Federal government announces more funding for friendship centres, Indigenous organizations during pandemic

Friendship centres and other Indigenous organizations in the NWT are eligible for additional funding announced by the federal government last week.

On May 21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said an additional $75 million will go to address the needs of Indigenous people living off-reserve and in urban centres during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CKLB asked Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to clarify what the funding means for NWT residents.

“This additional funding will support more community-based projects that address the critical needs of off-reserve First Nations and urban Indigenous populations during this crisis, including food security, mental health support services, and sanitation and protective equipment,” said Martine Stevens, ISC media relations. “It could also help with other needs, such as support for Elders, transportation, and educational materials for Indigenous children and youth.”

However, Stevens said the federal government is still working out the details on how this funding will be doled out.

“We expect this funding to start rolling out in the coming weeks,” she said.

The $75 million is in addition to the $15 million Trudeau announced on April 1 specifically for “regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations”.

Stevens says this funding is also in addition to the $305 million previously earmarked to help Indigenous people across the country respond to COVID-19. Of that total, only $12 million came to Indigenous governments in the NWT.

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.