As our Community is continuing its preparation for the Covid19 Pandemic, our Emergency Management Team (EMT) has been working diligently on doing preparation to assist our band members as this pandemic continues to progress. Not knowing what the extend or the time frame of this virus the EMT is taking all precautions and continuing to provide updates as our plans unfold.
On March 11, 2019 the Chief & Council had its official last Council meeting, and put financial controls for Beardy’s and Okemasis until such a time that a new Governance is in place.
The Finance department is still continuing with essential services and payments will continue as normally done with extra precautions being taken into consideration.
Post-Secondary Allowances: these will continue to be released as per your Post-Secondary Coordinator. Even thou there are no day to day classes the universities are taking necessary steps so that students can do their course work online or live stream, please check your institution for more information.
Social Assistance payments: will be conducted on March 31, 2020, to limit the amount of personal contact and practice Social Distancing the following will be the procedures for the release of SA payment.
- Two rows with be created in the parking lot between the Arena and the High School for drive through pick ups
- One row will be for A-G and the second row will be H-Z.
- For reimbursements of power bills, energy bills, propane or heating oil, phone allowance, there is a drop off box outside the band office.
- An information sheet will be provided to each client on the procedures of producing your ID’s and the signing of your Budget and Decision sheets.
As all people are hearing and reading on the news that the government has passed its stimulus aid package on March 24, 2020. As of this date no funds have been sent or received by any First Nations, there are also numerous posts on Facebook and social media regarding these funding, not all of these posts are real. There are also numerous scams being circulated through the internet PLEASE DO NOT FALL PREY to these scams. To protect our band Members, I would like to Highlight some of the funds that have been allocated to all Canadians and other funding specifically for Indigenous People.
Support for individuals and families Increasing the Canada Child Benefit
We (The Canadian Government) are providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.
Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply.
Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
We are providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.
The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.
Extra time to file income tax returns
We are deferring the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals.
For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.
We will also allow any new income tax balances due, or instalments, to be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
Learn more Press Control and click on link
Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you to not delay your 2019 return filing to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.
The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit
We will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.
Apply for Employment Insurance
If you were recently laid off or have reduced hours and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request today.
The Indigenous Community Support Fund will be distributed as follows:
- $215 million for First Nations: allocated to each First Nation based on population, remoteness and community well-being;
- $45 million for Inuit, which will flow to each of the four land claims organizations through an allocation determined by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and regional Inuit land claims organizations;
- $30 million for Métis Nation communities, which will flow through each of the Governing Members;
- $15 million for regional and urban Indigenous organizations supporting their members living away from their communities, and to regional organizations such as Friendship Centres and the Métis Settlements General Council of Alberta.
These new funds will flow directly to Indigenous communities and groups across the country and will provide Indigenous leadership with the flexibility needed to address the immediate needs in their communities as they prepare for and react to the spread of COVID-19. These funds could be used for measures including, but not limited to:
- support for Elders and vulnerable community members,
- measures to address food insecurity,
- educational and other support for children,
- mental health assistance and emergency response services,
- preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Fund is in addition to the needs-based funding designated for First Nations, Inuit and Metis through the COVID-19 Response Fund announced on March 11, 2020 and to the initial $50 million provided to support the immediate public health response. To support women and children fleeing violence, we have also created a $10 million fund for emergency family violence prevention shelters on reserve and in Yukon, as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 18, 2020.
The Indigenous Community Support Fund is also in addition to needs-based support to address public health issues, including the provision of personal protective equipment, testing and health care personnel. It is also in addition to needs-based funding to address the growth in demand for income assistance and for emergency planning programming.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis will also benefit from all of the government’s efforts to support and improve the health response to COVID-19, and to reduce the impact of the situation on workers and businesses. The Government of Canada recognizes more support may be needed and will continue to offer financial support for Indigenous communities to meet their evolving needs
Beardy’s & Okemasis would like to be prepared for when is funding released, therefore we are asking memberships help to keep our data base up to date. Please fill this form out for yourself and family, one form per family unit will be easier for the administrators for this process. Members who need assistance please reach out to family and friends to help out so we can reach as many members as possible.
Please follow the link and provide us with your most recent information, this data base will be utilized when and if this fund has funding available for band members as:
To: Membership, Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation
From: Emergency Management Team
Date: March 23, 2020
Re: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic – CHANGE IN OFFICE HOURS
The health and safety of our membership and employees is our top priority. To ensure the essential services continue staff will be at the office and available via phone, fax or email. The doors will be closed to the public until further notice.
Effective immediately, the new office hours are:
Monday – Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm
To: Membership of the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation
From: Willow Cree Health Services, Inc.
