Canada must improve COVID-19 data collection for Indigenous communities, minister says

Canada must improve its COVID-19 data collection efforts for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities if it wants to better understand how the novel coronavirus is impacting Indigenous people across the country, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said Saturday.

“We are learning from past experience with responding to pandemics in Canada … that we need to recognize and understand [Indigenous populations] have a higher risk of being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” Miller said. “Along with better access to testing, we are acutely aware of the need to do better, more robust and routinely collected disaggregated data.”

Miller said Ottawa has already pledged $250,000 for improved data collection efforts [led by Dr. Janet Smylie] that would lead to more accurate modelling of the virus’s spread in Indigenous communities and better inform the government’s response.

Also mentioned in NOW Toronto: During a press conference, Miller said the federal government is providing $250,000 to a project led by Toronto-based Métis research scientist Janet Smylie at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital to create a tracking and response platform that will allow for better understanding and data modelling of COVID-19 cases in Indigenous populations.

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