COVID-19 Update (May 14)

As you know for the past several weeks the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) has been holding weekly Telephone Town Halls with leadership across the Province to provide updates highlighting the federal, provincial, local and MNO response to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and to provide an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns.

The MNO's Chief Electoral Officer has advised that during the voting period of the MNO 2020 Election (May 5 to June 1, 2020) these updates not continue to be provided by current MNO leadership. MNO will continue to provide regular written updates on key developments and statistics.

If there are any questions to be addressed, please email ElizabethH@metisnation.org, and we will build these into a frequently asked questions document which we will provide to leadership and make available on the MNO website.

Reminder on available COVID-19 resources

The MNO strongly encourages Citizens with urgent needs or concerns related to COVID-19 to utilize the helpline via email at COVIDhelp@metisnation.org or by calling the toll free line 1-800-263-4889. Citizens applying for emergency financial support can still apply online via this link: https://covid.metisnation.org. COVID-19 related Fact Sheets are being updated on a weekly basis at this time and are available on the MNO website here: www.metisnation.org/covid-19. The MNO is also providing updates and news on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Message to MNO Citizens

While reports on COVID-19 continue to evolve, the advice from health authorities and leadership at this time remains the same: physical distancing, practicing proper hygiene and self-isolating are critical in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve. Heightened hygiene measures include both thoroughly washing your hands and any frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, phones, mailboxes, etc.). Additionally, individuals are encouraged to wear face masks when out in public, as wearing a mask both protects those around you from any accidental sneezes/coughs, while also minimizing face-touching -- another recommended tactic in keeping healthy and safe. Many Métis sewers are making fabric masks for our citizens: those who would like a mask can contact their Community Council Women’s Rep, your MNOWC Regional Rep or COVIDhelp@metisnation.org if you would like one sent to you or if you would like to volunteer to make masks. 

MNO Volunteer Checklist

MNO citizens continue to work selflessly, volunteering their time by checking in on elders and seniors in our communities, sewing, and even delivering supplies to those in need. An MNO Volunteer Checklist was sent out to all citizens and employees via email and is available on the MNO website. Following the guidelines in the checklist is particularly important for citizens who are going out in the community. MNO citizens have also been setting aside their beadwork and finger-weaving to pitch in on a much-needed project: mask-making. Many thanks to all the MNO citizens who are out there doing their part in this uncertain time.

MNO COVID-19 Support Program Update

The initial surge of applications for the MNO’s Interim COVID-19 Support Programs has slowed. At this time, we are receiving around 30 applications a day through the online application process and approximately 30-40 people are reaching out for support through our COVID-19 helpline and email address. Over 1,500 applications for financial support have been received from more than 1,000 individuals. Every application has been allocated to an MNO staff person and each applicant is being contacted individually. Almost 500 citizens have had financial supports approved for payment or paid out, and to date MNO has provided financial support to more than 550 Métis children!  We thank you all applicants for their patience.

In addition to financial supports being processed by MNO staff, our citizens affected by COVID are being supported in other ways, including through existing Healing and Wellness and Mental Health and Addictions programming, and by being triaged for support locally from their Community Councils. Often, people who reach out to MNO receive support in multiple ways, from staff processing applications for financial support, to staff delivering regular MNO programming, to Council volunteers delivering support on the ground, to Senators calling to check in. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Through MNO’s partners/funders in the Ontario Minister of Community Children and Social Services, Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has offered MNO some PPE for our staff and volunteers who are doing work in our communities. Those Community Councils that applied to receive funds to deliver service locally will be receiving packages of PPE – including gloves, masks and hand sanitizer approximately every two weeks. The same Council contact person who was identified to receive the first shipment of hand sanitizer from MNO will be receiving packages of PPE directly from a government of Ontario warehouse in Mississauga. We have been informed that some items may be on temporary back order, so Councils may be receiving more than one package every two weeks. At this point, the PPE being shipped from Ontario is intended to provide protection to volunteers and MNO staff delivering services in our communities.

If Councils are finding that they are receiving too much PPE, please email ShelleyG@metisnation.org who can request to you removed from the distribution list.

Shortly MNO is expecting to receive the shipment of the PPE that we ordered, which will allow MNO to prepare PPE kits for community members, especially those directly affected by COVID in their homes.

Pocket Beading Kits 

The MNO Education and Training Branch (MNOET) has been working with MNO Youth Council (MNOYC) to purchase pocket beading kits. Shortly, each MNO Community Council will receive 14 kits that they can distribute in the community as part of their community work, and additional kits are being procured. Community Councils are being contacted to arrange shipping.

MNO Education Print Resources

The MNOET Branch has also been contacting MNO Community Councils to arrange the shipping of a number of printed MNO educational resources. MNO Councils will be receiving the following:

  • 1 box large birch bark paper (100 copies)
  • 1 box colouring books (140 copies)
  • 100 small birch bark papers
  • 50 Michif workbooks
  • 200 Get Together Activity booklet


Note: If a Council has not yet been in contact with MNOET Branch staff and are interested in receiving a kit, please contact Rae-Anna Gardner at RaeG@metisnation.org.

MNO Education Kits 

In October of 2019, MNOET Branch began contacting Community Councils (as well as the Veterans Council, Women’s Council and Youth Council) regarding MNO Education Kits. In November, Kits were sent to MNO Councils that expressed interest in receiving them. The boxes contained 8 kits in various combinations of English and French as identified by the Council. If Council Presidents haven’t received the education kits yet, please contact Rae-Anna Gardner at raeg@metisnation.org.

Quarantine Creative

In an effort to maintain social connections during this time of social distancing, MNO has created a social media campaign designed to showcase the amazing art and creative pursuits of our MNO citizens and employees. Join in by tagging us on social media and using the hashtag #QuarantineCreative or by sending us a direct message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Share your art with us and help us spread some positivity because we’re all in this together! 

Métis Voyageur

A Special Edition of the Métis Voyageur containing information on the MNO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and information on the 2020 MNO Election is in the mail and on the way to MNO households. The issue is available online right now: Métis Voyageur #103.

MNO Harvesting During COVID-19

COVID-19 has seen many public health measures put into place in an effort to protect the health and wellbeing of the public. This information sheet provides information and recommendations to MNO harvesters to help them stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19

MNO Election 2020

Citizens are encouraged to visit the 2020 MNO Election page on MNO’s website for information about the election, including how to cast a vote by telephone or online. 

COVID-19 has added unique challenges to MNO Election 2020, particularly related to the ability for voters to learn about candidates and their platforms.  As such, the Chief Electoral Officer made the recommendation to waive the prohibition of using the MNO webpage to post candidate information.  Each candidate was offered the opportunity to post a photo and 500 words about themselves and their campaign. Visit the election page to learn more about those running to represent you.

As per the MNO Electoral Code, the Chief Electoral Officer will announce acclamations (where only one Candidate was nominated for a position) on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 on the election webpage.

A reminder that voting for MNO Election 2020 will close at 6:00 p.m. on June 1, 2020.

Posted: May 14, 2020 

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