We are providing this update as follow-up to our call at 1:00 pm EST/ 12:00pm CST on Monday March 17, 2020.
I encourage everyone to continue to stay calm and focus efforts on preparation. I note that after my call this evening with Minister Miller, emergency funding will not be contingent on declaring a state of emergency. We will have more information about how to access those funds hopefully within the next few days and we will continue to push for that. I also spoke to Minister Rickford about how his ministry will be supporting communities in accessing those funds.
We must continue to do this work together and maintain communication in a streamline approach. These daily briefs provide an opportunity to discuss urgent matters, determine priorities, and work to inform advocacy efforts. I encourage leadership to be in contact with their Tribal Councils and supporting agencies so that we can ensure the best communication possible. As discussed, we are finalizing a communication protocol that ensures two-way communication between NAN communities (also through Tribal Councils and Health Authorities), and the federal and provincial governments. We acknowledge the hard work being done at all levels and understand that a more focused approach will save valuable resources to be directed where they are needed.
A commitment of an initial sum of money was made from the province today regarding immediate food security concerns for both on and off reserve NAN members. We are working with province to determine the disbursement of the funding. This would help us to put together essential goods and foods on and off reserve. There are thoughts toward three staging areas in Timmins, Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout. Plans are in development and collaboration with Tribal Councils will be required.
The NAN COVID-19 Task Team of medical and emergency response professionals was announced yesterday. Chiefs have access to these individuals if support or advice is required.
These experts include:
- Dr. Natalie Bocking, Public Health & Preventative Medicine Specialist
- Dr. Jane Philpott, NAN Special Advisor on Health
- Dr. Michael Kirlew, Family Physician
- Lynne Innes, Nurse Practitioner, CEO & President of Weeneebayko Area Health Authority
- Mae Katt, Nurse Practitioner
- Michelle Gervais, Emergency Management Response Specialist
Internally at NAN we have also organized several coordination teams to monitor issues across sectors. Leads have been identified in Housing and Infrastructure/Emergency Response, Social Services, Community Wellness, Education, Health and Urban Planning.
NAN Legal Services Corporation is attempting to organize Northern NAN courts based on current processes. As communication of any cancellations or changes are at the discretion of individual communities; NAN Legal can only utilize the information they currently have. A schedule of community court will be posted to the NAN website.
NAPS reported that there are no changes in status from yesterday. There will be meeting with NAPS officer’s union president Wednesday at 9:30 am to plan for the situations getting worse in Ontario, residency and travel issues.
Indigenous Services Canada’s (ISC) Major Projects Implementation Office provided an overview update today regarding ongoing major capital projects. They are tracking and monitoring which projects have been impacted due to scheduled delays, restricted access to communities and delays of material that’s coming from other countries. The ISC Ontario region is working with ISC headquarters to ensure if there are any financial implications that Ontario region have the necessary funds to be able to support communities.
We have sent an email to ISC Ontario region regarding funding flow to communities. We will update on that during tomorrow’s call.
If you have any concerns ahead of tomorrow’s call please provide them to us as soon as possible. Thank you to everyone for your continued efforts during this difficult time.Next call: Wednesday March 18, 2020 (1:00 pm EST/ 12:00 CST).