Ottawa announces $650m in COVID funding for indigenous communities

The federal government on Friday announced $650 million in funding for Canada’s indigenous communities to help in areas such as health care, income support and shelters for women.

The funding, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stems from the fact that many First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities are not properly equipped to face the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Of the $650 million, $285 million will be dedicated to the public health sector in providing funding for supplies and social-distancing costs in case of COVID-19 outbreaks in specific communities. 

Meanwhile, $85 million will go towards projects like the establishments of new shelters - since many abused women have suffered from their inability to leave home to escape their domestic partners.

This is on top of a $10-million funding announcement for women/children shelters in indigenous communities back in April, Trudeau said: “No one should be forced to choose between violence and homelessness.”

Friday’s announcement also included a $270-million boost to on-reserve income assistance programs, Trudeau noted.