Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an additional $650 million in aid for indigenous communities for health care, income support, and new shelters for women.
Of that funding, $285.1 million will support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities, and $270 million will supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses.
The federal government says $44.8 million over five years will be allocated to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence.
“COVID-19 has further highlighted the unique challenges that already exist for Indigenous peoples and communities,” said Trudeau in a statement. “We are listening to Indigenous peoples, and are working with them to ensure they have the support they need to get through this crisis.”
During Friday’s press conference, Trudeau also said that the federal government is working with provinces on a data-sharing platform for contact tracing.
The prime minister confirmed that the government will continue also discussions regarding 10 days of paid sick leave a year for Canadians “as we enter the recovery phase.”