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MB Government: Province Begins Distribution of Millions of Dollars for Safe Schools

September 21, 2020

Taking Action to Keeping Students and Teachers Safe: Goertzen

The Manitoba government is providing direct support and funding to ensure safe and healthy learning environments, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“Our government is providing Manitoba schools with the financial resources they need to support their students and staff,” said Goertzen. “Meeting the recommended health provisions requires financial support and we are ensuring that support is available to schools. We know that teachers, students and staff are adjusting to a different and sometimes difficult school environment and Manitobans are grateful for all of their efforts.”

The province has shared with school divisions further details about the per-pupil monies flowing from the Safe Schools funding. All school divisions will be able to access the Safe Schools supports and funding, which consists of $52 million in one-time COVID-19 funding, plus $48 million in preparedness savings already set aside for this purpose.

The minister said of the $52 million made available, $12 million is estimated for masks and personal protective equipment, $32 million for school divisions and independent schools to access up to a per-pupil maximum, and $8 million to address serious and urgent health and safety measures over and above the school division allocation.

In addition to PPE and masks, the focused funding will be used to directly support schools, teachers and students across the province with enhanced cleaning and sanitization including more supplies and custodial staffing, increased bus transportation capacity, technology related costs, and ensuring substitute teachers and educational staff are available to keep schools open and children learning.

In addition, the $85.4 million in federal funds for education will be fully allocated towards achieving these goals as well as additional priorities including remote learning.

“Manitoba will be working closely with divisions, schools and stakeholders to assess where additional financial contributions are needed and will invest in order to meet these needs to ensure learning continues, while maintaining a focus on health, wellness and student achievement,” said Goertzen. “We are continuing with the plan to focus this funding on the public health measures needed to keep students and staff as safe as possible while learning.”

For up-to-date information on the Restoring Safe Schools plan, visit:

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Background Information

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.


Supreme Court of Canada to hear AMC argue First Nations laws must be recognized in dealing with climate change

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba – On September 22 and 23, 2020, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) will be intervening at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in a significant and potentially transformational hearing. AMC is the only Intervenor to argue that First Nation constitutional orders are distinct but equal to Euro-Canadian laws.

Due to COVID-19, the hearing is being held both in person and virtually and will be webcast live at:

On the surface, the case is about the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the federal government’s carbon tax, and whether it intrudes on provincial jurisdiction. The Act was dealt a blow on Monday, February 24, 2020 when the Court of Appeal of Alberta ruled that the carbon tax is unconstitutional, on the grounds that it intrudes on provincial jurisdiction.

However, neither the federal nor provincial governments acknowledge the existence of First Nations laws.  The AMC, represented by the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC), will argue that the Supreme Court has a unique opportunity to address a much deeper reality.

The Court will address the most fundamental constitutional question of our time – the means of addressing climate change. The AMC will propose an analysis, which must recognize the existence of First Nations constitutional orders. The AMC cautions against the incorporation of First Nations laws within the existing Euro-Canadian federalism analysis to address the constitutional question. Instead, the AMC proposes a return to the relationship as it was originally intended by Treaties – one between equal nations with distinct legal traditions.

There is confusion on the ground, and as a result Canada has witnessed protests, blockades, and police actions as First Nations, land protectors and corporate interests battle over control of natural resources and development.

AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said, “First Nations people and laws have always been here.  These laws continue to govern First Nations’ relationships with the Creator, Mother Earth and all living beings. They are grounded in mutual respect and underpin the Treaty relationship. Our First Nations laws constitute Canada’s first constitutional order, alongside the French Civil Law and English Common Law. This is a constitutional debate that must acknowledge our nation-to-nation relationships and help frame reconciliation.”

The AMC contends that this court case exposes an outdated, inaccurate and destructive narrative about Canada. First Nations laws have been recognized by the Supreme Court, however recent lower court decisions have sent contradictory signals about the relationship between Euro-Canadian laws and First Nations laws. This lack of clarity has led to a patchwork of inconsistent decisions.

