The Government of Canada has announced several supports to help Indigenous peoples during COVID-19.
For full details of the support the Government of Canada is providing to First Nations and Inuit communities in preparing for, monitoring, and responding to COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities.
On this page:
- Indigenous Community Business Fund
- Indigenous Community Support Fund
- BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund
- First Nations and Inuit Community Preparedness Fund
- Indigenous Entrepreneur Loans - BDC
- Indigenous Business Initiative
- Funding programs
- First Nations Finance Authority Funding
- Indigenous Student Financial Assistance
- Indigenous Income Tax Issues - CRA and Covid-19
- Launch Online Grant Program
- Other Resources
Indigenous Community Business Fund
This fund is providing $117 million in non-repayable financial contributions to help support operating costs for First Nation, Inuit and Métis community-or collectively-owned businesses and microbusinesses whose revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund seeks to provide support for businesses that do not qualify for other Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures.
It is intended to relieve financial pressure and allow these businesses and microbusinesses to strengthen operations and support their viability during the pandemic, with the goal of positioning them for recovery.
The fund has 2 streams:
- Stream 1: Funding will be transferred directly to communities and collectives to immediately support their COVID-19 economic priorities. No applications are required for stream 1 funding.
- Stream 2: Funding will be proposal-based. Applications must be submitted by the community or collectives on behalf of the business.
There are no submission deadlines. Applications for funding are accepted on an ongoing basis until all funding has been allocated.
Indigenous Community Support Fund
These new funds will provide Indigenous leadership with the flexibility needed to design and implement community-based solutions to prepare for and react to the spread of COVID-19 within their communities. These funds could be used for measures including, but not limited to:
- support for Elders and vulnerable community members
- measures to address food insecurity
- educational and other support for children
- mental health assistance and emergency response services
- preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19
For needs-based COVID-19 support funding, applicants are asked to submit their applications no later than November 30st, as funding must be disbursed by Indigenous Services Canada by December 31st, 2020.
BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund
Indigenous Tourism BC through a partnership with Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport is delivering a $5 Million Dollar Fund through the BC Tourism Indigenous Recovery Fund.
This fund will provide non-repayable grant contributions of up to $45,000 to Market-Ready Indigenous tourism businesses in B.C. in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Applications will be accepted until April 23rd, 2021 as follows:
February 1-26, 2021: Applications will be accepted and reviewed early March, with approvals made, contribution agreements issued, so that disbursement of the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund grants will be issued to eligible businesses by the end of March 2021.
March 1-31, 2021: Applications will be accepted and reviewed in early April, with approvals made, contribution agreements issued, so that disbursement of the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund grants will be issued to eligible businesses by the end of April 2021.
First Nations and Inuit Community Preparedness Fund
This $100 million in spending will support support a range of federal health measures, including support for preparedness in First Nation and Inuit communities. These funds will:
- respond to identified needs to update and activate pandemic plans
- support an effective allocation of public health and primary health care capacity to respond to the COIVD-19 outbreak
- align response efforts with scientific evidence as determined by a medical officer of health
- address immediate needs in the short term
Indigenous Entrepreneur Loans - BDC
This dedicated finance program for Indigenous entrepreneurs offers loans of up to $350,000 to start or grow a business.
Indigenous Business Initiative
The Government of Canada is providing up to $306.8 million in interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions for First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses. As of December 4th, 2020, up to $60,000 is available to small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses:
- an interest-free loan up to $40,000
- a non-repayable contribution up to $20,000
Funding for programs, services and initiatives to First Nations, Inuit and Northern communities, governments and individuals, as well as to Aboriginal and Métis organizations.
Some funding programs accept proposals through open calls with specific deadlines. Visit the calls for proposals web page for details.
First Nations Finance Authority Funding
The FNFA raises capital to finance community infrastructure and economic development for First Nation communities.
Indigenous Student Financial Assistance
Indigenous students attending B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions can request financial assistance from their school’s Indigenous student services.
Indigenous Income Tax Issues - CRA and Covid-19
- Guidance on the application of the Indian Act Exemption for Employment Income Guidelines to issues raised by the COVID-19 crisis
- Eligibility for the tax exemption
- Contact the CRA with your questions
Launch Online Grant Program
This grant will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $7,500 per business, with 30% of grant funds reserved for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour-owned (BIPOC) businesses. Applications are open until September 30th, 2021 (or until all the funds are distributed).
Small Business BC Resources
B.C. is home to the second largest number of Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada, with over 2,000 Indigenous-owned businesses located across the province. The number of Indigenous entrepreneurs in B.C. has grown by more than 20% since 2011. Get resources to support indigenous entrepreneurs.
Virtual Mental Health Supports for Indigenous Peoples During COVID-19
Phone and online counselling, support programs, and treatment and healing centres are available virtually for Indigenous people across B.C.
- Find Mental Health and Cultural Supports
- Virtual Doctor of the Day through First Nations Health Authority
- Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service through First Nations Health Authority
Business Resources for Indigenous Entrepreneurs
Discover the resources and supports available at Small Business BC and partner organizations to help you start and grow a successful small business.
Sectoral Initiatives Program
Eligible organizations can apply for up to $2,500,000 (per project, per year) to fund projects that identify, forecast and address sectoral or cross-sectoral human resources and skills development needs.
WorkBC Supports for Indigenous Peoples
Explore your options and build your career with these resources.
- Pursue post-secondary education
- Get funding for your education
- Gain work experience and job skills
- Create or expand your own business