COVID-19: First Nations community guide on accessing additional supports

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Role of Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working closely with First Nations partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada, other departments such as Health Canada and Public Safety Canada as well as provincial and territorial counterparts to protect the health and safety of First Nations and support First Nations communities in responding to the public health crisis resulting from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

ISC's regional health emergency management coordinators, communicable disease coordinators, regional medical officers and regional emergency management leads are working with First Nations communities in support of public health emergency preparedness and response activities.

If you want to know more about what ISC is doing to support planning, preparedness, and responses to COVID-19, you can access the following video or visit the website at the following links:

COVID-19 specific funding announced by Government of Canada to support First Nations public health response

The Government of Canada's response to COVID-19 complements and is integrated into the broader pandemic public health and safety measures of the provinces and territories.

In order to support First Nations in preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic the government recently announced 2 funding tracks through which First Nations communities can access resources:

  1. $100 million for areas of federal responsibility, including for First Nations, Inuit and Métis community public health needs. These funds will:
    • respond to identified needs to update and/or activate pandemic plans
    • support an effective allocation of the limited public health and primary health care capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak
    • align response efforts with scientific evidence as determined by a medical officer of health
    • address immediate needs in the short term
  2. $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund, which helps Indigenous communities prevent, prepare and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional public health-related emergency supports available for First Nations communities

While it is difficult to know exactly how, when or where COVID-19 might affect communities, it is important for all First Nations communities to be prepared by updating and testing their all-hazard and pandemic plans.

A. Supports through the First Nation and Inuit Health Branch

The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) provides funding and expertise to First Nations communities for developing and maintaining their all hazard or pandemic plans in all provinces except British Columbia (BC).

In BC, FNIHB will be supporting the First Nations Heath Authority (FNHA) who is coordinating community requests for communities. In the Yukon and Northwest Territories, FNIHB will collaborate with First Nations and the Territorial Governments to identify the need for additional supports.

On-reserve communities who require assistance in updating their plans should contact their ISC regional office.

Here are some examples of public health-related emergency eligible expenditures that can be submitted. Recognizing the increased demand globally and across Canada for surge health capacity and supplies, we encourage communities to take a collaborative and coordinated approach to organizing surge capacity and procuring supplies wherever possible with neighboring communities, local public health authorities or through Tribal Councils or First Nations Regional Health Authorities.

Examples of eligible COVID-19 expenses
  • Community or service provider level infection prevention and control supplies (such as soap, sanitizers, disinfectants, personal clinical supplies, community training)
  • Medical transportation under the Non-Insured Health Benefits program: Travel (air, ground and water) and meals and accommodations. High-risk individuals are eligible for private ground transportation, such as taxi, and private accommodations, such as hotel
  • Emergency transportation and additional escorts under the Non-Insured Heath Benefits program: Travel (air, ground and water) and meals and accommodations. High-risk individuals are eligible for private ground transportation, such as taxi, and private accommodations, such as hotel
  • Health human resources surge capacity: primary care nurses and public health nurses, or other health providers such as paramedics and community workers
  • Mental health services to support communities, particularly when they are facing affected individuals
  • Adaptation of community space for surge capacity access to medical care or for self-isolation or other related purposes and additional operation and maintenance cost incurred by surge capacity requirements
  • Storage costs of supplies
  • On-the-land initiatives to support social isolation or food security
  • Other types of expenses considered on a case-by-case basis.
To access personal protective equipment (PPE), consult:

B. Child and Family Services and Jordan's Principle

Existing processes are still in place to support Child and Family Services, and Jordan's Principle. Expenses can continue to be submitted through these existing processes, even if related to specific supports to respond to COVID-19 response efforts by First Nations child and family services agencies or by families or service providers related to the needs of specific children.

How to submit a request

Consult your ISC regional office when submitting your request.

See Annex A for an example of a template to submit requests for funding for costs planned or incurred by your community due to COVID-19.

To submit a request for funding or reimbursement for costs incurred to update or activate your pandemic or all-hazard plan beyond your current funding levels, submit a list of planned expenses or keep a list of incurred expenses that includes information related to:

See Annex A for an example of a template to submit requests for funding for costs planned or incurred by your community due to COVID-19. Only one application is required to access any of the above requests, with the exception of Jordan's Principle or Child and Family Services agency claims who should continue to work directly with their regular contacts (such as the 24/7 Jordan's Principle call centre or regional focal point).

