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Manitoba News Release: Province Proposes The Child and Family Services Amendment Act (Taking Care of Our Children)

Changes Will Lead to Development of Culturally-Specific Models of Customary Care: Fielding

The Manitoba government has introduced initial amendments to The Child and Family Services (CFS) Act that would allow Indigenous communities to create care plans for children that recognize and reflect their unique customs, Families Minister Scott Fielding announced today.

“Supporting customary care is a key aspect of Manitoba’s overall plan to transform child welfare,” said Fielding. “These ground-breaking amendments are a first step to allow for more community decision-making and greater support for families and children. This allows a shift to greater extended family and community involvement in the care of and upbringing of the children from that community in a way that preserves cultural identity and respects their heritage.”

The customary care concept was first introduced as a bill in late 2015 but failed to pass into law. Over the past year, government met with Indigenous leadership, community members and child and family services authorities and agencies to strengthen Manitoba’s model for customary care, which is designed as another option to existing CFS prevention and protection supports and services.

Changes include a new title that incorporates Taking Care of our Children (a translation of a traditional Indigenous concept suggested as a title  by Elder William Osborne of Pimicikamak), stronger recognition of the needs of Indigenous children to maintain their cultural identity and community ties, the expectation that allcourt-related decisions take the new principle into consideration and clear identification of the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) as the Indigenous community for children whose parents are members or who request their participation in customary care.

“Stakeholder input has been clear that customary care must be community-driven and the bill must reflect the needs of Indigenous children to be cared for in a way that maintains cultural connections and community ties,” said Fielding. “Government listened and we made important changes. This new bill strengthens the legislative role of Indigenous communities in leading the development of their own unique models of care that will lead to better outcomes for children.”

Once passed and proclaimed, the bill will see these needs entrenched in all care decisions related to First Nations, Metis and Inuit children. Indigenous families would be able to request customary care services and supports from their CFS agency. Communities would be able to work with agencies to identify customary caregivers, assist with the design of care plans for children and share in the responsibility for keeping children safe.  The bill would enable CFS support for children who live with customary caregivers and allow sharing information for the purpose of customary care.

“Today marks a new era for CFS where our children will be supported in the achievement of their hopes and dreams for the future,” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, Southern Chiefs’ Organization. “Customary care is about a community-driven approach and a reflection of best practices. The time has come for the Annishinaabe and Dakota nations to assume full control and jurisdiction over our children and families.”

“The Province of Manitoba is embarking on a legislative reform process for The Child and Family Services Act that acknowledges and is premised on the fact that the current system has failed Indigenous families and children and the current reform process must be Indigenous led,” said Grand Chief Sheila North, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO). “It is important there is enabling legislation that supports First Nation community customs, codes, languages and best practices.  MKO leadership supports in principle the concept of customary care and is ready to move forward in full partnership with both levels of governments in achieving First Nations’ jurisdiction over child and family matters affecting MKO First Nation territories.”

“We commend the work of Minister Fielding in attempting to address a serious matter that has divided our families and children from their nation,” said David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation. “As Metis people, family is everything.  From birth to death, we embrace our family, and if the past teaches us anything, it’s that the policies and administration of children by government has caused our families great harm.  This is a good start and further recognition of our Metis government is ongoing.”

An overall review continues of the two acts that guide the CFS system, The Child and Family Services Act and The Child and Family Services Authorities Act. A legislative review committee appointed in December is expected to make recommendations to the minister in the coming months.

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.


Manitoba Introduces Legislation that Would Enhance Fair Say for Municipalities and Grow the Rural Economy

The Manitoba government is introducing new legislation that would modernize The Planning Act and ensure fair opportunities for economic development in rural municipalities, Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton announced today.

“Our government has worked extensively with municipalities and industry to see how improvements could be made to our existing regulatory framework,” said Wharton. “This new legislation strengthens our government’s commitment to providing a fair say for municipalities on matters that affect their local community.”

In addition to modernizing the current municipal zoning by-law review and approval process, Bill 19 The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning) would enhance ‘fair say’ by giving municipalities the option of setting a threshold for conditional use hearings for livestock, accordingto local needs.

