Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that $ 285 million of this amount will support rapid public health responses to Aboriginal communities in the face of a COVID-19 outbreak.
“These funds will go to more nurses, help get specialized supplies, and support work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities on ongoing community interventions,” said Trudeau outside his home on Friday. from Rideau Cottage.
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau announces new funding for Aboriginal communities
The federal government had already committed $ 305 million to help First Nations reserves and Inuit and Métis communities, with supplies, medical care and facilities to enable physical distance.
Since this initial funding was announced in March, Indigenous leaders across Canada have said it will not be enough to keep the most vulnerable from falling through the cracks.
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Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde applauded the new investment on Friday, saying he once again urged Trudeau to do more in a recent conversation.
“Today (Minister of Indigenous Services) Marc Miller and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have made the commitments necessary to ensure that no one is left behind,” Bellegarde said in a tweet.
Although the first wave of COVID-19 appears to be receding, the threat of a second wave is real and indigenous communities continue to be among the most vulnerable populations due to long-standing health and social disparities in their communities, a said Miller.
“The federal government has direct responsibility for providing direct health care in certain First Nations communities and these funds allow us to meet our obligation to provide quality care and to support it, especially in times of crisis”, a- he declared.
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The money announced Friday will also go to some of the most vulnerable individuals and families who depend on the income assistance program on reserve, so that they will not have to choose between food and rent during the crisis.
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The program will see an overall increase of $ 270 million, of which $ 139 million will go to the COVID-19 direct response, and the rest will go to maintaining core funding for this program to ensure client continuity during the crisis.
“Our collective goal is to ensure that individuals and families can get through this pandemic with as much support as possible – that they can face this new reality with as little stress and anxiety as possible. their income and that they can, above all, stay safe and healthy, “said Miller.
Since the start of the pandemic, groups and shelters working with Aboriginal women have reported a sharp increase in domestic violence, as COVID-19 restrictions keep families at home.
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To address these concerns, Miller announced that Ottawa will spend $ 44.8 million over five years to build 10 shelters in First Nations communities and two in the territories to help women and children flee the violence.
The government will also provide $ 40.8 million to cover the operating costs of these new shelters in the first five years, and $ 10.2 million annually thereafter.
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Ottawa commits to invest an additional $ 1 million annually to hire Métis leaders and service providers to provide refuge for women fleeing violence and to help community-led violence prevention projects .
“No one should have to stay in an unsafe place, no one should be forced to choose between violence or homelessness,” said Trudeau.
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