Our response to COVID-19

What we are doing

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) works closely with Indigenous partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada, provincial and territorial governments and other Government of Canada departments to protect the health and safety of Indigenous peoples.

In response to COVID-19, this includes:

PPE distribution

As of May 7, 2024, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has shipped 2,689 orders for PPE to First Nations communities. The orders include:

  • hand sanitizers
  • N95 masks
  • isolation shields
  • gloves
  • gowns and medical masks

Community projects

Here is what ISC has done in partnership with communities:

  • From March 23, 2020 to March 31, 2023:
    • funded 686 mobile structures:
      • 178 stockpile structures have been procured to date. Stockpiles are prepositioned in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario to support both fly-in and road-access communities.
      • 508 structures delivered directly to 147 communities
    • identified 135 existing community spaces that can be upgraded or retooled to support surge health infrastructure needs
      • re-tooling involves modifying these spaces to provide additional protections to clients and staff. For example, installing cough shields at administration desks or flooring materials suitable for sterilization practices
    • initiated 270 site servicing projects
      • site servicing projects include small repairs, upgrades or small site servicing projects to create a safe and operational space, such as repairs to a roof, installing generators or setting up foundations to set the temporary mobile structure upon
    • funded 200 hotel or space rentals
    • funded 7 dental clinics in Northern Ontario communities for minor capital projects to support business resumption plans
    • funded 6 units in First Nations in Manitoba to provide long-term, safe and comfortable areas for residents of personal care homes to receive visitors. Units are delivered and operational
  • As of April 29, 2024:
    • deployed 978 nurses and 1,344 paramedics in addition to the existing workforce to support First Nations communities since March 2020
    • facilitated the air transportation of 11,784 health human resources from across Canada, to and from First Nations communities in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta

South of 60

ISC's network of regional health emergency management coordinators, communicable disease nurses, environmental public health officers and medical officers advises and supports First Nations communities and leads on public health emergency preparedness and response south of 60. ISC funds or directly employs public health, home care and primary care nurses across many First Nations communities.

ISC has organized charter flights so that health and infrastructure professionals can serve fly-in First Nations communities south of 60. These flights provide medical supplies and the equipment required to maintain critical infrastructure such as water treatment plants.

North of 60

North of 60, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada is working with Transport Canada and territorial governments to ensure continuity of routes for goods and essential services.

In the territories, primary health care is the responsibility of the territorial governments. ISC is working closely with First Nations and Inuit partners and territorial governments to respond to COVID-19, and will be available to provide surge capacity support in a timely manner if needed.

Métis communities

When it comes to preparedness and response in Métis communities, the primary guidance and support comes from the provincial government.

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