That’s in addition to $305 million previously promised to help First Nations reserves, and Inuit and Métis 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.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to comment on the funding increase, which includes measures such as hiring more health workers, building isolation facilities or purchasing medical supplies and equipment.
Another part of the funding is to help residents in these remote communities pay for the pandemic-induced increase in their cost of living.
And a third part is to help communities build women’s shelters amid reports that domestic violence has spiked as families have been forced to isolate themselves to curb the spread of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19.
Of that $305 million previously announced, $15 million was allotted to organizations that serve urban and off-reserve Indigenous People, who make up more than half of Canada’s Indigenous population. The government last week added another $75 million for off-reserve organizations.
Residents of remote Indigenous communities are considered among the most vulnerable during the pandemic.
They often have no ready access to health care and many live in over-crowded conditions that are ripe for spread of disease and make it difficult to isolate those who may have been exposed.
While there have been some isolated outbreaks, the worst fears of officials about COVID-19 spreading like wildfire through Indigenous communities have so far not materialized.
However, officials warn the crisis is far from over and Canada could face a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the fall.
© 2020 The Canadian Press