Other changes would include:

  • setting timelines for municipal board reviews of development plan bylaws;
  • harmonizing hearing process requirements with those established in The Municipal Act;
  • introducing the option for members of the public attending planning hearings to opt to receive notice by e-mail;
  • strengthening environmental protections by introducing a technical review process for aggregate quarry proposals;
  • requiring municipalities to review their livestock operations zoning bylaws within one year;
  • improving animal safety by enabling producers to upgrade existing facilities and clarifying this reinvestment does not require a new approval from council;
  • dissolving the Interdepartmental Planning Board, which held its last meeting in January 2014;
  • expediting the municipal zoning bylaw approval process by increasing the minor variance threshold from 10 to 15 per cent; and
  • allowing municipal officials authorized by council to grant variances on zoning bylaw requirements such as square footage, height and parking spaces without holding additional council hearings.

“We have seen many examples of the significant economic benefit that livestock development can offer communities in Manitoba,” said Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “Our government wants to provide municipalities with the opportunity to achieve that growth and development through a more equitable process. The proposed legislation takes a balanced approach to the livestock review and approval process that improves animal safety and maintains a high standard of environmental accountability.”

Municipal Relations will be hosting three information sessions in March to meet with key stakeholders, provide an overview of The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning) and answer any questions. For more information, please contact:

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.


UCN Receives Colleges Review

March 19, 2018

University College of the North (UCN) has received the report of the Manitoba Colleges Review and has accepted its findings and recommendations. “UCN is committed to working with the Government of Manitoba and other colleges to address the Review’s recommendations. UCN will make changes to strengthen our responsiveness to communities and to industry and will make the changes necessary to ensure that we continue to provide the highest quality education to northerners,” said Tom Goodman, Chair of UCN’s Governing Council. “We will be taking immediate steps to begin to implement these recommendations,” Goodman continued.

The Colleges Review recommended to government that UCN remain an independent institution focused on serving the north, and that it increase its engagement with communities and industry to support and coordinate training geared towards economic development in the north. The Review also recommended that UCN continue its efforts to support the retention of students, as well recommending that governance features of the institution be strengthened.

“This report makes clear that UCN has much work to do,” said Doug Lauvstad, President and Vice-Chancellor. “UCN is a young institution that has grown quickly since it was first established in 2004. We need to consider the findings of the review, and take the necessary steps to ensure that we can continue to support social and economic development in the north.”

“We thank the consultants, Higher Education Strategy Associates, for their careful and thorough assessment of UCN,” remarked Vice-President Academic and Research Dan Smith. “Their thoughtful and inclusive approach ensured that the report reflects their expert understanding of UCN’s context and the pressures it faces delivering programming in a vast geographic area. This report provides a solid, fact-based plan for our future.”

The Manitoba Colleges Review made eleven specific recommendations designed to help strengthen UCN and more than a dozen recommendations regarding Manitoba’s overall college system. The Review was undertaken between November 2016 and November 2017, and was prepared for the Government of Manitoba.

For more information, please contact:

Jim Scott, Director

Communications Department

University College of the North

204-627-8244 ext. 1


2011 Manitoba Flood Class Action Settlement Approval – McKenzie Lake Lawyers

$90M Settlement for Flooded Manitoba First Nations: Notice of Settlement Approval

To anyone who is a member of the Pinaymootang (Fairford), Little Saskatchewan, Lake St. Martin, or Dauphin River First Nations, who lived in Manitoba during the 2011 Flood:

WINNIPEG, March 17, 2018 –

2011 Manitoba Flood Class Action Settlement Approval

A Settlement Agreement has been reached and approved by the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench that settles the litigation involving the severe flooding in Manitoba in 2011 that led to the evacuation of and/or adverse conditions endured by members of the Pinaymootang (Fairford), Little Saskatchewan, Lake St. Martin, and Dauphin River First Nations.

While not admitting wrongdoing, the Governments of Manitoba and Canada have agreed to pay $90,283,000.00. This amount includes lawyer (“Class Counsel”) fees and expenses as well as Administration costs.

