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Indigenous Services Canada says it will budget $2.5 million toward the Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s mental health and addiction program
OTTAWA — The federal government is committing new funding toward harm reduction for First Nations in northern Ontario, in a move that one local leader says provides a “sense of relief” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indigenous Services Canada says it will budget $2.5 million toward the Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s mental health and addiction program, which aims to provide communities in northern Ontario with high-quality health-care and harm reduction services, such as crisis counselling and addiction support.
Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler told The Canadian Press that the federal funding is welcome news, as the number of emergency calls relating to domestic issues, suicide and overdoses across NAN communities has skyrocketed in recent weeks.
“Right from the start … we were way behind the 8-ball,” Fiddler said, pointing to long-standing issues within Indigenous communities such as boil-water advisories and lack of health services as factors that compounded the threat of the novel coronavirus.
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