A fourth weekly Telephone Town Hall took place Wednesday, April 15 2020 to provide leadership with updates pertaining to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and the MNO’s response. Included in the call were updates on the status of both federal and MNO-specific financial resources and supports, including emergency funds available to communities, and outlined continuity plans for certain MNO services and programs.
Reminder on available COVID-19 resources
The MNO strongly encourages Citizens with urgent needs or concerns related to COVID-19 to utilize the new help line via email at COVIDhelp@metisnation.org or by calling the toll free line 1-800-263-4889.
Citizens applying for emergency financial support can apply directly online at this link: https://covid.metisnation.org.
COVID-19 related Fact Sheets are also frequently being updated and are available at the MNO website: www.metisnation.org/covid-19.
Message to our Citizens
Once again, 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 for essentials, as wearing a mask both protects those around you from any accidental sneezes/coughs, while also minimizing habits of frequent face touching –another recommended tactic in keeping healthy and safe.
Outreach calls updates
The MNO is finalizing its initial outreach efforts to address the immediate needs of Métis community members, particularly those vulnerable and in-need citizens. As of now, the outreach to our seniors is nearly complete with only certain outstanding calls to Region 9 remaining.
Post-secondary student updates
At this time, the MNO will be delivering its annual Summer Youth Cultural Program remotely to continue employing youth and fostering Métis-based learning, with its emphasis on Métis culture, knowledge and history. The MNO is currently in the process of hiring those Métis post-secondary students that have applied for the 2020 session.
While the applications for the Summer Youth Program have closed, students currently looking for summer work are encouraged to reach out to the MNO Education and Training.
The MNO also continues to monitor potential financial supports for post-secondary students, and is following updates on available federal and provincial funding sources for students affected by COVID-19.
Volunteering and making connections
Making safe connections within the community continues to be a priority during the pandemic, and citizens are again encouraged to reach out and check in with others who might be struggling with feelings of isolation.
On a local level, the MNO is seeking out community volunteers to donate their time and ensure the needs of local Citizens are being met. Community volunteers are being asked to reach out to local citizens who may be in need, and to contribute to the health and wellbeing of citizens by delivering gift-cards for food and groceries, medicine and essential supplies to those in their area.
All volunteers are expected to follow safety protocols, and practice physical distancing and proper hygiene when making deliveries. Sanitizer and masks will be made available to councils and volunteers who participate. Volunteers will also be reimbursed for delivery/travel expenses at a rate of $.55/km.
Volunteering guidelines and safety protocols will be distributed and interested citizens should contact their local Community Councils for more information.
Many citizens are inquiring about harvesting policies during COVID-19, and the MNO realizes that food security may be a concern for many at this time. The MNO President has been and will continue to be in communication with both the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the MNO Captains of the Hunt to discuss needs and updates. Follow the MNO webpage and social media channels for updates on harvesting policies.
MNO COVID-19 Supports
The MNO is pleased to report the success of Community Councils and the local distribution of emergency funds for community members. These emergency funds have been essential in ensuring that food, medications, and supplies reach those in need. This funding will continue to be made available to councils to fill the gap for those requiring emergency supports and services.
At this time, over 900 applications for COVID-19 supports have been received, and the MNO appreciates your patience as this high volume of requests is processed. The MNO will also be reviewing the data provided in these applications to assess the level and types of needs in each community.
Fees for citizenship and harvesting applications, including fees associated with renewals, are currently waived.
As a reminder, MNO COVID-19 Emergency Financial Support Programs are available to provide supplemental emergency financial supports for citizen’s and their families. These emergency supports are in place to help bridge the transition to the Federal Government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). APPLY NOW AT: https://covid.metisnation.org
Federal and provincial supports
All available federal and provincial supports may be accessed online on the MNO’s COVID-19 response page:.
In the Telephone Town Hall, the MNO President reported that they are keeping in close contact with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations on COVID-19 developments, the Emergencies Act, and how the federal government will respond to the evolving needs of Métis Citizens. The Minister and federal government will continue to work alongside the MNO on identifying, developing and maintaining ongoing supports for Métis citizens during these challenging times and into the coming months.
Reminder on scams
Unfortunately, Canada has reported a 4000% increase in scams and other fraudulent activities as individuals seek to take advantage of the current climate. We again encourage citizens to be vigilant in protecting themselves and their identities against potentially fraudulent activities and scammers. As a reminder, neither the MNO executives nor staff will solicit citizens for financial donations or contributions. If contacted by suspect individual claiming to represent the MNO, under no circumstances should citizens provide them with identifying information, money, gift cards or other requests.
Upcoming community events
The MNO continues to promote safe social connections to keep citizens engaged and entertained with its virtual “kitchen party” series. The third MNO virtual “kitchen party” takes place Friday, April 16 and features performances by Alex Marusyk and Amanda Rheaume. Content from all previous virtual kitchen parties are available on our Facebook feed. Follow our social media for future announcements.
Posted: May 1, 2020