If you are a member of the media and are looking for comment, please contact Annie Aningmiuq (aaningmiuq@nafc.ca or communications@nafc.ca).

The official spokespeople for the NAFC are Jocelyn Formsma (Executive Director), and Christopher Sheppard (Board President). All requests must be sent through the Communications Team. The NAFC’s Communications Team works to raise awareness and support regarding the Friendship Centre Movement, as well as broadening the understanding of the Urban Indigenous experience across Canada. 

The NAFC currently uses TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube please give us a follow.

Contact the Communications Team! 
Our Areas of Expertise 
  • Friendship Centres and the Friendship Centre Movement
  • Anything relating to Urban Indigeneity (issues, population, demographics, etc.)
  • Our research, please see here.  
Friendship Centre Stories

Here you’ll find stories and articles written in-house about Friendship Centres from across the country. If you have a story you’d like to tell, please send an e-mail to communications@nafc.ca

*New Posts*

Canadian Healthy Cities Initiative

Canadian Healthy Cities Initiative



February 9, 2021

COVID-19 has seriously impacted our access and use of public spaces. This is especially true in Indigenous communities that are already experiencing vulnerability as a result of systemic inequalities. 

Friendship Centres and Indigenous communities have shown creativity and resourcefulness in improvising temporary and longer-lasting solutions that enable people to connect and access public spaces safely while still respecting public health measures, including social distancing and mask-wearing.

Public spaces are the glue to our Indigenous communities. They are a big part of what makes our community feel safe, vibrant and connected. The Healthy Communities Initiative will allow us to continue creating inclusive spaces and connections that foster belonging. 

The Healthy Communities Initiative is a $31 million investment from the Government of Canada to support communities as they create and adapt public spaces to respond to the new realities of COVID-19. 

Funding can be used for adapting public spaces, or for programming or services that respond to COVID-19 and serve the public or a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Indigenous organizations and communities are encouraged to engage the community when designing their projects. 

Healthy Communities Initiative projects will create safe and vibrant public spaces, improve mobility options and provide innovative digital solutions to connect people and improve health. 

  • Creating safe and vibrant public spaces: Projects that create safe and vibrant public spaces improve open spaces, parks, commercial main streets, and access to other public spaces. For example, these projects could create new pedestrian zones, revitalize an alleyway or build a pop-up ice rink. 
  • Improving mobility options:  Projects that improve mobility options provide transportation options or adaptations for people to stay safe and physically distant while walking, biking or using public transit access. For example, these projects could add social distancing markings on sidewalks or create traffic calming pop-ups.
  • Digital solutions: Projects that provide digital solutions use data and technology in innovative ways to connect people, improve health or facilitate public engagement. For example, these projects could install free public wifi hotspots, develop a mental wellbeing app or use an online platform to create virtual town halls. 

With funding between $5,000 and $250,000, the Healthy Communities Initiative aims to support local efforts to develop small-scale infrastructure solutions, programming and services for communities across Canada. Local governments, charities, Indigenous communities and non-profits are all welcome to apply for funding, this includes Friendship Centres.

Whether it’s pop-up bike paths, community gardens, art installations or Wi-Fi hot spots or other programs and services, our community members want to be able to work, play and learn in safe, vibrant and inclusive spaces.

We know that our communities feel the pandemic’s impacts more than others. Some lack public spaces they can access safely. This funding aims to help address that.

Organizations can apply to the Healthy Communities Initiative starting February 9, 2021, at 1:00 PM EST through March 9, 2021, at 5:00 PM PST

Visit canadahealthycommunitiesinitiative.ca to find out more about how to apply, explore resources for applicants and sign up for community mobilization sessions.

For Friendship Centres requiring more information please contact the NAFC’s Special Projects Advisor, Shady Hafez, at shafez@nafc.ca



Sara Kelly
Communications Officer

The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.

NAFC executive director shares the great success of the 2020 #TakeCareInCovid campaign at the NCCIH Virtual Series

NAFC executive director shares the great success of the 2020 #TakeCareInCovid campaign at the NCCIH Virtual Series

NCCIH Webinar_Jocelyn speaking



On February 3, Jocelyn Formsma, NAFC executive director, was pleased to take part in the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH)’s Virtual Series on First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and Covid-19.

During the series, Jocelyn highlighted the NAFC’s #TakeCareInCovid campaign, which launched in the summer of 2020, in collaboration with Well Living House and Argyle PR. The goal of this campaign was to help dispel myths and misconceptions around COVID-19 and the urban Indigenous community. With Friendship Centres being the first point of contact for many urban Indigenous people, this campaign was aimed at supporting the community in accessing credible, and culturally appropriate information regarding COVID-19.


A series of 30-second ads were created in English and French, featuring Anishnaabe comedian Ryan McMahon. In addition to the ads, Jocelyn and Dr. Janet Smylie of Well Living House hosted three webinars, including:

  • Webinar #1: Indigenous Community Responses to COVID-19 in Urban and Related Homelands
  • Webinar #2: What is the second wave, and what do I need to know about to keep my circle safe?
  • Webinar #3: Using medicines and ceremony to stay strong during COVID-19

These webinars can be viewed on the NAFC website (https://www.nafc.ca/en/resources-research/covid-19/covid-webinars-and-videos).

The #TakeCareInCovid campaign was a huge success–receiving over 5 million impressions (number of times the ads were seen) and over 70,000 clicks to the NAFC COVID-19 resource page.

The NAFC is currently exploring their options in launching a follow-up campaign to support vaccine roll out for the urban Indigenous community.

Stay tuned for more details!

