- COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Indigenous communities across Canada
- Remote communities, particularly those in Inuit Nunangat, are especially vulnerable
TORONTO and OTTAWA, March 1, 2021 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group (BMO) is working with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) to ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is available to communities across Inuit Nunangat that need it most. More than 113,900 masks, 563,000 wipes and 438 gallons of sanitizer have been delivered to help protect Inuit during the pandemic in communities throughout Nunavut, Nunavik, the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Nunatsiavut.
"Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is pleased to make connections between Inuit regions and corporate partners such as BMO that have the means to help our communities," said Natan Obed, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. "Inuit are especially vulnerable to severe impacts from COVID-19 as a result of long-standing inequalities affecting, among other things, the ability of many Inuit to access clean water for hand washing, and adequate housing for isolating if COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed. We all have a role in addressing these gaps, and I am grateful to the team at BMO for this contribution of personal protective equipment for Inuit regions at this critical time."
"At BMO, we have close and long-standing relationships with Indigenous customers and communities across Canada through our Indigenous Banking Group and our Indigenous Advisory Council," said Mike Bonner, Head, BMO Canadian Business Banking. "These ties helped us identify an opportunity to support a number of communities in need, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit. In the case of the Inuit communities across Inuit Nunangat, we are grateful to ITK for their partnership which was pivotal to getting protective equipment into the hands of people in communities that need it the most."
The PPE shipment to Inuit Nunangat is part of a larger program at BMO to get protective gear into dozens of Indigenous communities across Canada with the help of community leaders and organizations like ITK, WASAC, First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres and Yellowquill College. To date nearly 150,000 face masks, 500 gallons of sanitizer and 750,000 wipes have been delivered to First Nations and Métis communities from coast to coast and to Inuit communities across Inuit Nunangat.
About Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national representational organization for 65,000 Inuit in Canada, the majority of whom live in four regions of Arctic Canada, specifically the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec) and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). Collectively these four regions make up Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada. It includes 51 communities and encompasses roughly 35 percent of Canada's landmass and 50 percent of its coastline.
About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $973 billion as of January 31, 2021, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.
SOURCE BMO Financial Group