Accessing additional public health support for First Nations and Inuit communities during COVID-19

First Nations and Inuit communities can access additional needs based public health support to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 preparedness and response in the territories, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut

New: Direct allocation of COVID-19 public health funding

As Indigenous communities face an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is providing $125 million in direct allocations to First Nations to expedite the flow of public health funds. To find out more:

On this page

Who can access this public health support

About the support

ISC works with Indigenous communities in the provinces to support the public health response to COVID-19 with funding totaling $1.4 billion since the start of the pandemic, including $478.1 million in additional support announced in Budget 2021.

This funding supports community-led responses to the pandemic, including providing targeted increases in primary health care resources for First Nations communities.

In British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) coordinates health specific community requests.

Territorial governments are responsible for primary care and public health for all residents of the territories. In Nunavik the Government of Quebec is responsible for delivery of primary health care and public health. The Government of Nunatsiavut delivers public health while the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is responsible for primary health care.

Consult COVID-19 preparedness and response in the territories, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut.

Eligible items

ISC continues to work with provinces and territories to ensure there is testing access for Indigenous communities and organizations.

If communities are unable to access rapid tests from other sources, contact your regional COVID support coordinator with attention to the Regional Medical Officer of Health, explaining that you are not able to access tests from the provinces or territories, and provide:

Contact your regional COVID support coordinator

Examples of COVID-19 public health expenses that may be supported include costs related to:

Continued administration of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters in Indigenous communities

  • Indigenous adults are prioritized to receive COVID-19 vaccines boosters
  • Children aged 5 to 11 are now eligible for vaccines
  • Ongoing outreach to increase vaccine uptake for adults and youth aged 12 to 17 in low vaccinated communities

Eligible expenses to support efforts in community vaccine rollout and administration can include activities such as:

  • supporting health workers to run and monitor vaccine clinics, including:
    • client registration
    • interpretation services
    • client education
    • data entry for reporting
    • administrative and logistics support
  • surge health care professionals for vaccine administration, for dose draw-up and inventory control
  • CPR-trained staff to oversee observation area for adverse events following immunization
  • Elder or traditional healer support to promote vaccine confidence
  • mental wellness workers
  • runners to monitor and replenish clinic supplies
  • supplies and material related to running the clinics, such as:
    • signage
    • translation services
    • catering for clinic staff
    • packaged snacks for clients to reduce fainting risk
  • transportation drivers to vaccine clinics
  • child care providers for community members attending clinic

Supplies and storage

  • Personal protective equipment for essential workers in communities that require:
    • non-medical masks, surgical masks or N95
    • gloves, hand sanitizer
    • these would be supplies not covered by the provincial, territorial or ISC stockpile which are dedicated to health care workers in homes and community long-term care, health facilities or caregivers
  • Infection prevention and control supplies such as soap, sanitizers, disinfectants and personal care supplies
  • Physical distancing markers or installation of Plexiglas shields where necessary to minimize virus transmission
  • Storage cost of supplies
  • Additional personal protective equipment, non-medical masks and disinfection products are available to organizations serving Indigenous communities at no cost through the Essential Services Contingency Reserve operated by Public Services and Procurement Canada

Surge health infrastructure

Requests continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. First Nations communities are asked to work with ISC regional offices before:

  • adapting community space for surge health infrastructure, isolation and accommodations and operational and maintenance costs
  • purchasing mobile health-response units offering enhanced health services such as public health outreach, screening or testing, isolation or accommodations for health professionals (rental of space for isolation or accommodation may also be an option)
  • adapting community events, workplaces or ceremonies to ensure physical distancing and other public health measures are in place
  • decommissioning existing temporary infrastructure or adapted spaces

Staffing and surge capacity

  • Staffing additional primary care nurses, public health nurses, paramedics and community workers
  • Community training

Food security to support physical isolation

  • Activities on the land to support physical isolation and food security
  • Support for people self-isolating on the advice of a medical professional can be considered as an eligible expense to help ensure continued self-isolation
  • In the case of the 3 territories, and in collaboration with territorial and provincial governments, this also includes food security to support isolation hubs for Inuit communities

Supports to update, review or activate pandemic response plans

  • Pandemic data collection, analysis and reporting
  • Establishment of health emergency measures committee and related expenses
  • Support from public health expertise
  • Development and implementation of de-confinement plans

Other types of expenses

  • Working with other governments
  • Translation of documents or messages into Indigenous languages, English or French
  • Minor equipment required for public health employees to work from home during COVID-19
  • As of October 1, 2020, perimeter security requests are funded under the Indigenous Community Support Fund.

For other types of funding available, consult Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities.

Submit a request for public health support

Consult the First Nations and Inuit health regional offices when submitting a request for funding or for eligibility questions.

Include the following information when requesting funding:

Template to request public health support under COVID-19

Name of community: ________________________________________
Date of submission: _________________________________________
Name of authorized requestor (print name):_____________________
Approval signature (authorized signature): ______________________

Submit estimates for purchase requests, see example below.

Requested Item Cost per unit Quantity Total cost Reason for request
Bed linens $20 per flat bed sheet 5 flat sheets $100.00 Additional 5 bed sheets to support infection prevention control measures in communities where self-isolation of members occurring in separate facility from house
Bed linens $100/package of 5 sheets 1 package $100.00 Additional 5 bed sheets to support infection prevention control measures in communities where self-isolation of members occurring in separate facility from house


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