Friendship Centre Movement: In the News
Friendship Centres are working hard to support their communities during COVID-19. Their dedication and compassion is what drives our Movement. Over the past several weeks, here are a few times Friendship Centres have been mentioned in the news.


Do you have a program or story you would like to share on how your Friendship Centre is supporting your community during COVID-19? Please contact us

 Last updated: February 24, 2021

Urban Indigenous Forum: Addressing systemic racism in healthcare

Urban Indigenous Forum: Addressing systemic racism in healthcare

The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased to release a follow-up report on the forum. This report summarizes the forum as well as key themes discussed and lists the NAFC’s recommendations to advance work in improving health care outcomes and addressing racism in healthcare for urban Indigenous people. 

The full report can be read here: Urban Indigenous Forum: Addressing Systemic Racism in Healthcare (PDF, 728 KB).


On November 6 2020, the NAFC hosted an online forum on systemic racism in healthcare. Our goal with this forum was to honour urban Indigenous experiences in accessing our right to healthcare as well as the experiences of those who transport between on-reserve and northern communities to urban settings.

We are currently experiencing technical difficulties in posting the video of the forum, however, you can listen to the audio here

This forum was a crucial first-step in highlighting the important work that needs to be done in order to ensure Indigenous people can access their right to healthcare with dignity and respect, however, our work does not end here.  It is our view that an Indigenous, community-informed process is essential in our path forward as we work to create and provide a report to provincial and federal governments regarding our recommendations. 

During the forum, we discussed:
  • the action that is currently happening on the ground in our communities
  • the role of urban Indigenous service providers in healthcare
  • explore Indigenous-led healthcare systems in place
This discussion will also seek to provide recommendations for moving forward to ensure that Indigenous peoples are able to access healthcare services with dignity, without fear and, free from discrimination.
  • Senator Yvonne Boyer – Senator, Senate of Canada; former Associate Director for the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa; former Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health and Wellness at Brandon University
  • Jennifer Brazeau – Executive Director, Centre d'amitié autochtone de Lanaudiére
  • Édith Cloutier – Executive Director, Centre d'amitié autochtone de Val d'or
  • Dr. Alika Lafontaine – Physician, Alberta Health Services; Associate Clinical Professor, Lecturer, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Janet Smylie – Director of Well Living House, Research Scientist at St. Michael's Hospital, Physician, Professor at University of Toronto
  • Moderated by Jocelyn Formsma – Executive Director, The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC)
On September 28, 2020, Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman and mother of seven died in Centre hospitalier de Lanaudiere, in Joliette, Quebec. The horrendous and degrading moments before Joyce Echaquan’s death were captured by her via Facebook Live. These harrowing moments called the world to bear witness to the deplorable racism, abuse and inhumane treatment Ms. Echaquan was subjected to prior to her death, all at the hands of healthcare workers entrusted and sworn to care for her.
This tragedy has led to raw outrage, grief and pain for Ms. Echaquan’s family and friends, as well as hundreds of Indigenous communities nationwide. Regrettably, the racism Ms. Echaquan was subjected to is a common reality for many Indigenous persons accessing their right to healthcare.
Friendship Centres provide essential support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

Friendship Centres provide essential support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

As Canadians have shuttered into their homes during these last few months to ride out the waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) would like to acknowledge their member Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations who have gone above and beyond to support their Indigenous communities.

Understanding the financial hardships felt by many Canadians these past few months, our Friendship Centres have been working around the clock to create food and cleaning supply hampers.

Figure 1:  A member of the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre prepares weekly hampers for community members.

The Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre purchased supplies for 278 weekly grocery hampers and cleaning/sanitizing packages for their membership families and elders. They are extremely proud to announce that their hampers have reached 536 individuals. (see Figure 1) 

Despite our necessity to stay physically distanced from one another, many Friendship Centres have expanded their services–or created new positions entirely–so that they can be offered remotely.

The Rocky Native Friendship Centre Society created two new online support worker positions aimed at providing training for community members on how to access different technology platforms such as Zoom. For many Friendship Centres, video calls have become the new norm for connecting with clients. (see Figure 2)

Social media platforms have also become vital tools that have allowed Friendship Centres to stay connected with their community during the pandemic. Laurianne Petiquay, executive director of the Centre d'amitié autochtone La Tuque, says that they “have made more use of their social networks these past few months and have been able to reach many new members!”

However, as great as virtual connections can be, the reality is that not all community members have access to systems that allow them to connect technology.

“An important first step for connecting virtually with our community,” said Jannah Kohlman, executive director of the Nawican Friendship Centre, “was to identify clients who do not have access to these means.”

“Through federal funding, we were able to purchase technology–phone, laptops, tablets–for those in dire need of support during isolation to prevent relapsing and encourage social interaction through these other means,” continued Kohlman.

Despite the success found in these virtual connections, the temporary shutdown of transportation services offered by many Friendship Centres, has been very difficult for our elders as it has resulted in both physical and social isolation.

“Some of our elders utilize these services regularly so that they can stay connected with family, attend work opportunities and medical appointments,” said Anna Zanella, executive director of the Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert.

Figure 2: Carlee EaglePlume, youth coordinator from the Miywasin Friendship Centre, leads an online crafting class for youth over Zoom.
Miywasin Friendship Centre

Thankfully, this shutdown did not last too long and the Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert were thrilled when they were finally able to re-open their transportation services along the Highway 16 Corridor to their elders.

“It has been our great pleasure to meet with our elders, who remain upbeat and continue to take everything in stride,” continues Zanella. “They are truly an inspiration!”

