Feds pledge $75m to Indigenous people living in cities, off-reserve

James Marshall
May 23, 2020

Community organizations representing almost a million off-reserve Indigenous people will receive an additional $75 million in COVID-19 funding from the federal government.

The fund has been assisting Indigenous people with food, clothing and supplies such as personal protective equipment or computers for children doing homework.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning outlined what will be needed for Canada to further open its economy in the coming months, including better testing and contact-tracing capabilities to stem new outbreaks of COVID-19.

Last week, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples also submitted a court application to challenge the federal relief money that off-reserve Indigenous peoples have been allocated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Association of Friendship Centres. which is a network of more than 100 friendship centres and provincial and territorial associations across Canada, had raised concerns about funding amounts allotted to organizations helping urban Indigenous people.

Trudeau said Ottawa is ready to help provinces with contact-tracing backlogs, and Ontario has already taken the federal government up on its offer.

"The government and Air Canada are washing their hands of this devastating situation and the only options our members are left with is either quit or get laid off and go on EI", said Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The organization says the government has "abandoned its fiduciary responsibility towards a significant number of Indigenous peoples during this pandemic".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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