Métis Nation British Columbia’s (MNBC) Cabinet has approved a $1,875,000 package of programs to help Métis citizens address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This third wave of funding is part of the latest contribution the Government of Canada has made to the Indigenous Community Support Fund as part of its ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.
MNBC’s COVID-19 Response Committee assessed the Nation’s current priorities and potential programs with an aim to support citizens directly and make it as easy as possible for them to apply for emergency funding. Among the priorities identified include increased housing supports through the rental and utilities supplement programs, funding for Métis Elders, and another round of direct funding to MNBC Chartered Communities.
Following its assessments, the Committee created new programs and services to better help Métis, including:
- $450,000 for continued rental supports;
- $380,000 in direct funding to MNBC Chartered Communities;
- $100,000 for low-barrier emergency funding for Elders;
- $60,000 for a new Métis Harvester Relief Fund to support those who were not able to harvest, access the land, or purchase required gear due to COVID-19;
- $50,000 in funding for Youth which includes funding for housing;
- $50,000 for Métis Veterans;
- $65,000 for the Ministry of Métis Women and Gender Equity to address the needs of Métis women; and
- $75,000 for Métis artists who continue to be significantly impacted by COVID-19 as in-person gatherings continue to be discouraged.
Through MNBC’s Citizen Connect initiative, a program aimed at improving MNBC’s COVID response programs and ensuring the Nation is better equipped to handle future crises, MNBC learned that mental health, employment and skills training were some of the top priorities for any new COVID funding.
In response, MNBC has launched Métis Counselling Connection and Métis Youth Connection, two new programs offering mental health counselling and supports directly to Métis in B.C. with an investment of $425,000. Cabinet has now approved an additional investment of $150,000 in funding for Métis Counselling Connection to provides Métis people with up to 10 additional counselling sessions with counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
MNBC will also increase its Post-Secondary Emergency Support Grant to $3,000 to any Métis in B.C. studying or training full-time in a post-secondary institution
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, and we want to assure our Métis citizens, businesses, and Chartered Communities, that MNBC is here to help address their needs,” says Lissa Smith, Acting President, MNBC. “Our goal is to help them access the assistance they need as quickly and easily as possible, with programs that can have the greatest impact on their lives.”
“We’ve seen incredible action taken by organizations such as the Métis Nation of BC to provide support to their members, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada. “The Indigenous Community Support Fund provides funding directly to the Métis Nation to support community-based solutions and the ongoing delivery of services to the most at-risk. Our government will continue this important work with partners to support their incredible efforts during this time.”
The application process for some Wave 2 grants and programs is still open, with details and eligibility criteria available at www.mnbc.ca/COVID. Details on applications for Wave 3 funding will be available soon.