Western Region 2 distributing emergency COVID-19 supports for local Métis community

Minister of Batoche Sherry McLennan speaks at Sask. Poly's Métis flag raising event on Nov. 15, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

The Métis Nation — Saskatchewan says it won’t let politics get in the way of helping people during the pandemic.

The Métis Nation announced emergency COVID-19 supports for families on March 30. The interim funding provides some relief for immediate needs while work goes on to secure more secure, long-term funding for residents.

Supports exist for housing support, emergency support and child care support.

In Prince Albert, while a dispute over internal bylaws has led funding being withheld from three are locals, the region says it’s working to get that emergency support to residents, no matter where they stand on the dispute.

“We don’t want to leave any Métis person left behind,” said Sherry McLennan, the regional director.

“Every Métis person has access to these dollars, they just have to put an application in.”

That even extends to non-registered Métis citizens, she said.

While the nation has been working to register citizens and get them their citizenship cards, Métis residents who have not yet registered will be able to self-declare as Métis in order to access supports.

McLennan said one pot of money is for emergency situations such as needing groceries or struggling to pay for prescriptions,

“We want to keep everyone healthy,” she said.

The other pots of money are for housing, such as rent or utility payment support and child care.

Details and applications for child care support are available on the Metis nation website.

McLennan emphasized that the funding is one-time only.

“We don’t know how long his pandemic is going to last,” she said.

“Sure there’s money there right now, but do you actually need it right now or are you going to need it down the road? It’s a one-time funding process. We need to assist all of our citizens.”

For residents who belong to one of the Prince Albert locals, individuals have been set up to process their emergency funding claims. Local 7 members can call Corinne at 930-9115. Local 269 members can call Tracy at 961-2296 and Local 109 can call Val at 941-1044. Métis residents who have no local can call Sherry at 930-0899 or the office at 922-2206.

“If they’re Métis, we’ll take the application and try to assist as much as we can,” McLennan said.

“We will not leave any Métis person … behind. We will try to support every Métis person as much as we can, no matter which political association they belong to.”