This pandemic has highlighted the importance of our Friendship Centres in providing programs that not only assist members physical, but their mental well-being as well.

The Port Alberni Friendship Centre have initiated a new program called, Switchback, which consists of teachings around self-awareness, dealing with internal and external conflict, identifying and coming to terms with past trauma, and recognizing triggers and what to do with those feelings.

“We felt that students really needed to learn coping and self-esteem strategies,” said Cyndi Stevens, executive director of the Port Alberni Friendship Centre. “This program teaches so much–life skills, increases their confidence and self-esteem, and more importantly, it reconnects the youth,” continued Stevens.

Another key component of the program includes inviting elders to connect with the group virtually in order to provide the younger generation with wisdom, encouragement, and love.

And although many Friendship Centres were forced to temporarily close, not a minute was wasted as a few Friendship Centres, such as the Wachiay Friendship Centre, used this time to complete renovations that will better serve their community.

At the Wachiay Studio Inc.–an enterprise that promotes Indigenous art and culture by providing affordable printing services to Aboriginal artists, “we have completely removed the offices, which will allow more room for our new presses and dryer,” said Michael Colclough, executive director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society.

And we cannot forget about having a little fun! Friendship Centres have enjoyed organizing many different crafting activities for their community members over these last few months. The Rocky Native Friendship Centre Society have delivered several different crafting kits to community members in varying themes such as, beading, tobacco or mint planting, birdhouses, and more! The Nawican Friendship Centre organized a Covid-19 mask decorating concert for their youth! (see Figure 3)

Figure 3: Youth from the Nawican Friendship Centre show of the masks that they created.
Nawican Friendship Centre

Many Friendship Centres have also used this time to develop creative outdoor programming activities. At a time where our stress levels are at an all-time high, connecting back with Mother Earth and the land can be extremely beneficial.

The Miywasin Friendship Centre had a lot of fun organizing physically distanced programming, which have allowed community members to gather in small numbers for activities such as medicine picking and an Indigenous history scavenger hunt across Medicine Hat! (see Figure 4)

However, despite the success that many Friendship Centres have been able to achieve during these last few months, the stark reality remains that Covid-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future and many are worried about what the next few months will bring.

Immediate concerns felt by my many Friendship Centres are regarding the ongoing physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of their community members and staff–many who have been working overtime these past few months.

At a time like this, volunteers are more important than ever! Wondering how you can help? Touch base with your local Friendship Centre to see how you can be of assistance! We are all in this together!

Figure 4: A youth participates in an outdoor scavenger hunt organized by the Miywasin Friendship Centre.

Miywasin Friendship Centre (2)
NAFC announces the recipients of Round 1 of the Investment Readiness Program

NAFC announces the recipients of Round 1 of the Investment Readiness Program


The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased to announce the following Round 1 Investment Readiness Program recipients:

  • Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association, Alberta
  • Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, Smithers, British Columbia
  • First Light St. John's Friendship Centre, St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Association, Lac La Biche, Alberta
  • Lillooet Friendship Centre Society, Lillooet, British Columbia
  • Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre, Thompson, Manitoba
  • Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec, Quebec
  • Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria, British Columbia
  • Wachiay Friendship Centre Society, Courtenay, British Columbia

The NAFC is one of five Readiness Support Partners working to distribute funding to increase investment readiness with social purpose organizations (SPOs).

“The Investment Readiness Program gives the NAFC an opportunity to support Friendship Centres in developing and growing their social enterprises,” says Jocelyn Formsma, NAFC executive director. “We hope to not only achieve investment readiness, but also to help Friendship Centres build capacity, which in turn helps them to build community wealth while addressing community needs.”

“By providing capital in the form of non-repayable grants, we are ensuring that Friendship Centres do not have to take on the burden of debt while starting, growing or scaling their revenue generating enterprises,” continues Formsma.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity given by the National Association of Friendship Centres to explore and develop a long term sustainable plan for our Centre for the benefit of all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” said Donna Webster, executive director of Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Association.

For many Friendship Centres, this funding could not have come at a better time given the financial strain many have felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are at the explore stage of our vision to create a social enterprise focused on fair-trade and authentic Indigenous arts and crafts,” explains Stewart Anderson, strategic advisor for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. “The funding through the Investment Readiness Program will allow us to look at potential projects during these uncertain times, without having to risk our own financial resources, which we can fully allocate to community needs.”

For the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, the funding will be used to create a business model for a commercial community kitchen at their hall and the creation of an Indigenous Culinary Arts Program and associated catering business.

The funding we were awarded will “ensure that we have sustainable access to food in times of crisis, and it will ensure that we can both provide access to food in our community while generating collective wealth,” stated Annette Morgan, executive director of Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society.

For others, this funding will be used to benefit Indigenous artists and “create incredible positive changes within our community,” said Michael Colclough, executive director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society.

The Wachiay Friendship Centre Society will use their funding to upgrade the equipment at the Wachiay Studio Inc. – an enterprise that promotes Indigenous art and culture by providing affordable printing services to Aboriginal artists.

“Our new screen-printing equipment will more than triple our current daily capacity to print textile merchandise and limited-edition art,” continued Colclough.

A few of the other projects that will be initiated with this funding include: a Boutique Inn, online stores for selling Indigenous crafts, and business plans for various social enterprise projects.

Recipients of Round 2 of the IRP will be announced shortly. To learn more about the IRP and to read a summary of all the prospective projects,, please visit the Investment Readiness Program page on the NAFC website.


Sara Kelly
Communications Officer


Shady Hafez
Special Projects Advisor

The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.

