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The Canadian Red Cross welcomes the government investments announced in the federal budget

By investing in community organizations with financial support and granting programs, including the Community Services Recovery Fund, equity-focused groups can access the support they need to strengthen their operational capacity. This way, community groups can reinvest and support their own communities. The Red Cross welcomes these investments. (File: Vonecia Carswell / Unsplash)

The Canadian Red Cross welcomes the Canadian government’s latest budget, which includes investments to strengthen resilience and recovery of the population, strengthen global health security, and promote the health of Canadians and indigenous communities. The Red Cross welcomes strategic investments in support of community organizations and justice-seeking groups, investments in readiness, and commitments in support of a response to COVID-19 in Canada and around the world.

Invest in community resilience and recovery
The budget includes key investments to strengthen capacity and support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Includes recovery programs that support solutions for small businesses, indigenous entrepreneurs, charities, nonprofits, and community organizations.

By investing in community organizations with financial support and granting programs, including the Community Services Recovery Fund, equity-focused groups can access the support they need to strengthen their operational capacity. This way, community groups can reinvest and support their own communities. The Red Cross welcomes these investments.

In addition, the Canadian Red Cross welcomes additional support for financial resilience, recovery, and investment in risk reduction measures in response to climate change. Increased support to the Civil Protection and Adaptation Fund, support for disaster recovery in the provinces and territories, and flood mapping and forest fire preparedness are vital to minimize the impact of climate-related events.

Strengthening global health security
Our global health system is interconnected and that has never been so clear as it was during the COVID-19 pandemic. If we are to recover from the pandemic, building a safer and more just world requires solutions that challenge traditional ways of delivering international humanitarian aid. The Canadian Red Cross welcomes international investment in COVID-19 vaccinations and support for the global response to COVID-19. This includes investments to reduce the transmission of the virus across Canada and in all facilities, including correctional facilities.

Vaccinations are critical, but they do not solve the challenges posed by the pandemic. During the pandemic, the Red Cross has seen increases in sexual and gender-based violence, as well as rising inequality among marginalized groups and deteriorating mental health. The commitment to support protracted crises, including the Rohingya crisis and the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis, remains central to an equitable recovery from COVID-19.

Promoting health in indigenous communities
Through the Canadian Red Cross experience of working with indigenous communities, we recognize that responding to and preparing for disasters and emergencies – including a pandemic – is most effective when it is sustainable and community-led. Therefore, the Canadian Red Cross recommends investments to support indigenous communities in their fight against COVID-19 and to help respond to the health effects of climate change. Health and wellness investments, led and supported by the community, build resilience and response that foster local leadership for indigenous peoples.

Investing in health and wellness
The Canadian Red Cross welcomes increased investment in the substance use and addiction program. Since joining the Health Canada initiative, the Red Cross, in coordination with St. John Ambulance, has offered opioid poisoning response training in all provinces and territories (except Quebec, which has similar programs).

The Canadian Red Cross welcomes investments in support of the aging of seniors in place. Working with the Canadian Frailty Network, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Age Well, the Red Cross welcomes the Age Well at Home initiative. Helping seniors continue to live safely and socially within their own four walls for as long as they wish outside of nursing homes or hospitals not only increases their quality of life but also reduces the burden on caregivers. Community-based programs that leverage the expertise and reach of local organizations through knowledge centers can address social isolation and increase support for vulnerable elderly Canadians.

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