OTTAWA, May 14, 2020 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says the federal government's announcement yesterday of $2.3 million to support efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis in northwestern Saskatchewan is important to ensure the safety and security of all residents in the region.
"These funds are a positive step to help a region that's being hit hard by the COVID-19 virus," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "We know First Nations, Indigenous people, and those in the north are much more vulnerable during this pandemic. The North West Saskatchewan Pandemic Response Plan must involve collaboration among First Nations, governments, and others in the Treaty 10 region. First Nations need to be involved in all stages of planning and response because First Nations have unique needs that require unique responses. This announcement is welcome, and if more resources are needed they should be available immediately."
A joint statement released yesterday by the Government of Canada, the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, and Métis Nation-Saskatchewan announced emergency support for COVID-19 response in northwestern Saskatchewan. The $2.3 million funding will support the North West Saskatchewan Pandemic Response Plan, a collective effort between First Nation, Métis, municipal, provincial, and federal partners to coordinate the response to the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in northwestern Saskatchewan.
"We thank and acknowledge the federal government for their support and investment," said AFN Saskatchewan Regional Chief Bobby Cameron. "This is a very good starting point for our northern region. We also extend acknowledgments to Meadow Lake Tribal Council Chief Richard Ben, MNS president Glen McCallum and the other First Nations and Métis leaders that have been advocating for the North."
The funds will be jointly administered and will complement the ongoing community-based efforts to conquer COVID-19 in the region, including supporting security checkpoints in impacted communities, measures to address food security, provision of homecare supplies, and enhancement of regional and community capacity, including youth engagement.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Monica Poirier, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857 (mobile), [email protected]; Michael Hutchinson, Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 244, 613-859-6831 (cell), [email protected]