$12 million coming to NWT Indigenous communities to help respond to COVID-19

Inuvialuit corporate groupThe main offices of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in Inuvik. (CKLB file photo).

First Nations in the Northwest Territories will be getting just over $6 million, while the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation will be receiving $5.85 million to address coronavirus concerns.

That funding is part of the $305 million dollars that the federal government announced last week specifically for Indigenous communities across Canada.

A spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) said communities will receive the bulk of the money “with maximum flexibility so they can adapt their response to local needs.”

Some of the possible uses include:

  •   Support for Elders and vulnerable community members
  •   Measures to address food insecurity
  •   Educational and other support for children
  •   Mental health assistance and emergency response services
  •   Preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

The money will be allocated based on community remoteness and “well-being”. Remoteness is measured as the proximity to surrounding communities and population size. ISC also has a Community Well-Being Index which measures socio-economic scores for residents in a given community, including education, labour force activity, income and housing.

The $12 million is also in addition to the $2.6 million announced by Indigenous Services Canada on March 30 dedicated to on-the-land trips as a way to self-isolate.

The federal government also set aside $15 million nationally for “regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations,” such as friendship centres.

To access this funding, these organizations need to apply directly to ISC.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.