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Helping Canada’s Indigenous peoples during COVID-19: Ken Coates in the Toronto Sun – MLI

Indigenous peoples will be hit disproportionately by the health, economic and social consequences of COVID-19. Overcrowding and poor health-care systems leave many vulnerable to the disease itself. Job losses and project delays are adding to the economic crisis. Complications in government policy-making and program delivery will have a detrimental impact as well.

Serious disruption has already occurred in Indigenous territories. What is up for discussion is how best federal, provincial and territorial governments can support First Nations.

Many Indigenous communities moved quickly to shut down movements in and out of their towns. They have taken protective measures and have made sure elders are cared for and food supplies are properly distributed. But these communities have limited resources, constrained authority and an over-reliance on the federal government.

The federal government moved quickly to authorize additional funds for Indigenous communities. Community leaders responded that the amount of money was too small. There were worries, too, that the standard government processes would add to the time needed to secure the money and the expense of managing it.

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