The NAFC hires new Partnerships Manager

The NAFC hires new Partnerships Manager

October 19, 2020

The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased toannounce the hiring of its new Partnerships Manager, Francyne Joe. A member of the Nlaka'pamux Nation, Francyne heads the new Partnerships Department which will include responsibilities for external partner relations, member relations, youth leadership training, and capacity development. Her first-hand knowledgeand experien ce on national Indigenous matters such as MMIWG, human rights, housing, education, justice, and economic determination have made her a fierce advocate for Indigenous people in Canada. She has presented on these issues across Canada, at the United Nations, Organization of American States, in Mexico, Morocco and Peru.

"NAFC is excited to welcome Francyne Joe to our growing and inspiring team!" said Jocelyn Formsma,

NAFC executive director. "She has a solid reputation for Indigenous advocacy, and weare so pleased that she is joining us at a time when the possibilities are limitless"

Ms. Joe's role will be to determine and further develop potential partnership opportunities for promoting community-driven research, supporting friendship centre services, and collaborating on initiatives to support NAFC's mission, values, and strategic direction. With her extensive work history, government experience, and network, her goal is to increase NAFC's profile andadvance the numerous friendship centers that provide critical supports for urban Indigenous people across Canada.

"I am pleased to join the NAFC team and look forward to working alongside the local friendship centers (FCs) who provided essential services and programs to more than 1.4 million urban Indigenous people, families and youth last year. When I was a young mother, the friendship centre not only afforded my family with cultural programs and day-camps, it was a safe place to socialize and be yourself. And especially during this COVID-period, we need to recognize the significant supports FCs provide our urban Indigenous communities".

Friendship Centres cautiously hopeful by the government’s recommitment to Indigenous issues

Friendship Centres cautiously hopeful by the government’s recommitment to Indigenous issues

On September 23, 2020, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne to open the second session of the 43rd Parliament. This year’s throne speech held considerable weight due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted Indigenous people.

“We are feeling cautiously hopeful”, said Jocelyn Formsma, executive director of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). “While the NAFC is encouraged by the government’s recommitment to Indigenous issues, we are concerned that a focus on a distinctions-based approach will leave urban Indigenous people and organizations as an afterthought.”

The Government of Canada’s current distinctions-based approach to Indigenous engagement and funding focuses on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, without specifically accounting for those who are in urban or rural areas.

“We would be reassured to know that the Government of Canada is including urban Indigenous people in its distinctions-based approach,” said NAFC president Christopher Sheppard, “However, our experience thus far is that a distinctions-based approach often leaves urban Indigenous people, organizations, and unique communities behind.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Friendship Centres have been on the frontlines providing essential community-driven supports and filling gaps. Urban Indigenous community members rely on Friendship Centres now, more than ever, for trusted information-sharing and a variety of wrap-around supports.

“The NAFC is willing to roll up their sleeves in whatever way we can to assist our urban Indigenous community members in getting through this next year, but we need to be properly resourced by the Government to do so,” said Formsma.

“The vast majority of Indigenous people are currently living in urban, rural, remote and northern communities–off-reserve, outside of Inuit Nunangat, and off Métis settlements,” continued Sheppard. “Because of that, it is crucial that organizations–such as the NAFC, that serve the urban Indigenous population everyday, are included in the roll-out of the Government’s commitments in the years ahead.”

Some of the commitments to Indigenous Peoples mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, include: moving forward with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; addressing systemic racism; police and criminal justice reform; and, continuing the development of distinctions-based health models. To read the full Speech from the Throne, refer to the Government of Canada’s website.

For media inquiries:

Sara Kelly, Communications Officer

The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.

MMIWG Inquiry: Summary of Findings for Urban Indigenous Peoples

MMIWG Inquiry: Summary of Findings for Urban Indigenous Peoples

The National Association of Friendship Centres is pleased to release their report entitled, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls Inquiry: Summary of Findings for Urban Indigenous Peoples [PDF 205 KB]. This paper summarizes the 231 Calls to Justice as they apply to the work of the Friendship Centre movement.

Bell Let's Talk

Bell Let's Talk

The National Association of Friendship Centres is excited to begin a partnership with Bell Let's Talk to support the mental health and well-being of urban Indigenous communities.

Bell Lets Talk

Applications Now Open: Investment Readiness Program


The application period for Round 2 of the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) is now open! Find a guide on the application process, and information on eligibility here. If you have any questions that can't be answered by the information provided, please contact Shady Hafez, NAFC IRP coordinator. 

Apply to the Investment Readiness Program by completing the following application. And submitting via e-mail to our IRP coordinator Shady Hafez by August 17th, 2020.

If you are eligible (check requirements here), you are invited to join us for a webinar. The webinar will be hosted on August 5th at 1:00 p.m. EST and is an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the program. 

Program Overview

The NAFC is one of five Readiness Support Partners mandated by the Government of Canada to deliver funding for the ​IRP. The IRP, through the five funding partners, will distribute $50 million to social purpose organizations (charities, non-profits, social enterprises, for-profits with a social purpose and co-operatives) to help build their capacity to participate in Canada’s growing social finance market. The IRP is also designed to help social purpose organizations (SPOs) prepare for the Government of Canada’s broader investment in ​social finance​ via the ​Social Finance Fund​, a historic new $755 million commitment which was announced in November 2018 and is expected to be launched in 2020.

As a Readiness Support Partner, the NAFC is administering $1.12 million in funding from the Government of Canada that will be made available as non-repayable capital to FCs and PTAs.

