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 has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com