On Friday, our government announced over $200 million in new funding to provide support to Indigenous peoples and communities during COVID-19 with a distinctions-based approach. This funding will focus on early learning and child care, infrastructure, and post-secondary institutions which are being forced to adapt to the “new normal”.
– $120.7 million to help Indigenous early learning and child care facilities safely operate during the pandemic. The investment is expected to support over 35,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation children who access culturally relevant Indigenous early learning and child care programs. This funding will be co-managed through existing early learning and child care partnerships. It will assist Indigenous communities in addressing their most critical needs, including implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, hiring additional staff, and offering training.
– $59 million for First Nations to adapt their on reserve community infrastructure. First Nations can use the funds to implement public health and safety measures in community buildings by adding hand washing stations, buying hand sanitizers, personal protective equipment for staff, and cleaning supplies, installing signage and barriers to promote physical distancing, and doing safety checks and upgrades to existing ventilation systems.
– $25.9 million to provide immediate support to Indigenous post-secondary institutions in 2020-21. The investment will help these institutions address increased costs and financial uncertainty resulting from the pandemic, including putting in place supports to retain staff, automating services to process student applications and registrations, adapting courses for online learning, and implementing public health and safety measures for in-person services.