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

Last Updated May 29, 2020 at 9:00 am MDT

Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller, right, speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Thursday, May 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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.

That’s 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.