Urban Indigenous left behind by Ottawa’s COVID-19 response: friendship centres


OTTAWA -- The National Association of Friendship Centres says the urban Indigenous population in Canada is being left behind by the federal response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The organization told the House of Commons health committee today that their centres have been overwhelmed with requests for help from their communities.

But they have been struggling to provide services with limited funds and support from the federal government.

The federal government pledged $305 million to help First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities, with $15 million for organizations providing services to those living off reserves or in urban centres.

Conservative MP Gary Vidal says while more than half of Indigenous Peoples in Canada do not live on reserves, the organizations that serve them received only five per cent of the funds.

Christopher Sheppard-Buote, president of the association, says it was disrespectful how the federal government put the burden of the application process on Indigenous organizations.

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