The federal government has unveiled additional financial support to help off-reserve Indigenous people weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his daily address on Thursday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that $75 million in additional funding will be made available to Indigenous people living off-reserve and in urban centres.
The additional funding will support off-reserve Indigenous populations’ needs, including things like food security, PPE, transportation, educational materials and mental health services.
Though the Prime Minister did not reveal any specific schedule for when applications for this funding will be made available, he did state it will begin to roll out in the coming weeks.
“While all communities have had to wrestle with COVID-19 these past few months, the everyday realities of this crisis are different for everyone,” Trudeau said Thursday during his address.
“To mount an effective response to this crisis, we must adapt our approach and our programs to recognize and meet the particular needs of all Indigenous peoples, including those living in urban areas and off-reserve.”
In mid-March, the government created the $305 million Indigenous Community Support Fund, most of which went to organizations representing First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities to help them prepare for and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
At that time, only $15 million of that was allotted for off-reserve organizations, even though they serve more than half of Canada’s Indigenous population.
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which was seeking $16 million, received just $250,000 of the funding.