Kenora Rainy River MPP and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford, is disputing Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa’s claims that Ontario hasn’t provided enough supports to First Nation communities, in the fight against COVID-19.

Earlier this week in a prepared statement, Mamakwa, the NDP’s Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Critic, said First Nation communities have been asking for additional supports from Ontario for months, and Premier Doug Ford’s ‘lack of planning’ left remote communities vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

In response, Rickford stressed that Ontario has dedicated over $37 million in funding to address the unique challenges that Indigenous communities face in response to COVID-19.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have remained in constant communications with First Nation leaders to ensure that their voices and concerns are heard by our government,” said Rickford, in a prepared statement through his ministry.

“We continue to deliver financial support and supplies to First Nations communities to ensure Indigenous communities, organizations and leadership have the tools and supports they need to prepare for and mitigate challenges related to COVID-19.”

“Our government continues to thank Indigenous leaders across the North for their strong leadership to keep their communities safe during these unprecedented times.”

The $37 million of funding includes:

- $16.4 million to help with distributing goods and supplies, transportation support, self-isolation, prevention and awareness, and pandemic training,

- $10 million to ensure the continuity of services offered by Indigenous social services agencies to vulnerable children, youth, adults and families during the outbreak,

- $4 million to ensure the continuity of services at remote and northern airports serving Indigenous communities,

- $7.4 million to help social services providers, charities and non-profits delivering critical housing services to Indigenous people living off-reserve,

- Over $1 million to Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Grand Council Treaty #3 for the purchase of emergency food, household goods and baby supplies to remote and norther First Nations and service providers.

For more information:
‘Our communities are in a critical situation,’ Mamakwa on COVID-19
Rickford weighs in on social gathering limits