Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will spend $130 million to help northern communities maintain supply chains and shore up health and social service systems to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic. Northern communities are considered the most vulnerable if COVID-19 begins to spread because of their remoteness.
So far the territories have kept infections to a minimum with eight confirmed cases in Yukon, five in the Northwest Territories and none in Nunavut. Trudeau says the funds are in recognition that there are unique challenges in the territories and will enhance what is available to communities and businesses through other COVID-19 aid programs.
The money includes $72.6 million to the territorial governments for health and social services, and $15 million for businesses with needs that aren't met by the existing programs like the wage subsidy.
Another $17.3 million will subsidize northern air carriers to help maintain supplies of food, medicine and other essential goods and services, and $25 million will go to Nutrition North, which helps subsidize the higher cost of food in remote communities.