Toquaht Nation provided a one-time only distribution of $500 to all citizens. The Nation has increased the harvesting and distribution of fish and seafood to citizens, including halibut, clams, roe, kelp, and canned salmon.
Toquaht is a small community of only 35 people, with the majority of citizens living away from home in Port Alberni, Victoria or Vancouver. Away from home citizens receive the monetary distribution through direct deposit, and have the option of driving to collect the fish distribution.
Toquaht Nation is providing information on preventing COVID-19 and physical distancing to citizens through social media communications and door-to-door communications. Health staff are doing regular call outs to citizens to check-in, offer support, and ensure citizens know how to access health services.
The monetary and fish distribution and calls to citizens are intended to support the whole community. There has been a community need to address the impacts to mental health and family dynamics during the pandemic, and reassure individuals that what they are experiencing is completely natural and normal and it is important to express feelings in a healthy way. Tools include going for a walk, solo activities, and taking time and space away from family members.
By providing key information, traditional foods, and financial assistance, Toquaht Nation provides citizens with a sense of security and demonstrates that leadership is looking out for citizens during this unprecedented pandemic. Having an updated and customized Communicable Disease Emergency Response Plan (formerly the Pandemic Influenza Plan) has been key to being prepared for the pandemic. The template provided by the FNHA is intended for a large community with an EOC and infrastructure, and therefore didn’t meet the needs of a small community like Toquaht Nation. Taking the time to create a customized plan that is specific to Toquaht Nation has been very helpful.
With declining supplies in Ucluelet and Tofino during the pandemic, Toquaht Nation is learning about the importance of food security and the ancestral practices of canning, dehydrating, and seasonal foraging.