The following is an excerpt from Indigenous Services Canada's BC Update, dated August 14, 2020. Download the entire BC Region Update here.
Indigenous Services Canada recognizes that First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Indigenous organizations require additional investments to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, and to safely restart community programs and services.
On August 12, Minister Miller announced an additional $305 million in funding through the Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF) to help Indigenous communities and organizations prevent, prepare and respond to COVID-19. These investments are an enhancement to the existing Indigenous Community Support Fund.
This $305 million is the same amount as the original ICSF announced in March. First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and organizations will again receive a formula-based allocation; however, given the inclusion of a needs-based component within the new $305 million, the amount will differ.
Funding will be provided in two ways:
- An allocation-based amount that will flow on a distinctions-basis directly to First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
- Allocations for First Nations will be directed to First Nation and self-governing communities.
- Allocations for Inuit will be provided to Inuit communities through Land Claim Organizations in each of the 4 Inuit Nunangat regions.
- Allocations for Métis will be provided to Métis communities through the five Métis National Governing members (Métis Nation British Columbia, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation- Saskatchewan, and Métis Nation of Ontario).
- A needs-based process in which all Indigenous communities and organizations, whether they be located on or off reserve, will be able to submit applications for needs-based support.
- Details on the criteria and process for accessing funding through the needs-based process will be forthcoming and we will update you as soon as possible.
These funds will provide Indigenous communities and organizations with resources to implement their own solutions, informed by public health guidance, related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As was the case for earlier funding under the ICSF, this new funding can be used for a wide variety of measures such as supporting Elders and vulnerable community members, addressing food insecurity, educational and other supports for children, mental health assistance and emergency response services, preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and more.
The new funding could also be used for education supports for communities with schools. Its flexibility allows for funding learning packages and supports for students on and off reserve. We are working internally and with First Nations and provincial partners to determine how best to support additional costs that will ensure a safe return to school, such as: transportation, cleaning and ventilation, technology, personal protective equipment.