COVID-19: Information for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples in B.C.

Find sources for general information to support Indigenous peoples in B.C., as well as contact information and resources to support First Nations in managing COVID-19. You’ll also find a description of the provincial and federal agencies that are key in helping First Nations prepare for and manage COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is placing new and exceptional demands on governments, communities, and families. During this event, Indigenous communities, particularly in remote areas, are facing unique circumstances and have specific needs. Supporting Indigenous communities to prepare and respond to COVID-19 is a key priority.

There are several agencies working together to support Indigenous communities and peoples, including:

Support for First Nations & Indigenous People 

These agencies are working together to coordinate support of First Nations and Indigenous peoples in responding to COVID-19. Below are key contacts where First Nations can direct inquiries and requests for support. There are also links to information and resources.

For First Nations contacting any of these agencies, rest assured there is no wrong door—they are all ready to help and can connect you to the right people and resources.


Emergency Management BC

Emergency Management BC (EMBC) is the lead coordinating agency for non-medical emergency response during COVID-19. EMBC works in collaboration with local governments, First Nations, provincial and federal departments, industry, non-government organizations and volunteers. They also host regular regional coordination calls, and First Nations and local governments are invited to join. EMBC Regional Operations offices function as a universal entry for Indigenous communities seeking supports. They take a “no wrong door” approach, triaging requests to ensure they get through to the responsible organization in a timely manner.

Contact: For questions or requests, connect with your Regional Operations Office.


First Nations Health Authority

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) provides health and wellness services to support First Nations communities. For COVID-19 response, FNHA (in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Office of the Provincial Health Officer and regional health authorities) supports Indigenous communities by coordinating medical and health-related requests. Their Emergency and Communicable Disease Management Programs provide COVID-19 health and wellness expertise, education, tools and support. 

For more information, visit the FNHA dedicated COVID-19 website, which contains many resources for First Nations.

Contact: For questions about communicable disease management, email FNHA at cdmgmt@fnha.ca or call 1-844-364-2232 (toll-free, option 3).


Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) works collaboratively with partners to improve access to high-quality services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Where possible during the COVID-19 event, ISC will support and empower Indigenous communities to independently deliver response and address the socio-economic conditions in their communities. ISC supports emergency management on reserve through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP).

For more information, visit the COVID-19 and Indigenous Communities website or follow Catherine Lappe on Twitter (@Catherine_RDGBC).

Contact: For non-medical COVID-19 questions or requests email ISC at aadnc.iscbccovid19.aandc@canada.ca. Examples of request topics include critical infrastructure, income assistance, and Jordan’s Principle.


Ministry of Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) provides guidance and advice to other areas of government on establishing and enhancing relationships with Indigenous peoples. While MIRR does not play a direct emergency response role, it is part of the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre to support agencies in integrating reconciliation in their response operations.

Contact: For questions or requests, please email MIRR at IRRInfo@gov.bc.ca


Ministry of Health

As lead coordination agency, through the Health Emergency Coordination Centre (HECC), the Ministry of Health supports First Nations communities and Indigenous peoples by providing updates, documents and expertise to the public and communities. This information is shared with regional partners through the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre (PECC). Under the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities provide direct health services to British Columbians, including Indigenous health programs.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Health Pandemic Preparedness website or view the Provincial Health Officer’s current orders.