The NDP is calling on the Saskatchewan government to produce supports and protections for First Nations and Métis people who are at significant risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Official opposition leader Ryan Meili believes the province’s response so far has been slow and limited to help First Nations and Métis communities prepare for the virus.
Among the commitments the NDP have requested from the government include:
- Ensure safe housing for on- and off-reserve populations, including capacity for self-isolation;
- Address acute food security concerns in rural and remote areas of the province as supply chains are interrupted and prices rise;
- Increase testing and contact tracing throughout the north, on reserve across Saskatchewan and in urban areas with high First Nations and Métis populations;
- Ensure protections for health care workers, including PPE resources, in already challenging work situations;
- Increase communication with and involvement of First Nations and Métis leaders in decision-making.
NDP critic for Northern Saskatchewan Doyle Vermette said one of the many concerns he’s heard from residents in his constituency is food security.
He said it’s crucial that isolated communities have proper access.
“When you have people that need to leave the community when they need food or they can’t afford it, if pricing is an issue, then we have to make sure we address it,” explained Vermette.
“I’m hoping the province will address this and do what it’s needed to do to step up.”