Service Update from Legal Aid Ontario

Like most services, Legal Aid Ontario has been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Wellness Centre received the following update from LAO:

March 19, 2020

Dear Stakeholder

The safety of our staff, clients, and stakeholders is our first priority. As we are currently unable to guarantee a safe workplace for our courthouse staff, LAO has determined that it will be asking staff and per-diems not to attend physical courthouses until further notice, effective end-of-day today.

We are hopeful to resume in-person services soon and are working closely with MAG in order to determine when we would be prepared to return to physical courthouses.
Continuation of client services

We are dedicated more than ever to continuing to provide high-quality services to legal aid clients and we are instituting interim solutions in our district to continue offering services.

Clients can call 1-800-668-8258 if they have questions about what legal aid services are available to them. More information is available on our website.

I will continue to provide you with updates on client services as we put more measures in place. In the meantime, please reach out to me if you have any questions about accessing client services. On behalf of all staff at Legal Aid Ontario, I appreciate your understanding during these difficult times.


Kaitlyn McCabe
Director General
West District
Legal Aid Ontario

Council Moves to Protect Community By Limiting Access

With the deepening pandemic crisis threatening the health and welfare of the community, the Chief and Council has decided to limit external access to Neyaashiinigmiing. The Sydney Bay Road entrance was closed last week and a sign erected at the Coveney’s Road entrance advising that access to the community was restricted to residents and essential services.

Beginning Thursday, April 2, at midnight, the next phase will be implemented, with a monitoring station erected at the Coveney’s Road entrance, and staffed around the clock. 

Vehicles entering the community will be required to stop and give the monitors their reason for entering. Entrance is permitted for:

  • Residents and members
  • Essential employees
  • Emergency Response personnel
  • Essential inspection, maintenance and repair persons
  • Canada Post employees and other carriers
  • Hydro One, Bell Canada and GB Tel service people
  • Fuel suppliers
  • Anyone with written permission of Council

Persons outside of these categories will be considered trespassers on the reserve and reported to the police.

The Chief and Council ask that vehicles leaving the reserve carry no more than two people, unless absolutely necessary. 

The Chief and Council understand that restricting access to the community is a significant action that many members may feel is an unfair and unnecessary inconvenience, but the Council is completely committed to protecting the community in the face of a dire international crisis. 

COVID-19 is a serious illness that is especially dangerous to the elderly, or those with pre-existing health conditions, including diabetes. Many of our friends and members of our families fall into these high risk categories. Chippewas of Nawash also has a limited capacity to deal with a serious outbreak of the coronavirus in Neyaashiinigmiing. 

Note that some people who have contracted COVID-19 may not feel ill or show any symptoms, but they are still highly contagious. The only method of avoiding the disease that is known to work is social distancing which includes avoiding all non-essential travel. Non-resident members who come into the community from outside risk bringing the virus into our particularly vulnerable community. 

The access monitors will not restrict any member of Chippewas of Nawash from entering the community, but the Chief and Council urge all of our members, wherever they live, to stay sheltered in their primary residence, for the good of the entire community, and themselves.

Notice to Small Business/Entrepreneur Support Program Applicants

Cheques are available for pick up at the Band Office on Friday, April 3, 2020, from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM. If you are unable to pick up your own cheque and designate someone to pick it up for you, your designate must have a signed note from you giving them permission. Your designate will be required to sign for the cheque.

The next period of Income Support will cover the period from Sunday March 29 – April 11, 2020. Applications must be submitted to the Band Office by 4:00 PM, Monday April 13, 2020. Any forms handed in after 4:00 PM will be processed the following week.

Applications for the next period will be available at Band Office reception on Monday, April 6, 2020, from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

Questions may be directed to Angela Ashkewe, Business and Employment Support Worker.


Phone: 519-534-1689 ext. 225

Information on the application process can be found here.

Food Bank Invites All Residents

The COVID-19 virus is highly contagious. The best way to keep it out of the community and protect the health of our families and neighbours is by limiting contact with people outside Neyaashiinigmiing. To help us keep our distance during the pandemic crisis, the Food Bank program has expanded its operations with more days and more stock. The Food Bank provides a healthy selection of foodstuffs, including meat, dairy, grains, canned goods, fresh produce and even pet food. They can even include some common personal hygiene products.

While it has always been open to all residents, the Chief and Council urge every household to take advantage of the Food Bank at this time and avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket.

Food Bank distribution will be open to all residents on Tuesdays, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM and Thursdays, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, at the Community Centre.

How to Wash Your Hands Completely

Frequent hand washing is an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19. Think you know how to wash your hands already? Watch this useful video to see how much you’ve missed – and how to wash completely.

Emergency Living Wage Support Program Extended to May 4, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis continues to grip Canada and the world, with few signs of resolving as yet. On the heels of extending the closure of non-essential Band programs, Chief and Council have also voted to extend the Emergency Living Wage support program until May 4, 2020. The program offers $450/week to qualified applicants who have been economically impacted by the pandemic. More information about the program, including application guidelines, can be found here: Small Business/Entrepreneur Living Wage Program.

Non-Essential Band Program Closure Extended to May 4, 2020

Chief and Council have voted to extend the closure of non-essential Band programs until May 4, 2020. Band programs were temporarily shuttered on March 11, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The best medical advice to slow the progress of the outbreak is to practice social distancing, which means avoiding non-essential contact with people and keeping at least 2 meters apart. To protect the health and welfare of the public and staff, Council closed non-essential services and will now keep them closed through the month of April. Some services, notably health services, will remain available to the public by telephone, where appropriate and possible. While non-essential staff are asked to stay home and stay safe, all employees will continue to receive their full salary. Chief and Council appreciate everyone’s patience and support during this difficult time.

Community Emergency Response Group (CERG)

Emergency Response Coordinator – Cynthia Jamieson
Fire/Emergency Medical Response – Nick Saunders
Police Services – Vincent Wurfel
Health Services – Cynthia Porter, Springdawn Keeshig
Social Services – Amy Ingram
Public Works – Bill Jones
Legal Counsel – Patrick Nadjiwon
Finance – John Ramage
Education – Carleen Keeshig
Communications – Michael Johnston

The Chief and Council’s priority is the health, safety and welfare of the community.  Chief and Council created the CERG and tasked those professionals with organizing the community response to the pandemic. The group will consider our urgent needs and make recommendations for any extraordinary actions necessary to protect the community back to the Chief and Council for implementation.

Now Open: Owen Sound Regional Hospital COVID-19 Assessment Centre

The Owen Sound Regional Hospital COVID-19 Assessment Centre opened on March 18th, and is open 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM, 7 days per week.

Follow this checklist to determine if you need to visit the Assessment Centre:

  • If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, please do not go to the Assessment Centre.
  • If you have mild symptoms and can manage at home, please stay home and self-isolate. Do not go the Assessment Center. Information on self-isolation , as well as guidance for caregivers and family members in the home, is available at
  • If you have symptoms and are struggling at home, go to the Assessment Centre.
  • If you are very ill, go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 911.