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Memo from Grand Chief- March 20, 2020

Memo from Grand Chief- March 20, 2020

We are providing this update as follow-up to our call at 1:00 pm EST/ 12:00pm CST on Thursday March 20, 2020. We apologize for the technical difficulty and the call ending early. Information will be continuously updated at

Download a copy of the memo

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Timmins by the Porcupine Health Unit. We understand that a 50-year old male travelling aboard was infected and is self-isolating during the time. We wish him well in his recovery. I cannot stress enough the need for all of us to practice recommended public health measures.

NAN COVID-19 Task Team

An update was provided by Dr. Natalie Bocking:

  • In Ontario: 301 cases in the province of Ontario reported this morning and two deaths related to COVID-19
  • 80% of cases have been travel related with 30% of those cases being US travel and 15% close contact
  • We are starting to see cases that cannot be traced back to travel or close contact
  • There is 1 case reported by Porcupine Health Unit – none in NAN communities so far that we are aware


At this time NAN is recommending that NAN First Nations consider the following:

  1. Close borders to non-essential travel
  2. Limit gatherings of no more than 20 people.

Social distancing is the most important thing we can do right now. Dr. Bocking encouraged people to get outside, but to limit all interactions between households.

As well, it is so important that you gather pandemic related information for your community. NAN cannot do this for you. Pandemic planning templates are on the website, we encourage you to use them to the best of our abilities and if you need help, we are there to guide you.


Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) announced the process to access First Nation funding. A memo has been developed for Chiefs that has been distributed and posted on We have attached the guide to this email, as well as the question and answers raised on the ISC call this morning.


  • Communication is a priority to make sure you can give and receive information in a timely way.
  • I was on Wawatay radio this morning with the Timmins office and it was a good way to speak to the citizens of NAN I will continue to be doing this ongoing.

How to Contact the NAN COVID-19 Task Force

  • Please send all inquires regarding COVID-19 to
  • This e-mail will be constantly monitored. All inquiries will be directed to the appropriate resources who will respond as quickly as possible.

Critical Infrastructure

  • First National technical reps as well, the province was involved in a teleconference yesterday to discuss maintaining of drinking water operations in NAN communities during the pandemic.
  • The communities and Tribal Councils were able to provide a report on maintaining the operations given the resources they do have available.
  • Supports were identified and included 10 Ontario First Nations technical officers and 7 northern water works operators to disband as needed.
  • Northern Water Works also offers a 24/7 emergency service via telephone also. However, please note operators can refuse to enter a community if there are confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • ISC provided assurance that Tribal Council’s water funding can continue past April 1.
  • It is up to the communities to determine how they will handle outside operators considering travel advisories and protocols.
  • Take inventory of bottle water needs to get on top of supplies.
  • A summary of the discussion will be posted on our website.

NAN Legal Services

  • All courts and legal aid offices have been closed in Ontario with staff being instructed to work from home. Bail courts have been impacted with information pending.
  • Call in lines have been set up and resources will be posted on the NAN website.


  • A memo was sent out to all of NAPS regarding residency and self-isolation. We are getting an idea of officers willing to stay longer periods in the North and the response has been positive.
  • We have asked officers returning to work to drive to reduce interaction on planes.
  • Arrests will continue and we will consult with the crown regarding release. Serious offenders will be detained, and we will work through that process.


  • Deputy Grand Chief Fox will be providing regular updates on education issues during the pandemic beginning on Monday March 23, 2020.

Food Security & Urban Community Members

  • It has been noted by the Chief’s that gaps exist for off-reserve members needing assistance. NAN is working with the Red Cross and municipal partners to develop hubs for urban NAN community members.
  • NAN will continue to assist them with their processes already in place and advocacy efforts with government will continue.

Next call: Monday March 23, 2020 (1:00 pm EST/ 12:00 CST)

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