Urban Indigenous groups are central to Toronto’s COVID-19 response
Since the beginning of the pandemic, community-based organizations and community leadership have been on the front-lines to ensure the safety and well-being of Indigenous Peoples living in urban communities.
Their work is paramount in protecting the health of this vulnerable population. They have been advocating and providing supports and services for shelters, distribution of medication and traditional medicines, food delivery and financial assistance to address the immediate COVID-19 coordination of programming.
The Canadian Government has been providing funding through the Indigenous Community Support Fund’s urban and off-reserve stream to deliver these essential services and programs to First Nations living off-reserve and Indigenous Peoples living in urban areas to address the critical needs during this crisis and ensure no one is left behind.
“We are so grateful to the Indigenous organizations who have taken on an incredible amount of work since the beginning of the pandemic to protect First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples living in the Greater Toronto Area. They have been making sure that families do not go without food, have put measures in place to ensure the homeless have a safe and secure environment to sleep at night, and providing the necessary protective equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.
Their work has been exemplary in helping to save lives and limit the spread of COVID-19. We are proud to be their partners in protecting the health and safety of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples living in the GTA .” The Honourable Carolyn Bennett Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
The Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) received approximately $7 million in funding to develop a TASSC COVID-19 Emergency Community Relief Support to ensure Indigenous Peoples living in the Greater Toronto Area have access to the required resources to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
This critical funding will allow TASSC and its 18 member agencies to purchase protective equipment, provide food services, emergency hotel sheltering costs, educational and learning supports for children and youth, and access to basic communication tools like mobile minutes or access to Internet services.
A total of $90 million has been provided, through the Indigenous Community Support Fund, to support Indigenous organizations providing services to First Nations people living off-reserve, and Indigenous Peoples in urban areas. Approximately 260 Indigenous organizations across the country have been supported to date by the urban and off-reserve stream under the Indigenous Community Support Fund.