NAFC is working closely with the other four national organizations delivering the Government of Canada’s IRP funding. FCs and PTAs may also eligible to receive support from the other funding partners. To learn more about other Readiness Support Partners’ funding programs, criteria, and application periods, please visit their websites:

COVID-19: NAFC Update

COVID-19: NAFC Updates

April 3, 2020

Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTA) across the country have been on the front lines, doing the best we can, with limited resources to support urban Indigenous communities. With the health, safety and wellbeing of our community members and Movement top of mind we think it’s important to be clear about the recent federal government supports announced.

As many of you know, the federal government announced a $305 million Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICF), $15 million of which would be made available to urban organizations through an upcoming call for proposals. There is no guarantee of funding, and no amount has been set aside specifically for Friendship Centres.

Friendship Centres do not yet have COVID-19 response funds. A proposal is currently being developed by the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) for member Friendship Centres and PTAs.

If funds are secured, the NAFC will distribute directly (we are uncertain exactly when funds will flow out)  to Friendship Centres to provide COVID-19 response and community supports as needed and identified by the local urban Indigenous community levels. While some Friendship Centres may opt to provide gift cards to community members, it is not expected that these funds will be distributed directly to individuals.


March 16, 2020

Since the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) has been doing our best to navigate the response and support our network of over 107 member Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations across the country. We are paying close attention to the daily updates provided from public health and are abiding by all of their recommendations.

With the safety of our community members and Movement in mind; our priority is to support Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in whatever they need and in whatever decisions they make and we are in constant conversation with them during this time.

In recent days we have provided Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) with a heads up about the challenges Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations may have in meeting deliverables due to the virus response. We have requested that any information they send out to Indigenous organizations, also be provided to us so we can keep the Friendship Centre Movement informed. We have also requested that the federal government ensure Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations have access to the $1-billion fund announced to combat the coronavirus.

We will be following up with different federal departments in the coming days to ensure we are kept top of mind when it comes to providing information and resources so that we are able to assist local Friendship Centres in keeping the urban Indigenous communities informed, safe, and help curb the spread of the virus as much as possible.

At the national office, we have offered work from home options, canceled all upcoming travel, and have taken extra measures to ensure disinfecting. We know that these are not always possible with frontline work, but we want the Friendship Centre Movement to know that even if we may not all be at the office, we are still available.

If you wish to get in contact with us, please reach out via e-mail. You can find our staff directory here.

COVID-19: New Ways of Running Friendship Centre Programming

COVID-19 New Ways of Running Friendship Centre Programming

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Friendship Centres have proven their commitment to their community members in finding new ways to reach them through social media and technology! Here are a few examples of what we've seen over the past several weeks;

Do you have a program or story you would like to share on how your Friendship Centre is supporting your community during COVID-19? Please send us an e-mail!

COVID-19: NAFC Resource List

COVID-19: NAFC Resource List

(Google Doc. updated regularly) 

Since the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) has been doing our best to navigate the response and support our network of over 107-member Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations across the country. We are paying close attention to the daily updates provided from public health and are abiding by all of their recommendations.

With the safety of our community members and Movement in mind; our priority is to support Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in whatever they need and in whatever decisions they make. Please note that this information should not be taken as advice.  

We have been working hard behind the scenes to develop a resource list which you may find beneficial as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any questions, or require additional support, please contact us:


General resources for Friendship Centers

During this time, we advise Friendship Centres to:

  1. Contact their funders to confirm flexibility on use of funds, reporting, and completing deliverables.
  2. Track your expenses that are a response to the pandemic.
  3. Follow their provincial and local public health authorities for the most updated and relevant information for your community.

Public Health Canada has dedicated a webpage towards Community-based measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada. This provides a more in-depth explanation on COVID-19 and includes conversation on social distancing at a community-level, community-based measures and COVID-19, and how we should move forward with this outbreak.

Here are a few resources that can assist with how to proceed amidst the COVID-19 outbreak at a local Friendship Centre level.


Federal Supports and Funding related to COVID-19

April 29, 2020 Update:

  • Separate Temporary Wage Subsidy (10%) and Emergency Wage Subsidy (75%) programs
  • Commercial rent relief announcement, emergency business account update

Indigenous Community Support Fund

-        Will flow directly to communities (First Nation, Inuit, and Metis, as well as regional, urban, and off-reserve Indigenous organizations) $15 million is set aside for “regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members living away from their communities, and to regional organizations such as Friendship Centres and the Metis Settlements General Council of Alberta”.

-        These funds could be used for measures including, but not limited to:

o   support for Elders and vulnerable community members

o   measures to address food insecurity

o   educational and other support for children

o   mental health assistance and emergency response services

o   preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19


More information can be found here.



The fund is not accepting new applications at this time. NAFC received $3.75 million dollars from the fund to disperse to local friendship centres.

Shelters + Homelessness

Shelters are not mentioned in Bill C-13, however, the following measures have been announced:

-        Up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities

-        The Government is “continuing to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative” – this is existing funding, not new funding




More information about Reaching Home can be found here

Support for Employers, Small Businesses, Non-Profits

-        The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program will cover  up to 75% of employee wages and is open to big and small businesses, non-profits, and charities. Additional info:

o   The subsidy will cover annual earnings up to $58,700; the maximum subsidy for each employee would be $847 a week.

o   The program is retroactive to March 15.

-        The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Non-profits and registered charities are eligible for this.

-        The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA):

o   The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.

o   The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

o   Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

-        The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

o   To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.

o   Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.

-        Extending the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 75 weeks. This program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

-        Temporary wage top-up for low-income essential workers: This is being provided by the provinces/territories and supplemented by the Federal Government. No additional information is available at this time.


