As part of national efforts to aid in the recovery and support of some of its hardest-hit communities, the Canadian Liberal government announced in March a support fund of $305 million to address the immediate needs of several First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities and various indigenous organizations1.
While the funds have been given directly to each community to be allocated as needed, there are many indigenous folks living outside of these areas, often in city centers who may not receive the benefits of the government aid2.
Several federal and local organizations are working to provide access to additional funding, programs, and supports for Canadian indigenous folks. Check out a few of the links below.
To read more about the allocation of funds of the Indigenous Community Support Fund and how it works, check out Indigenous Services Canada. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) works collaboratively with partners to improve access to high-quality information and services for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
- A listing of local Aboriginal Agencies/ Business (Toronto) – Various services and supports, individual contacts listed here.
- Government of Ontario – Check out the various funding and programs for Indigenous people for support during the pandemic and looking ahead. They share links to services including education, (mental) health care, law and safety, and economic development.
- Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT) – During closures due to the pandemic, Anishnawbe Health Toronto is offering it’s Beendigen “Come in” Walk- In counseling program via phone. Call 416 920 2605 to complete an intake form and connect with a counselor. Speak with your healthcare provider for updates on changes to your service due to COVID-19. AHT is a community health center funded by the Canadian Ministry of Health who promotes and practice traditional Aboriginal healing methods in all of their health care services and programs. Various Physical & mental health care therapies are provided. Check them out here.
- Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council – TASSC is a collective that supports several member agencies in Toronto, many of whom are offering online programming during the pandemic. Check them out, here. You can also apply for emergency food & supplies by completing their online form.
The TASSC includes centers offering food support during the pandemic:
- TORONTO COUNCIL FIRE AND NATIVE CULTURAL CENTRE – Daily Meals To Go, three takeaway meals per day. Location: 439 Dundas Street East, Toronto, M5A 2B1.
- NATIVE CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES OF TORONTO – Supplying Food Hampers & Youth Take Away Meals: Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm & Saturdays 11 am – 5 pm. Contact: 416-969-8510 x 3141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary (Alberta) – Offering a variety of services including help finding housing, community outreach, and cultural connection, and a survivors group.
- Native Counselling Services of Alberta – The NCSA has various programs that offer family & housing services, access to court workers and justice council, and links to community education programs. They also have an online resource bank with various articles on childcare, finances, politics, life tips, and arts & culture.
- Helpline & Online Counselling Service – The First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counseling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous people across Canada. Toll-Free: 1-855-242-3310 Hope for Wellness Chat Line: www.hopeforwellness.ca
- Various Mental Health & Cultural Supports – Click here for the full list of hotlines and supports made available through the First Nations Health Authority.
- Government Programs – Scroll through the various services and get more information for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities provided through Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. For a list of the various funding programs available, click here.
- Indigenous HIPPY – Offered through Mothers Matter this organization works with Indigenous families and communities to build positive experiences in education and to strengthen their capacity to support learning. The program serves land-based and urban Indigenous families across the country, particularly those impacted by the legacy of residential schools, poverty, parents’ limited education, and social isolation. Find a location near you and contact them directly for updates during the pandemic.
- The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) – The NWAC is a non-profit organization comprised of 13 Native women’s organizations across Canada with the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women. From information on COVID -19 to a free entrepreneurial program grounded in community support, browse their various resources and publications here.
- National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) – The NCCIH published accredited health resources available in print, podcasts, and webinars. They also have an Indigenous health link database, available here.
- Additional Supports for First Nations Communities from the Government of Canada – A How-to Guide to submitting requests for additional support including reimbursement for public health-related emergency expenditures.
- International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) –The IWGIA is a global human rights organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Partnerships with local organizations engage and empower Indigenous Peoples. Join their network, and check out their resources and publications, here.