Equipping Indigenous communities: Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs—June 19, 2020

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Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has been procuring medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been working with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to equip Indigenous communities with much needed personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

Key messages


As the Government of Canada’s central purchasing agent, PSPC has been working to secure the medical supplies necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes bulk orders on behalf of the PHAC and other Government of Canada departments, including ISC, for distribution throughout Canada.

ISC works closely with PHAC, other Government of Canada departments, and provincial and territorial governments as well as Indigenous partners to protect the health and safety of Indigenous peoples. This includes supporting Indigenous partners in responding to public health threats. As a part of this, ISC maintains a stockpile of PPE and hand sanitizer in the event of a health emergency in First Nations on-reserve communities. ISC’s PPE stockpile is replenished via PSPC’s procurements on behalf of PHAC’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile. To access PPE, communities work with ISC in each region to complete a PPE request form, which is then submitted to ISC for review and approval. PPE quantities are assessed against public health guidelines and level of services provided for essential health service delivery, or family members taking care of those who are sick. As of June 4, ISC had shipped 890 orders for personal protective equipment to Indigenous communities, including hand sanitizers, N95 respirators, isolation shields and gloves, with 1 order in progress.

Beyond bulk ordering initiatives, PSPC has also continued to support ISC specifically with a number of other procurements related to its COVID-19 response, such as charter flights to bring essential service personnel and supplies to fly-in First Nations communities, and protective and medical equipment for distribution to Indigenous communities.

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