More information and applications for the CEWS can be found here.




For more information about the temporary wage subsidy, click here.




Find more information about the rent relief program here.






More information about the emergency business account can be found here.





More information about the work-sharing program can be found here

Food Security


-        Canada will be investing an additional $100 million into organizations that address food security. $30 million is set aside for “local-level organizations who serve people experiencing food insecurity”

-        Funding will be delivered through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund.


No applications open yet; more information available here


-        Not mentioned in the Act, no specific supports announced to date



Elder Care

-        Elder care is listed as a possible expense in the Indigenous Community Support Fund (see above)

-        Otherwise, “senior support” is limited to reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds by 25% for 2020



No additional information available at this time

Youth, including youth in care

-        Educational and other support for children is listed as a possible expense for the Indigenous Community Support Fund (see above)

-        The government is funding Kids Help Phone for an additional $7.5 million

-        See also “Non-Governmental Supports” below

-        Otherwise, the only other measure specifically related to “youth” is a six-month moratorium on student loan payments, effective March 30 (no application is required, the deferral is automatic)

Learn more about the moratorium here




Employment Insurance (EI)

-        Canada will no longer require a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

-        The Act introduces the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a new form of income support outside of the EI regime. Workers do not need to meet the EI insurable hours eligibility rules to qualify for it.

Apply for EI sickness benefits online here


Applications open for the CERB in early April. More information can be found online here


Other Federal Payments / Initiatives

-        A one-time additional payment under the GST/HST tax credit, which is automatic if you are already receiving the benefit;

-        Temporary additional amounts under the Canada Child Benefit, which are automatic if you are already receiving the benefit;

-        The federal government has also moved the filing date for income tax to June 2019


Apply for the Canada Child Benefit here

Non-Governmental Supports

-        The Children’s Aid Foundation announced a COVID-19 youth support fund for “youth aging out of the temporary or permanent care of a Canadian child welfare agency”, and have been overwhelmed with applications. As of April 6, applications are on hold, but you can sign up for notifications for when they open again.

More information is available here


Additional Resources / Information:

Indigenous Community Support Fund - https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1585189335380/1585189357198

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Benefits and services: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

Support for Businesses: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-businesses.html

What you need to know about the new COVID-19 benefits program: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-income-supports-covid19-1.5509247

Bill C-13 (An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19): https://www.parl.ca/Content/Bills/431/Government/C-13/C-13_3/C-13_3.PDF

Canada’s Response to COVID-19

A list of resources that outlines the immediate actions that the Government is taking to help and support Canadians facing hardship as a result of this outbreak: 

COVID-19 Reopening Resources

A list of resources that outlines the plans and guidelines that provinces have set as they slowly lift restrictions and businesses begin to re-open.



Alberta's Relaunch Strategy

Edmonton Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

British Columbia

BC's Restart Plan

Victoria BC Canada Reopening Guidelines for Tourism Businesses


Restoring Safe Services - Future Steps

Restoring Services: Phase 2

Restoring Services: Phase 3

Winnipeg COVID-19

New Brunswick

NB's Recovery Plan

Fredericton Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Newfoundland Labrador

Gov. N.L Alert Level System

St John's COVID-19 Updates

Nova Scotia

N.S COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Reopening Nova Scotia

Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plans

Halifax Latest COVID-19 News


Reopening Ontario

City of Toronto COVID-19

Ottawa's Reopening Plan

Prince Edward Island

PEI Re-Openings

Renew PEI Together FAQs

Charlottetown Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


Gradual resumption of activities under the COVID-19-related pause

Reopening and Maintaining Economic Activities (COVID-19)

Quebec Cite Coronavirus: What You Need to Know


Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) City of Regina

Northwest Territories

GNWT's Response to COVID-19

Emerging Wisely - Path to Eased Public Health Restrictions

Relaxing Phase 2: Next Steps (Current Phase)

Whitehorse Latest Response to COVID-19


Nunavut's Path: Moving Forward During COVID-19

Nunavut's Path

Iqaluit COVID-19 Update


Summary of Yukon's Plan for Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions

City of Yellowknife Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)



COVID-19 Disability-Related Resources for Families

  • The IncludeMe Canada Social Movement has created a disability-related resource page that can better aid folks with different abilities.

World Blind Union

  • The World Blind Union has created a resource page that consists of external resources that can better assist folks that may be visually impaired.
  • The webpage has audio on handwashing advice.

COVID-19: Useful Resources for Persons with Disabilities

  • The Rick Hansen Foundation has compiled a list of in-house resources and external resources relating to COVID-19. Their resources vary from sharing the best times to go shopping, lessons on accessibility and inclusion, and financial assistance.

#COVIDdisability: Disability-related resources for families

  • The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) has compiled a list of disability-related resources that respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and Persons with Disabilities

  • The Disability Rights Fund has created a webpage dedicated to disability-inclusive responses to COVID-19 at an international scale.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource List


Use of Masks

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has created an informative webpage regarding the use of masks. This webpage also includes a number of useful infographics that can easily be downloaded and shared.

About Non-Medical Masks and Face Covering

  • Public Health Canada has released information on the use of non-medical masks and face coverings.
  • This webpage included information on how to put the non-medical masks on, what is deemed as appropriate masks, who should be wearing masks, and also how to make your own mask at home.

Can A Mask Protect Me? Putting Homemade Masks in the Hierarchy of Controls

  • The John Hopkins Education and Research Centre for Occupational Safety and Health has provided an in-depth take on the use of masks and answers FAQ on the use of masks.

