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Specific Funding to Support First Nations Public Health Response

Specific Funding to Support First Nations Public Health Response

In order to support First Nations in preparing for and responding to COVID-19, which has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Government recently announced funding through which First Nations communities can access resources:

$100 million has been allocated for areas of federal responsibility, including for First Nations, Inuit and Métis community public health needs.

These funds will:

  • respond to identified needs to update and/or activate pandemic plans
  • support an effective allocation of the limited public health and primary health care capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • align response efforts with scientific evidence as determined by a medical officer of health
  • address immediate needs in the short term

The Funding will be Accessed Through Three Resources

  1. The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch – for public health emergency-related expenses
  2. The Emergency Management Assistance Program (what you would use in the event of floods or forest fires); and
  3. Through Jordan’s Principle

The full range of supports, examples of eligible expenses and how to access funding is outlined in greater detail below.

1. Supports Available Through the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch

Updating/Maintaining Hazard or Pandemic Plans

  • TheFirst Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) provides funding and expertise to First Nations communities for developing and maintaining their all hazard or pandemic plans in all provinces except British Columbia (BC).
  • On-reserve communities who require assistance in updating their plans should contact their ISC regional office.

Other Public Health-Related Emergency Eligible Expenditures

Examples of eligible COVID-19 expenses:
Community or service provider level infection prevention and control supplies (soap, sanitizers, disinfectants, personal clinical supplies, community training, etc.);
Medical Transportation under the Non-Insured Health Benefits program: Travel (air, ground and water) / Meals and accommodations (note high-risk individuals eligible for private ground transportation, such as taxi, and private accommodations, such as hotel);
Emergency Transportation & additional escorts under the Non-Insured Heath Benefits program: Travel (air, ground and water) meals and accommodations (note high-risk individuals eligible for private ground transportation, such as taxi, and private accommodations, such as hotel);
Health human resources surge capacity: primary care nurses and public health nurses, or other health providers such as paramedics and community workers;
Mental health services to support communities, particularly when they are facing affected individuals;Adaptation of community space for surge capacity access to medical care or for self-isolation or other related purposes and additional operation and maintenance cost incurred by surge capacity requirements;
Storage costs of supplies;On-the-land initiatives to support social isolation or food security; and,Other types of expenses considered on a case-by-case basis.

NOTE: Because there could be supply shortages, we encourage communities to take a collaborative and coordinated approach to organizing surge capacity and procuring supplies wherever possible with neighboring communities, local public health authorities or through Tribal Councils or First Nations Regional Health Authorities.

How to Submit a Request

Please, consult your ISC regional office when submitting your request.  ISC has provided an example of a template to submit requests for funding for items or services (e.g. additional bed linens or soap-cleaning) you purchase or plan to purchase as part of your response to COVID-19.

To submit a request for funding or reimbursement for items or services already purchased for your response to COVID-19 (as part of your pandemic or all-hazard plan) that are beyond your current funding levels, submit a list of planned expenses or keep a list of incurred expenses that includes information related to:

  • cost (if reimbursement, with receipt or invoice)
  • item required or purchased
  • brief description of item and the essential function it provides your community to be able to operationalize your plan; to support your community in reducing the spread of COVID-19; or to respond to cases in your community

The template and examples of items and services provided by ISC provide a guideline to clearly record this information.

Only one application is required to access supports available through FNIHB or EMAP. 

What about Personal Protective Equipment?

Communities who are not able to have their orders for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) filled through regular procurement channels, such as PPE suppliers, or provincial/territorial PPE stockpiles, should contact the regional medical officer in their region at Indigenous Services Canada to let them know. 

The Regional Health Officer for Ontario is:

Dr. Maurica Maher, Indigenous Services Canada

Email: maurica.maher@canada.ca

The regional medical officer will assist you to obtain the information you need to submit your request to the ISC national stockpile of PPE.

Requests from communities who provide essential primary health care services will then be assessed. ISC is currently providing PPE to health facilities and health service providers who provide essential primary heath care services, to support ongoing access to this care following guidelines from provincial public health departments.

Facilities that offer primary care are being prioritized to receive quantities that correspond to their population size.

In order to practice good stewardship of the ISC PPE stockpile, facilities and health providers that do not offer primary care services may be approved to receive gloves and masks for routine use. ISC is continuing to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada to coordinate supply levels so they can replenish the stockpile as needed.

Once PPE arrives in community, please email sac.pperequests-demandesdeepi.isc@canada.ca (cc to regional office) to confirm that the shipment has been received.

ISC is also helping share information on the appropriate, evidence-informed use of PPE so health care providers know what to use in what situations and to make sure they are safe. The safety and preparedness of our front-line workers is key to making sure we have a strong, coordinated response to COVID-19.

2. Supports Through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP)

In addition to public health related emergency supports, First Nation communities on reserve may need emergency assistance services that can be provided through the EMAP. The types of expenses covered under EMAP when communities are under imminent threat include:

  • Incremental wage costs, including temporary hires and overtime.
  • Rental of special equipment.
  • Set-up costs for one-time preventative measures.
  • Insurance and fuel costs of response vehicles.
  • Care, feeding and accommodation of human resources separate from health care professionals, if required (contractors and temporary hires).
  • Communications (satellite phones, cell phone usage above and beyond normal use).
  • Water and household supplies (i.e., providing food and water if there is a concern that a shortage may occur).

At this time, Emergency Management Assistance Program assistance is dedicated to ensuring the immediate health and safety response of First Nations related to COVID-19.

Funding will not be used to support capacity building activities, nor to supplement other programs such as Band Support Funding.

Eligible expenses will still be funded in cases of fire, flood or other natural disasters that pose an imminent threat to communities that would typically be supported by the Emergency Management Assistance Program.

How to submit a request

Please, consult your ISC regional office when submitting your request. ISC has provided an example of a template to submit requests for funding for items or services (e.g. additional bed linens or soap-cleaning) you purchase or plan to purchase as part of your response to COVID-19.

To submit a request for funding or reimbursement for items or services already purchased for your response to COVID-19 (as part of your pandemic or all-hazard plan) that are beyond your current funding levels, submit a list of planned expenses or keep a list of incurred expenses that includes information related to:

  • Cost (if reimbursement, with receipt or invoice).
  • Item required or purchased.
  • Brief description of item and the essential function it provides your community to be able to operationalize your plan; to support your community in reducing the spread of COVID-19; or to respond to cases in your community.

The template and examples of items and services provided by ISC provide a guideline to clearly record this information.

Only one application is required to access supports available through FNIHB or EMAP.

3. Child and Family Services and Jordan’s Principle

Existing processes are still in place to support Child and Family Services, and Jordan’s Principle. Expenses can continue to be submitted through these existing processes, even if related to specific supports to respond to COVID-19 response efforts by First Nations child and family services agencies or by families or service providers related to the needs of specific children.

How to submit a request

For Jordan’s Principle or Child and Family Services agency claims, please continue to work directly with your regular contacts for these types of claims (e.g. 24/7 Jordan’s Principle call centre or regional focal point).

Link to ISC information: https://www.sacisc.gc.ca/eng/1584819394157/1584819418553

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