All members of the Pinaymootang (Fairford), Little Saskatchewan, Lake St. Martin, and Dauphin River First Nations resident in Manitoba at the time of the 2011 flood can make claims for Disruption Payments and Special Circumstances compensation:

  • Disruption Payments:  For the disruption the Eligible Claimant endured on account of the 2011 Flood, including his/her evacuation, or, if not evacuated, the adverse conditions he/she was subjected to while remaining on reserve.  These payments will be determined on a point system that takes into account the length of time an Eligible Claimant was evacuated and/or living under adverse conditions and whether or not the Eligible Claimant was resident on or off one of the Four First Nations reserves.
  • Special Circumstances:  Eligible Claimants may also apply for compensation in respect of personal property loss or damage, income loss and/or health care costs or personal injuries relating to the 2011 flooding that have not already been compensated.

Because payments under the Settlement are based on the number of people that come forward to make claims, it is not possible to estimate the amounts Eligible Class Members may receive.


In order to make a claim for benefits under the Settlement, Class Members must complete, sign and return a Claim Form to the Claims Administrator, along with any necessary supporting documents, postmarked or deposited by courier or delivered in person at various Workshops no later than July 17, 2018.

Class Members must complete and submit a Claim Form by the deadline or he or she will not be able to participate in or share in the benefits available under the Settlement.

A detailed instruction package on how to obtain, complete and submit a Claim Form is available at or by contacting the Claims Administrator using the contact information below.


The Court Office will NOT be able to answer questions about the matters in this Notice. If you have any questions regarding the Settlement Agreement or making a Claim, information is available by contacting the Claims Administrator at:

Call toll-free: 1-866-934-0509


Claim Form Workshops:

RBC Convention Centre (Winnipeg, MB):
April 24 at 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
April 25 at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Gypsumville Hall (Gypsumville, MB):
April 26 at 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
April 27 at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Claim Deadline:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Provincial emergency management funding increased by $1.7 million

March 16, 2018

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $1.7 million in additional funding to help improve local emergency preparedness and double the number of regional emergency management co-ordinators.

“Improving emergency readiness is a collaborative and constant effort,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “Your government is pleased to dedicate more resources to this important objective. The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) will be better able to support local communities in their responsibilities for emergency management and do its part to help keep us safe, secure and resilient.”

The funds will ensure there is a regional emergency management co-ordinator in each of the province’s 12 Regional Service Commission areas. They help support local authorities and first responders, and co-ordinate local and provincial emergency planning and response. The hiring process for these additional staff will start in the coming weeks.

The extra funds will also allow emergency management training sessions in both official languages to be delivered more often and in more locations. The training helps communities prepare to carry out their roles and responsibilities under the Emergency Measures Act.

The department will also consult with stakeholders on potential improvements to emergency management. Stakeholders include local government officials, first responders, First Nations, provincial government officials, owners of critical infrastructure, and non-governmental agencies like the Canadian Red Cross.

These consultations will focus on how, collectively, New Brunswick can improve its ability to plan for and manage emergencies. Issues will include transparency and accountability regarding the province’s emergency risks, capabilities, plans, reviews and action; ensuring more co-operation across boundaries and mandates; and improving individual and community-level resiliency with particular attention to community capacity building and caring for the most vulnerable populations.

The January 2017 ice storm was one of the most significant weather events in the province’s history but is one of many that have affected New Brunswick in the last 10 years. The province, and the world, is facing increasingly complex emergencies and this trend is expected to continue.

In August 2017, Clerk of the Executive Council Judy Wagner released a review of the response to the ice storm, with a series of recommendations. The new investment announced today is intended to help NBEMO address several of the recommendations including:

  • NBEMO should revisit its training regime with a view to increasing its accessibility to local and regional officials. NBEMO and the Department of Environment and Local Government should take steps to ensure that orientation for new municipal mayors and councillors includes an emergency measures component.
  • NBEMO should action recommendation #4 from its after-action review to increase the number of regional emergency management co-ordinators as soon as possible, not only to ensure operational capacity for future emergencies, but also to assist with more rigorous and standardized emergency planning.

Landry said the provincial government remains committed to implementing recommendations as a priority, notably through the work of the Deputy Ministers Committee on Security and Emergency Management. Progress has been made to improve preparedness at all levels, including:

  • Ongoing work to clarify roles and responsibilities for emergency management for local service districts, local governments, regional service commissions and provincial EMO.
  • Formulating communications strategies to educate and encourage the public on preparedness.
  • Improving collaboration between the Department of Social Development and the Canadian Red Cross led by NBEMO to co-ordinate delivery of the provision of essential social services to impacted residents; and
  • Improving collaboration and information sharing between NBEMO and NB Power to facilitate operational response planning and co-ordination.

