
It is also in addition to funding to address the growth in demand for income assistance and for emergency planning programming.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis will also benefit from all of the government's efforts to support and improve the health response to COVID-19, and to reduce the impact of the situation on workers and businesses. The Government of Canada recognizes more support may be needed and will continue to offer financial support for Indigenous communities to meet their evolving needs.
More information on how the ICSF will be distributed is available at canada.ca/coronavirus-info-indigenous.
Indigenous Services Canada is working fast in processing personal protective equipment requests to ensure First Nation communities are ready to respond to COVID-19 as effectively as possible and as of March 25, 2020, has shipped or delivered 170 personal protective equipment requests with 32 in progress.