Reminder to Give Notice of External Service Provider Visits

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Ontario have unfortunately taken a turn for the worse, with increasing case counts in several jurisdictions. While the spike in cases is primarily in urban centres, it serves to caution us against letting our guard down now. The precautions we have been taking against an outbreak of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing have been successful, to date, and we must remain vigilant.

Access to the community remains restricted during the ongoing community State of Emergency. Non-residents, including guests, employees and essential services, must have a letter of entrance, provided by the Band, or have been pre-registered for entry into the community.

Many service providers are already cleared for entry, but to avoid having your visitor delayed, please remember to notify the Band Office if you are expecting a visit from a service provider for whatever reason. This can include but is not limited to: health care, home maintenance, telecom services, fuel delivery, and deliveries.

The Band Office can be reached by calling 519-534-1689.

Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Extends Facemask Order

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health has extended the existing face covering order for the County. The previous order which had been set to expire Friday, September 11, will now remain in place for at least another 28 calendar days, expiring on October 8, 2020. The order requires all persons entering an indoor commercial establishment (e.g grocery store, gas station, bank, restaurant) to wear a covering over their noses and mouths. Neyaashiinigmiing has a parallel order in place covering businesses on the reserve.

Face masks have been conclusively shown to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, making them a daily wear item for people outside their homes. Help keep our community and people safe and healthy. Remember the face mask requirement when you are leaving your home and bring yours along.

Council Authorizes Monitoring Station to Refuse Access

An early and important step taken by the Council to protect the health and safety of Neyaashiinigmiing was to restrict access to the community to members, employees and essential services. Since March of this year, the Sydney Bay Road entrance has been closed and all traffic must enter by the remaining entrance on Port Elgin Road, which has been monitored around the clock by dedicated employees.

The initial restrictions were relaxed in phases to allow non-resident members to visit Neyaashiinigmiing, as well as seasonal campers in Cape Croker Park, and registered lease holders. In all cases, non-residents are required to register with the Health Centre prior to their visit, and leave their contact information for tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Council is disappointed that some residents are risking the health of the community by not cooperating with these very simple protocols and registering their non-resident guests. The health and safety guidelines are designed to keep our entire, particularly vulnerable, community safe, but in order for them to work we all need to follow the health guidelines.

To help reduce the number of unregistered individuals in the community, the Council has passed Motion 404 giving the monitors at the Port Elgin Road station the temporary authority to refuse entry to Neyaashiinigmiing anyone who does not present an official letter of entry. Monitors will turn away any person who has not been registered. Please enjoy an uninterrupted visit from your guest – and help us keep our community safe – by registering your guests with the Health Centre.

Visitors must submit a request to the Health Centre, providing the following information, at least two days prior to their arrival. Note that currently non-resident, non-members are not permitted to visit the community without special permission from the Council.

  • the full name, permanent address and phone number of each person in your visiting group
  • the make, model and vehicle plate number of each vehicle a visitor or group who wishes to enter the reserve will be using
  • where the visitor will be staying while in Neyaashiinigmiing
  • the intended duration of the visitor’s stay

Contact Suzy Jones, Community Health Representative with your information.

Email: healthrep@gbtel.ca

Office Phone: 519-534-0373 ext 224

Cell phone (text or call): 519-375-6896

Board of Education Returns to Regular Office Hours Under New Safety Protocol

Boozhoo and greetings to all, hopefully everyone has had an enjoyable, safe and healthy summer. As we enter into a new/different working routine, there are some updates we would like to share with our community and clients.

Effective August 31, 2020, the Board of Education will return to regular office hours, Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. We remind our clients that the State of Emergency is ongoing and COVID-19 Safety Measures are in effect. Help us keep you safe by observing the following protocol:

  • Staff are available to assist the public by telephone or email. In-person meetings are also available by appointment only. Before you visit, please call ahead to schedule your visit to the office.
  • Face masks must be worn when entering the building (if you do not have a face mask, please ask our staff and one will be provided). A hand sanitizing station is available at the front entrance and must be used when entering and departing from the building.
  • Please keep a safe physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from one another.

Board Meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Special Board Meetings are held as needed. Attendees are encouraged to attend Board meetings via teleconference or Zoom (online), in order to practice safe physical distancing. Please inform our office if you have a Band Member Request by submitting a letter one week prior to a scheduled Board Meeting.

The next Call for Applications for the Nawash Education Diversity Assistance Program (NEDAP) will open September 15th, 2020 at 12:00 AM.  The deadline for applications is October 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

Please visit our the Board of Education page for more information and resources.

Council Extends State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing

At the August 21, 2020 Council meeting, the Chippewas of Nawash Council voted to accept the recommendation of the Community Emergency Response Group and extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing until September 30, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, making the possibility of a viral outbreak a real and significant threat to the community. While the constant adherence to the well-known safety protocols of wearing face masks, washing hands, maintaining physical distance from other people and avoiding gatherings is challenging, Neyaashiinigmiing cannot afford to become less vigilant.

Under the current State of Emergency, the Council temporarily shuttered non-essential band programs while maintaining employee pay, offered wage support to small businesses and employees, significantly expanded the operations of the Community Food Bank, distributed food boxes to non-resident member households and grocery cards to all member households, cancelled risky public gatherings and events, restricted outside access to Neyaashiinigmiing, installed a monitoring station to help ensure compliance with restrictions, and created a community-wide face covering policy. These actions, and others have kept us all safe and dramatically reduced the economic harm of the pandemic to all our members.

The Council recently moved to relax some restrictions, allowing non-resident members, seasonal campers, and registered leaseholders into the community. We are now entering another delicate phase with the start of the school year. Classes will be held at Kikendaasogamig Elementary,  albeit in a safer, heavily modified fashion, beginning with online classes on September 8, moving to in-person classes on September 21. During this period, the Council will carefully assess the initiatives put in place to determine our next steps forward.

We are grateful for the patience and strength the entire membership has shown over the past 6 months. Together we will persevere, stay focused and stay healthy.

Grey Bruce Medical Officer Extends Face Covering Order

The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, despite a downward trend in cases in the province. With a vaccine still on the horizon and few effective treatments for those suffering the worst effects, the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak remains a real threat. Dr. Ian Arra, the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, has consequently extended the class order requiring the use of face coverings in all commercial establishments, until September 11. Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Council has a parallel order in place, covering Neyaashiinigmiing businesses and Administration workplaces.

The best advice of medical professionals is that, without a cure or reliable treatment, we should do everything we can to avoid spreading the disease in the first place. Widespread mask use, in combination with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, has been definitively shown to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. When leaving your home, remember to take and wear your mask when you are near people not from your household, or whenever you enter a building that is not your home.