“We have seen great success in communities where local authorities, operators of critical infrastructure and community groups have co-ordinated their work among themselves and with the province,” said Landry. “By working with municipalities, first responders and non-governmental agencies, the government will do its part to improve our emergency planning and management framework.”

Media Contact(s)

Danielle Elliott, communications,
Department of Justice and Public Safety, 506-453-2994.


UCN Hosts 2nd Annual Truth and Reconciliation Conference

March 16, 2018

UCN is proud to host the second annual Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action gathering to be held on March 21 & 22, 2018, at the UCN Thompson Campus and the Thompson Regional Community Centre. The theme for this year’s gathering is the “Road to Wellness”. The chosen theme for this year’s gathering is very appropriate as it fits right into UCN’s joint partnership work with the University of Victoria to repatriate art work back to former students of the Mackay Indian Residential School.

The Faculty of Arts, Business and Science, University College of the North (UCN) and the University of Victoria (UVic) began working together a year ago when UCN learned that UVic was looking for a host organization to help return artwork that they had come into possession through a former employee of the Mackay Indian Residential School. The employee was an artist who had been teaching the Mackay students artwork. He had been collecting the artwork over the years and when he died his family donated the art work to UVic. Shortly thereafter, UVic began searching a way to return the artwork back to the original artists.

The artwork will be coming to UCN during which time UVic will transfer over the care of the artwork until such time they can be properly repatriated back to the original artist. This important gesture will take place during the gathering on March 21 & 22, 2018, where participants will have an opportunity to meet one of the former artists and hear from former residential school survivors and as well, meet the people involved in this important work. UCN is inviting the public and anyone that is interested to take part and witness the transfer and care of the artwork.

For more information, please contact:

Jennie Wastesicoot, Assistant Professor
University College of the North
Faculty of Arts, Business and Science
Thompson Campus
P:  204-679-6387


Manitoba Government Releases Colleges Education Review

March 19, 2018

Report Highlights Opportunities to Enhance College Education System and Build on Strengths: Wishart

A new report on college education prepared for the Manitoba government provides advice on how to develop a coordinated strategic approach that leads to improved student outcomes and better alignment with labour market needs, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today.

“The Manitoba Colleges Education Review highlights several opportunities to enhance and modernize college education in our province by building on existing strengths,” said Wishart. “Many of its recommendations are in line with this government’s strategic direction, and we look forward to working with stakeholders to create a more robust education system for all Manitobans.”

The report, prepared by Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), looked at governance, efficiency, student outcomes, programming relevance to the labour market, financial management, system coordination, partnerships and client services.

“This document is the end of a long process of data-gathering and consultation across the province, and we thank the college officials and board members who worked with us, the public servants and civic and business leaders who took the time to talk to us, and especially the many former students who took part in the alumni survey,” said HESA president Alex Usher. “We hope these recommendations, taken as a whole, will assist institutions in achieving their missions of bringing high-quality vocational and professional education to the people of Manitoba.”

The minister noted the province will work towards implementing several key recommendations in the coming months, including:

  • increasing participation rates and graduation rates for all students;
  • establishing a performance-based funding formula;
  • developing college-specific mandate letters;
  • increasing rural and regional coordination to meet local needs;
  • streamlining the program approval process;
  • introducing an external quality assurance mechanism; and
  • focusing capital funding priorities to make strategic improvements.

The review also provides institution-specific reports and recommendations for Assiniboine Community College, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Red River College, Université de Saint-Boniface and University College of the North (UCN), the five post-secondary institutions in Manitoba that offer college-level programs.

“University College of the North welcomes the colleges review and accepts its recommendations,” said Doug Lauvstad, president and vice-chancellor of UCN. “UCN looks forward to working cooperatively with government and other colleges to help strengthen applied trades and technical-vocational education in Manitoba.”

The minister said the province will develop a comprehensive long-term action plan that reflects the broader scope of the report in partnership with post-secondary institutions, industry and communities across Manitoba.

“Manitoba is well-positioned to build on and enhance the college experience for students and strengthen partnerships with industry,” said Wishart.