How First Nations communities access personal protective equipment

Communities who are not able to have orders for personal protective equipment (PPE) filled through regular procurement channels, such as PPE suppliers, or provincial or territorial PPE stockpiles, should contact the regional medical officer in their region at ISC to let them know.

To support ongoing access to essential health services, following guidelines from provincial public health departments, requests will be assessed from communities who provide any of the following:

PPE shipped to communities will correspond to their population size, and type of service provided.

In order to practice good stewardship of the ISC PPE stockpile, facilities and health providers that do not offer primary care services may be approved to receive gloves and masks for routine use. ISC is continuing to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada to coordinate supply levels so we can replenish the stockpile as needed.

Once PPE arrives in your community, please email (cc to regional office) to confirm that the shipment has been received.

ISC is also helping share information on the appropriate, evidence-informed use of PPE so health care providers know what to use in what situations and to make sure they are safe. The safety and preparedness of our front line workers is key to making sure we have a strong, coordinated response to COVID-19.

Annex A: Template to request funding under COVID-19

COVID-19 funding relief request template

Name of community: ________________________________________

Date of submission: _________________________________________

Estimates/Invoices/Receipts for actual costs incurred for items and/or services purchased (please list below and attach photocopies of invoices with your funding request) or submit a table of funding estimates

  • Invoice/receipt 1…
  • Invoice/receipt 2…
  • Invoice/receipt 3…


Item/service purchased Date of purchase Cost of purchase Reason for request
Additional bed linens March 16, 2020 $100.00 Additional bed linens to support infection prevention control measures in communities where self-isolation of members occurring in separate facility from house
Soap – cleaning March 15, 2020 $75.00 Soap required for increased infection prevention control measures in community

Annex B: Process to request PPE

Contact your regional medical officer and they will assist you in obtaining the information below so that your request can be submitted to the ISC national stockpile.

COVID-19 funding relief request template
Community name  
Community contact #1 (name, phone number, email)  
Community contact #2 (name, phone number, email)  
Delivery address (must be a physical address, not a PO Box)  
On-reserve population  
Is the community transferred? yes
Please specify what health services in the community are participating in this PPE request.
  • COVID-19 testing and management
  • Temporary isolation facility
  • Residential care facility
  • Other essential health services
  • Ground medical transport
  • First responders
Are there confirmed COVID-19 cases in this community? yes
Does your facility offer COVID-19 testing in the community? yes
Specify site of testing:
  • health facility
  • in home
  • drive through
  • other (specify)
Does your facility manage severe COVID-19 cases in the community until they can be transferred (for example, nursing station)? yes
Is this PPE request for a temporary facility (such as a school, community centre, temporary structure) that has been mobilized to support COVID-19 isolation or treatment capacity in the community? yes
Purpose of facility:
  • Isolation of mild or suspect cases
  • Treatment of severe cases
  • Capacity (number of beds):
  • Number of staff or volunteers per day:
  • Please provide any additional information you can in "Context" below
Does your facility offer residential health care in the community (such as long term care, group home, Elders home) yes
Number of residents:
Does your facility offer essential health services1 in the community (such as through nurse practitioner, physician office, nursing station, home care, public health) yes
Does your facility provide ground medical transport to patients in the community (for example, to be tested in a nearby community) yes
Is this PPE request for community based First Nations band police (not RCMP), or other first responders (for instance community paramedics, community fire fighters)? yes
If yes, estimate the number of first responders:
Item Quantity requested
Gowns: universal Number of gowns requested:  
Pairs of gloves: small Number of pairs of gloves requested:  
Pairs of gloves: medium Number of pairs of gloves requested:  
Pairs of gloves: large Number of pairs of gloves requested:  
Pairs of gloves: extra large Number of pairs of gloves requested:  
Face shields Number of face shields requested:  
Procedure masks Number of masks requested:  
N95 Respirator Model 1860 Number of respirators requested:  
N95 Respirator Model 1860S Number of respirators requested:  
N95 Respirator Model 1870+ Aura Number of respirators requested:  
Alcohol-based hand rub Number of 236 ml bottles requested:  
Additional comments or context:    
1 Essential services are those that the interruption of which would immediately endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population. This may include but is not limited to emergency outpatient visits, COVID-19 testing, safe injection sites, detox services, prenatal care, emergency dental services, pharmacy services, other as deemed necessary by the region.
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