Date: March 17, 2020
Re: Doctor Days/Appointments
Please be advised that WCHS operations will be adjusted to ensure the health and well-being of our community.
Effective immediately, there will be no gathering of individuals in the clinic and the following measures are being implemented:
- Individuals attending appointments must call reception @ (306) 467-4402 to advise them of their arrival at the health clinic. Individuals will not be permitted to wait in the waiting area.
- Doctor days will continue via telehealth with a Primary Health Nurse representative. Doctors will not be on-site. The following doctors will be available on the following days:
- March 19 – Dr. McMillan
- March 24 – Dr. Melle
- March 27 – Dr. Melle (OAT)
- March 31 – Dr. Silver
- Immunizations are available by appointment only.
- If you require prescription refills, please contact your doctor in Rosthern to make arrangements.
- The Mental Health Team remains available by appointment. Individuals requiring additional Mental Health supports are encouraged to contact:
- Crisis Centre – 306-933-6200 (Saskatoon Mobile Crisis) or 306-764-1011 (Prince Albert Mobile Crisis)
- Suicide Prevention Centre – 1-833-456-4566
- Crisis Service Canada – 1-833-456-4566 or text “START” to 45645
- Kids Help Phone – 1-800-668-6868 or text “CONNECT” to 686868
- For additional information and Mental Health Supports, please contact WCHS @ 306-467-4402
- Patients requiring dialysis treatment are encouraged to contact Ivie should you be unable to make arrangements with family for transportation. Medical transportation remains available.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding these or other health related matters, please contact Willow Cree Health Services @ 306-467-4402.
– Willow Cree Health Services
To: Members of the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation
From: Emergency Management Team (EMT)
Date: March 17, 2020
Re: UPDATE: COVID-19
The Emergency Management Team (EMT) continues to meet daily to address the many concerns that are being raised by community members.
Here is an update on some of our activities to date:
- Supplies have been purchased to provide a basic care package to assist with disinfecting your home for community members. Due to commercial demand these supplies are limited. Delivery will be door-to-door over the next couple days. Distribution will begin today, Tuesday, March 17th.
- Social development clients are asked to contact the Band Office via phone and leave your name and number so that Social Development staff may contact you. Social assistance will be disbursed on Tuesday, March 31st. Distribution will be conducted like a drive-thru so that clients/staff interaction is limited. Distribution will be conducted at the Arena parking lot. Additional specific instructions will be provided soon.
- The Public Works department has advised that only EMERGENCY situations will be handled until the situation improves. Emergencies include: a) Furnaces – no heat; b) no water; c) sewer problems; d) no power.
- A separate Willow Cree Health Services Memo will be distributed shortly.
- At this time, we are requesting our hunters and gatherers to contact the Band Office and leave your name and number.
- Information on the upcoming Nominations and Elections will be provided on Wednesday, March 18th. We expect that significant precautionary measures will be in place to ensure the safety of our community members, while maintaining the integrity of the election.
- Elders and sickly in our community are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19. We are encouraging families to check on our Elders and sickly in ways that limit actual, physical contact. Make sure they are receiving medications and their prescriptions are being filled. If shopping is needed, please offer these supports; and anything else that may be needed. We strongly recommend that one (1) CHAMPION from each family is chosen to support our Elders and help keep them informed. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of LIMITING physical contact with our Elders. Please do not place them in a situation of unnecessary risk.
- The Canada Child Tax Benefit will be distributed by the Government of Canada on Friday, March 20th as normal. We are encouraging community members to avoid taking families on outings as this could potentially increase the risk of exposure to your families to COVID-19, and subsequently cause an outbreak in our community.
- We are working with Education department officials to address some of the concerns community members have raised while our schools are closed. More information will be forthcoming by the end of the week.
If you suspect you may have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or you have traveled abroad within the last 2 weeks, you can use this SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL to see if you should be tested for COVID-19.
The most important thing at this point in time is our collective effort to ‘flatten the curve‘.
You can do your part by:
- Practicing ‘social distancing’: 2 metres or 6 feet apart, avoiding unnecessary travel, avoiding shaking hands, hugging, kissing, etc.
- Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly;
- Staying home; and
- Practicing proper cough etiquette (into your sleeve or shoulder).
In closing, we understand that these are challenging and worrisome times in our community, but in order to protect the health and well-being of our community members, we all have to do our part. Our team will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our plans as the situation evolves. Our primary methods of communication will continue to be our text blasting service (to subscribe text “BOCN” to 393939), and our nation’s website (http://bocn9697.com), and social media (Facebook/Instagram).
If you have any questions, suggestions, concerns, or thoughts, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team at the Band Office: 306-467-4523; or email: email@example.com.
– Emergency Management Team