In his daily address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new funding for Indigenous people living in cities or off reserve, while reiterating Wednesday’s message from Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam to continue practicing safe measures in the midst of the pandemic. He also noted testing will be key to controlling a second wave of COVID-19.
New Funding for Indigenous Services
The Prime Minister announced the government is providing $75 million in new funding to support programs and services that address the critical needs of more than one million Indigenous people who live in urban centres or off reserve. This is in addition to $15 million for the same cause that was announced in March, funding that is supporting shelters, providing meals, groceries, clothing, other supplies that are in demand during the pandemic and to provide mental health support. It is particularly aimed at vulnerable populations — youth, women and elders. “To urban and off-reserve indigenous populations, we are working to make sure you don't fall through the cracks,” Trudeau said. “You need and deserve services that are culturally appropriate.”
Follow Doctor’s Orders
On Wednesday, Dr. Tam encouraged Canadians to wear a mask if they are to venture into a situation where physical distancing may not be possible, and today Trudeau echoed the doctor’s comments. He stressed that at this point — as the country is beginning to slowly re-open — is has never been more important to follow instructions from Public Health Canada. “Keep washing your hands, stay home and, if you need to, wear a mask,” the Prime Minister said. “This is the best way to protect both yourself and others.”
Controlling the Next Wave
When asked about the country’s ability to manage and control a second, third or fourth wave of COVID-19, Trudeau said preparation for testing will be key to the effort. The federal government is working with the provinces to “massively” scale up testing and contact tracing capacity to ensure that in a future wave of the pandemic officials are prepared to move quickly. “It is important to increase testing now, but to also make sure as we move through summer and even into fall that we are ready to act extremely quickly so the population at large won’t be in the situation of having to go back into confinement,” Trudeau said.