Skip to main content
Start of content

INAN Committee News Release

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at

Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Comité permanent des affaires autochtones et du Nord

For immediate release


COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples: From Crisis Towards Meaningful Change

Ottawa, March 11, 2021 -

For the past year, the world faced an unprecedented crisis. As of February 2021, over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in First Nations communities. Outbreaks have also been reported in Inuit and Métis communities, and among urban and off-reserve populations.

Today, Mr. Bob Bratina, Chair of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, presented the committee report COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples: From Crisis towards Meaningful Change in the House of Commons. This report contains 42 recommendations aimed at ensuring that no one is left behind during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the issues raised by witnesses are long-standing. Canada can no longer wait to address them.

The committee repeatedly heard that long-standing inequities, historical underfunding and systemic barriers made Indigenous people more at risk of contracting infectious diseases such as COVID-19 than other Canadians. Inadequate infrastructure (e.g., housing, telecommunications, water and wastewater, health care facilities) in some cases contributed to the spread of COVID-19, with serious consequences. Limited access to health care, higher rates of underlying chronic medical conditions, economic barriers, and social and geographic isolation also compounded the effects of the pandemic.

Challenges accessing personal protective equipment, test results and epidemiological data; stress and burnout facing health care and other essential workers; and racism and discrimination were but a few of the issues raised during the study. The committee’s recommendations, some of which require immediate action, and others which are aimed at addressing long-standing issues, recognize that Canada has the opportunity to do better.

The committee thanks the more than 100 individuals and organizations who appeared before us or who submitted briefs. The committee is humbled by their testimony.

The committee also wishes to acknowledge the tremendous efforts and sacrifices of health care workers and other essential workers working hard to keep First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities safe.

This report can be viewed online on the committee’s website.

- 30 -

For more information, please contact:
Naaman Sugrue, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs
Tel: 613-996-1173