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

  • The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared information on the use of cloth face coverings and methods on creating home-made cloth coverings (sew and no sew)
  • The CDC has also provided printer friendly versions of the webpage: Use of Cloth Face Covering to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

How to Wash Homemade Cloth Face Masks?

  • The Huffington Post has published an entry on how to wash homemade cloth face masks. This entry includes advice from Health Canada and the CDC and attempts to answer FAQs on the maintenance of cloth masks.


COVID-19 Assessment Centres

COVID-19 Assessment Centres  

  • The NAFC has compiled a google document with information on COVID-19 testing sites based on provinces. There is information regarding the locations of these testing sites, how appointments are being made, and when you can collect your test result.


Health-Related Resources

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

 Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous Communities

  • Indigenous Services Canada has provided a number of information and resources pertaining to COVID-19 and Indigenous communities, this also consists of a video from Indigenous Services Canada and their updates on this outbreak.
  • Public service announcements regarding COVID-19 have also been provided in various Indigenous languages.

 First Nations Health Authority - Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 Flowchart

  • Here is a flowchart to assist when attempting to get further guidance on getting checked over the phone, in person, and what to do if you are showing symptoms.

Daily Scan of Selected Public Health Organizations

  • This is an active document that consists of international updates and resources on COVID-19 that was compiled by Public Health Ontario.

COVID-19 Information for People Living with HIV

  • The Urban Indian Health Institute has a downloaded resource with people living with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and Diabetes

  • Diabetes Voice has provided information to better assist individuals that are diabetic during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Myth Busters

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has shared a list of myth busters in relation to COVID-19. 

Coronavirus FAQs: Can people without symptoms spread COVID-19? How long does it live on surfaces? What cleaning products kill the virus?

  • The Conversation has shared a piece on the most frequently asked questions on COVID-19.

The dangerous legacy of COVID-19: A rise in antimicrobial resistance

  • With the increased spread of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global and Mail has released an opinion piece on the dangers of misinformation.

No, you can't make an N-95 respirator out of a bra

  • CBC News has released an article debunking myths and remedies surrounding COVID-19.

Substance Abuse

COVID-19 Safer Drug Use Harm Reduction Tips

  • Provides information on ensuring a safe and clean environment for drug use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online Meeting Directory

  • The Online Intergroup Alcoholics Anonymous group offers a directory of AA Canada meetings in various mediums such as Zoom Meeting, one tap mobile, and one can dial by their location.
  • There are resources available for folks’ part of the LBGTQ+ community, folks that are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, loners/internationalists, and atheist/agonistic.


Domestic Violence

Find Help Across Canada

  • Ending Violence Association of Canada has provided a directory of resources based on provinces for individuals that are experiencing domestic violence.

Battered Women's Support Services

  • The Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) will continue providing emotional support to women experiencing gender-based domestic violence.

Shelter Safe

  • Shelter Safe will still be providing support to women and children that are fleeing from violence. Their crisis lines will also still be open to provide information on creating safety planning.


Youth Support

Crisis Services Canada

  • Crisis Services Canada (CSC) has provided a list of local resources and support for individuals that may have suicidal thoughts, and has COVID-19 Resources.

Referral Database

  • LGBT Youth Line has provided an online directory of support and resources that can respond to the needs of individuals within the LGBTQ+ community.


  • Good2Talk provides support for post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Service Continuation During COVID-19

  • Hands The Family Help Network has a list of resources and tools that can help youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Kids Help Now

  • Kids Help Now will continue providing support and assistance to youth. (They have also provided additional resources based on one’s location.)

Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Child Trends has compiled a list of resources and recommendations on how to better support a child’s emotional well-being. 


Mental Health Related Resources

Managing Anxiety and Stress

  • The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared tips on how to cope with stress during the outbreak of the Coronavirus. There is information to help reduce stress for yourself and those around you, assistance for parents and children, and folks that have been released from quarantine. They have a webpage dedicated to Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event and ways in which we can take care of emotional health. To ensure the safety of individuals that mental health issues, there is information on reducing stigma.

Canadian Hearing Services’ Hearing Care & CONNECT Counsellors available virtually March 31

  • The Canadian Hearing Services has compiled a list of counsellors that can be connected virtually.

Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body

  • The Alberta Health Services has provided breathing exercises and activities that can help manage stress.

COVID-19 and Mental Health

  • The Canadian Mental Health Association has put together some resources that can help with your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. This webpage also provides credible sources that can further assist with topics surrounding mental health.
  • The CMHA has also include information regarding stigma and discrimination.

Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has provided a tip sheet on social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. This tip sheet explores the feeling and thoughts that you might have while and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation; as well as, providing information to help navigate those experience.

Mental Health and COVID-19 - Information and Resources

  • Mental Health America (MHA) has shared information and resources for managing one’s anxiety, tools that can help stay connected (especially for individuals living with mental illness), and more information to help support youth members.

What to do if you're anxious or worried about coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Anxiety Canada has shared suggestion on how to best cope and manage the anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Talking to Your Anxious Child About COVID-19

  • The Children’s Mental Health Ontario has shared information on how to assist a child dealing with anxiety during this pandemic.

COVID-19: Supporting a discussion with children and youth

  • The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child & Youth Mental Health has created a list of resources on how to better support youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also included printable resources and activities to better explain the current happenings.

Mental health resources during COVID19/Coronavirus

  • This active google document provides free and affordable mental health resources; as well as, a list of crisis hotlines, online therapy websites, and tools to ease one’s anxiety during these times.


