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

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

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Who can access this public health support

About the support

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) works with Indigenous communities in the provinces to support the public health response to COVID-19 with additional funding of $285 million. This funding supports community-led responses to the pandemic, and provides 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

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

Supplies and storage

  • Personal protective equipment for essential workers in communities that require:
    • non-medical masks or surgical masks
    • 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

Surge health infrastructure

Requests are being 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

Staffing and surge capacity

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

Mental health and wellbeing

  • Mental health and addictions services, including treatment centers, and funding to adapt services to maintain physical distancing
  • Access to virtual platforms to safely provide tele-health sessions
  • Surge capacities for crisis lines
  • Virtually facilitated peer support sessions for youth and community members

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 three territories, and in collaboration with territorial and provincial governments, this also includes food security to support isolation hubs for Inuit communities

Perimeter security

Community perimeter security specific to public health is eligible for funding as of April 1, 2020.

  • Security checkpoints to minimize non-essential border travel through screening and access control
  • Additional security supports in the community may be needed to maintain public health services and prevent risks to healthcare professionals
  • Eligible expenses could include compensation for security personnel, food, personal equipment, such as masks and safety gear, equipment such as traffic cones, vehicle use, training cost, travel and accommodation if required

Supports to update, review or activate pandemic response plans

  • Establishment of health emergency measures committee
  • 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

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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