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

Press Release

From: Indigenous Services Canada

July 31, 2020 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working with Indigenous leadership to flatten the COVID-19 curve in First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities as leaders are working to ensure their members have access to the most up-to-date public health information and services.

As of July 30, ISC is aware of these confirmed cases of COVID-19 for First Nations on reserve in provinces:

  • 404 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19
  • 32 hospitalizations
  • 350 recovered cases

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

The health and wellbeing of the community members of the island of Haida Gwaii, BC is a top priority and ISC is closely monitoring the recent cluster of cases in the community. ISC has been in contact with the First Nations Health Authority to ensure necessary resources are in place to combat the further spread of COVID-19 and stand ready to deploy additional surge capacity supports as needed.

Indigenous peoples and communities must remain vigilant in employing measures to protect themselves, their families and communities.

While many provinces and territories are at varying stages of re-opening, we must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the size of group gatherings and continue to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 arms-length from others (approximately 2 meters or 6 feet).

Additionally, individuals can help by:

  • avoiding all non-essential trips in the community;
  • limiting contact with people at higher risk, such as Elders, those in poor health, or with underlying health conditions;
  • wearing a non-medical mask when physical distancing is not possible;
  • following the recommended public health guidelines outlined by your province of residence. ISC is supporting communities’ COVID-19 response plans by strengthening health service capacity, community health infrastructure, infection prevention and control, and responding to requests for medical equipment and other supplies. At each stage of the pandemic, work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders and communities continues to ensure that we meet their ongoing needs, fill the gaps when preventing and responding to COVID-19, and assist sectors of these economies so that they are all able to recover from this pandemic.

ISC supports First Nations control of First Nations education. While provincial school re-openings will guide potential approaches, First Nations will make decisions on re-opening based on what they feel is the safest option for students. ISC recognizes that this is an evolving situation and is working with First Nations and their partners to address additional supports required to re-open schools come September, and to determine how to best respond to the pressure First Nations are facing.

Quick facts

  • Approximately $1.7 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.
  • $380 million for a distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund which includes $90 million to support Indigenous peoples living in urban areas.
  • $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, for health and social support.
  • $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 Métis 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 Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and 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.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Vanessa Adams
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada


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