Indigenous Specific Resources

Although there hasn’t been any information regarding the use of traditional medicine and COVID-19, we believe it is important to include Indigenous resources in this resources list and may be of value to you!

Indigenous Services Canada

COVID Resources for Indigenous Peoples

  • Indigenous Climate Action has provided a number of amazing resources that are Indigenous focused to help stay informed and provide guidance during this outbreak.
  • These resources touch on:
    • Social Distancing
    • Mental Health Support
    • Traditional Medicines and Holistic Practices
    • Entertainment for Teens and Adults
    • Learning
    • Maintaining Community Connection
    • Making a Clean Space
    • Community Care

Decolonizing Community Care in Response to COVID-19

  • The NDN Collective has shared information on traditional practices that can help manage stress and reinforce community care during COVID-19.

Resources to Assist First Nations in Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • The Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP. (OKT) has created a blog with general assistance to First Nations regarding pandemic planning, funding and potential legal issues.

Highlights from A COVID-19 Fireside Chart with Indigenous Health Professionals

  • The Yellowhead Institute complied a document to summarize the conversations surrounding Indigenous communities and COVID-19.

Indigenous Health During COVID-19

  •  TVO has shared a video identifying the challenges that are specific to Indigenous communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Clean & Disinfect

CDC: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

First Nations Health Authority: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources for First Nations Community Health Care Providers


List of Resources and Information Based on Provinces


COVID-19 Info for Albertans

Alberta Health Services Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information for Albertans

Pride Centre of Edmonton

British Columbia

BC Centre for Disease Control COVID-19

Common Questions


Coronavirus - Province of Manitoba

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Gov. Coronavirus

Government of New Brunswick Update on COVID-19

Newfoundland Labrador

NL Gov. COVID-19 Information

Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador COVID-19

Nova Scotia

NS Gov. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nova Scotia Health Authority Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Public Health Ontario COVID-19 Public Resources

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Ont. Gov.  Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island COVID-19

Resources for Individuals and Families COVID-19


QC Gov. Coronavirus (COVID-19) (FR)

Sante Montreal Coronavirus Covid-19 (FR)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Informations pour les communautés autochtones


Sask. Gov. COVID-19

Northerwest Territories

Government of Northwest Territories: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Health and Social Services: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) FAQs


Department of Health: COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)


Find Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Supporting Indigenous Cultures campaign

Supporting Indigenous Cultures campaign

The NAFC took part in the national Supporting Indigenous Cultures campaign published by Mediaplanet. To read our article and also learn about the organizations, academic institutions, and partnerships working to support Indigenous peoples in reaching their highest potential and in building strong communities, follow the link.

Partnership with Future of Good

We are excited to announce that we are partnering with Future of Good to publish pieces showcasing the people and innovation behind the Friendship Centre Movement.

If you, your Friendship Centre or Provincial/Territorial Association has a story you'd like to share, please get in touch

Our first piece is coming out this weekend, on International Women's Day.

Make sure you sign up for the special series newsletter!

Gathering Our Voices

From March 16-19, 2020, the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) and the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society (KAFS) are honoured to host Gathering our Voices 2020 on Secwépemc traditional territory.

Every year, Gathering Our Voices brings together up to 2,000 Indigenous youth delegates as well as chaperones, Elders, speakers, guests, entertainment, staff and volunteers. Young Indigenous people from across Canada are invited to join us to explore, to learn and to engage with culture among peers.

The BCAAFC and its members have long recognized the need for Indigenous youth to come together in a supportive and encouraging environment. Thus, Gathering Our Voices was established in order to raise our hands and honour Indigenous youth for their resilience, strength and leadership.

To learn more about Gathering Our Voices, please visit their website.

Mastercard Foundation Contributes $1 Million to FCM COVID-19 Response

1$ million contribution from Mastercard Foundation to help Friendship Centres serve urban Indigenous community

The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre (MNFC) would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of $1 million from the Mastercard Foundation to support Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTAs) across the country as they navigate the COVID-19 response.

“Friendship Centres have been on the front lines, doing the best they can, with limited resources to support urban Indigenous communities from the start of the pandemic and these funds will help them continue that work. We appreciate Mastercard Foundation’s recognition of our unique role in supporting the urban Indigenous community now, and are very grateful for their support,” says NAFC president Christopher Sheppard Buote.

The contribution is part of the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program announced earlier this month. The program aims to assist institutions and communities in Africa and within Indigenous communities in Canada to withstand and respond to the impacts of COVID-19, while strengthening their resilience.

“The financial support from the Mastercard Foundation will go a long way to ensure that we, at the MNFC, are meeting the needs of our community here in Halifax. We are happy to work in partnership with the NAFC to ensure this support reaches across the country,” says MNFC executive director Pam Glode Desrochers.

The Friendship Centre Movement employs over 3,600 people and serves over 1.7 million clients (Indigenous and non) annually. Friendship Centres provide essential services in urban areas (including health care, housing, justice and crisis support, daily meals, cultural programming, etc.) and during this pandemic, are picking up the slack as other local services close their doors; meaning their communities rely on them for consistent public health updates and support during this pandemic.

"There is no blueprint for navigating this crisis. However, the actions we take now will shape the post-COVID-19 world. This crisis is teaching us how interdependent we are as well as how powerful collective action can be,” says Reeta Roy, President and CEO, Mastercard Foundation.

Funding the work of the Friendship Centre Movement is important now, more than ever, so Friendship Centres can continue to support their communities when they need it most. The support from the Mastercard Foundation will help our Centres continue to carry out their essential work.

If you’re able to at this time, please consider donating to your local Friendship Centre.

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