Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa will spend an additional $204 million targeted at child care, education and infrastructure to help Indigenous communities fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau says the government is spending $120 million to support early learning and child-care facilities in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities during the pandemic.
He says the government is providing $25 million to help Indigenous post-secondary institutions with increased costs related to the pandemic, and $59 million to improve infrastructure in First Nations to meet COVID-19 health and safety standards.
The new money is on top of more than $2.2 billion the federal government has already allocated to help First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities get through the health crisis.
Read More: APTN News coverage of COVID-19
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says today’s announcement brings the government funding for Indigenous communities and organizations during COVID-19 to almost $2.5 billion.
Among other things, the government has committed $685 million for the Indigenous Communities Support Fund, which includes funding to address food insecurity, education and other support for children.
It is spending another $650 million to help Indigenous communities respond to the pandemic and for income support.
And it has devoted $122 million to help ensure a safe return to schools on reserves.
On Oct. 8, Miller warned that cases of COVID-19 were on the rise as the second wave of the pandemic hit.
Miller also warned communities against easing restrictions and efforts to stem the spread of the virus.
The areas of most concern were Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.
“Given what we have seen in the last two weeks, there is little doubt that the second wave of COVID will hit Indigenous peoples harder than the first wave,” said Miller at the time.
On Friday, the Manitoba government announced that it’s ordering many businesses in the Winnipeg region to close after a record increase in COVID-19 cases.
The province is reporting 480 new COVID-19 cases – more than double the previous daily record.
Case numbers in the province have been rising for several days, which is testing the capacity of intensive care units in hospitals.