The Manitoba Colleges Education Review is available online at

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.


Former MP who represented northern Manitoba riding for several years dead at 62 – CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Mar 19, 2018

BRANDON, Man. _ A former NDP member of Parliament from Manitoba who split from the party’s caucus over her opposition to same-sex marriage has died.

Bev Desjarlais, who was 62, died in Brandon last Thursday after she was diagnosed in late 2013 with multiple system atrophy, a disease similar to Parkinson’s.

Desjarlais defeated Liberal Elijah Harper to capture the Churchill riding in the 1997 federal election and was re-elected in 2000 and again in 2004.

After splitting from the caucus in 2005, she sat as an Independent and later lost the NDP nomination in Churchill to sitting MP Niki Ashton.

Desjarlais eventually worked in the Department of Veterans Affairs under a Conservative government.

A funeral will be held at Knox United Church in Brandon on April 7.

“She was an unbelievably hard worker and you can ask anybody who was a resident of northern Manitoba for those nine years, said Kris Desjarlais, one of the former politician’s three sons who is also a Brandon city councillor.

“There was not a single call that went into my mom’s office that wasn’t answered and that work wasn’t done on behalf of that constituent, not a one, and I wish I had that same kind of work ethic.”

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said in a tweet that Desjarlais, who moved to Brandon in 2012, was “a dedicated public servant who always put Manitobans first and fervently stood by her beliefs and convictions.”

Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, wrote in a tweet: “I served in Parliament with Bev. She was such a decent and hardworking person. Your goodness will get you to a better place my friend”

Rick Borotsik, former Progressive Conservative MP for Brandon-Souris, said even though Desjarlais was from a different political party, they both could relate from the fact they represented Manitoba.

“I enjoyed working with her, quite frankly,” he said. “All I can say is I’m very unhappy to hear that she’s no longer with us. She was a good lady.”

Kris Desjarlais said he went “toe to toe” with his mother on the issue of same-sex marriage, but said she worked with people of all political stripes and was a progressive who supported workers, pay equity and Indigenous rights.

He said while his mother may have had “hard and fast convictions,” it was hard to hear people call her a religious bigot for so many years because of her stance on same-sex marriage.

“It’s sad to me. I wish people knew really who she was.”

Desjarlais also had 11 grandchildren and seven brothers and sisters. (Brandon Sun)


From residential school to one of Manitoba’s 1st Indigenous nurses – CBC

Ann Thomas Callahan shares her educational journey

Mar 18, 2018

One day, four-year-old Ann Thomas Callahan was told to get ready. She put on a dress, and was proud to wear it. Her father packed a lunch and together they travelled to the File Hills Indian Residential School near Balcarres, Sask., by horse and wagon.

She was excited about the prospect of being able to see her sister, who was already at the school, but on the ride through the bush, she noticed that her father was unusually quiet.

When they got to the school, her father held her hand and walked her up to the veranda as other children were arriving at the school. When they reached the steps, he handed her off to her cousin and asked her to keep Ann calm.

As he walked away from her, that’s when it sunk in — her father was leaving her there.

Read More:

University of Manitoba: 29th Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow – Saturday, May 5, 2018

The 29th Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow will take place on Saturday, May 5th, 2018 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre. Please join us in celebrating the achievements of the 2018 University of Manitoba’s Indigenous graduates.

A Pow Wow is a celebration; it is a cultural event that brings people and nations together; it is an opportunity to hear traditional drum songs and see all different types of dancing. If you are adventurous, you might even want to join in for the community dances! The day-long celebration includes an opening Pipe Ceremony, presentations to the graduates, and a community Feast in the afternoon. All activities are free and everyone is welcome!

Date Saturday, May 5th, 2018
Location University of Manitoba Investors Group Athletic Centre
Schedule 11:00 a.m. – Pipe Ceremony
1:00 p.m. – Grand Entry
3:00 p.m. – Honouring the Graduates & Feast
4:00 p.m. – Pow Wow dancing resumes
6:00 p.m. – Pow Wow Specials
7:00 p.m. – Closing Prayer and payouts

*Craft Sale and canteen are open all day.
*Only the first 10 drum groups to register (minimum five singers) will receive an honorarium.

Pow Wow 101 / Frequently Asked Questions


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