Another $650M in COVID-19 aid bound for Indigenous communities, Miller says

OTTAWA — Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the federal government will spend another $650 million to help Indigenous communities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of this, $285 million is new funding to support rapid public health responses in Indigenous communities when faced with an oubreak of the virus.

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This money is in addition to $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.

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.

Miller also announced an increase in funding to the on-reserve income assistance program of $270 million to ensure the vulnerable families who rely on this program don't have to choose between food and rent during the crisis.

To address increased incidents of domestic violence against Indigenous women caused in part by governments urging Canadians to stay home, Miller announced 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 fleeing violence.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.

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