“This court case offers an opportunity for a fundamental paradigm shift in the relationship between First Nations and non-First Nations people,” says Joëlle Pastora Sala, PILC attorney, who will argue at the Supreme Court via Zoom from Winnipeg. “We can create a more meaningful implementation of reconciliation – grounded in the spirit and intentions of treaties. Reconciliation, as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, requires respect for First Nations laws as equal and distinct from Euro-Canadian laws. The Supreme Court has a key role to play in shaping the path forward.”

Canada is a full supporter of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which protects the right of First Nations to distinct legal institutions. According to First Nations Knowledge Keepers, the original intent of the treaty relationship was based on a mutual understanding of respect and responsibility. Looking at the climate crisis through a reconciliation lens requires acknowledging that both settler and First Nations worldviews and laws can meaningfully inform contemporary policy.

“Now more than ever, we must work together,” said Grand Chief Dumas, concluding, “First Nations laws can no longer be excluded. The future of all our children and the health of our planet is at stake. The crisis of climate change, like all contemporary challenges, is too complex for one treaty partner and one legal tradition. It is our sincere hope that the Supreme Court recognizes that First Nations laws can assist in alleviating the tension and restore environmental and constitutional balance.”

Media Contact:

NB: AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas is available for interviews

Stacia Franz

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 204-292-1504


SCO: Commemorating the Survivors of Indian Residential Schools

Orange Shirt Day – #EveryChildMatters

Every year on September 30th, we come together in the spirit of reconciliation to honour residential school Survivors.  Orange Shirt Day was created to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

The symbol of the orange shirt was inspired by IRS Survivor Phyllis Webstad. She was sent to residential school in BC when she was just six years old. On her first day of school, she proudly wore a bright orange shirt that she had chosen herself. But when she arrived, her shirt was taken from her, never to be returned. Now, every September 30 we honour Phyllis and all Survivors by wearing an orange shirt.

Orange Shirt Day provides us the opportunity to raise awareness and have honest and meaningful discussions about the intergenerational effects of the Indian residential school system.

Orange Shirt Day 2020

Whether it’s in your school, community or workplace, we want to hear how you will mark Orange Shirt Day! Share your plans and photos with us on social media:

Facebook: @SCOIncMB
Instagram: @SCOIncMB
Twitter: @SCOIncMB

Every Child Matters Virtual Event

On September 30, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting a virtual event that will bring together a diverse and inspiring program of Truth and Reconciliation activities to coincide with Orange Shirt Day. Designed for students in grades 5 through 12, this virtual event provides an opportunity to learn first hand from Residential School Survivors, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, artists and leaders from nations and cultures across the country. Register to attend

Indian Residential Schools

The Indian residential school system represents one of the darkest moments in our shared history. A network of boarding schools set up by the Canadian government and administered by Christian schools, the Indian residential school system sought to assimilate First Nation children into the dominant settler culture by removing them from their own families, communities, and culture.

September was referred to as ‘the crying month’ by many, as it was the month that children were taken from their families and communities. It is estimated that at least 150,000 First Nation children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to residential schools, starting in the late 1800s and lasting up until 1996. In Manitoba, there were 14 residential schools operating from 1889 until 1975: Assiniboia (Winnipeg); Birtle; Brandon; Churchill Vocational Centre; Cross Lake; Dauphin (McKay); Elkhorn (Washakada); Fort Alexander (Pine Falls); Guy Hill (Clearwater, The Pas, formerly Sturgeon Landing, SK); Norway House United Church; Notre Dame Hostel (Norway House Roman Catholic, Jack River Hostel, replaced Jack River Annex at Cross Lake); Pine Creek (Camperville); Portage La Prairie; and Sandy Bay (Marius).

Students faced harsh discipline and physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the schools. Thousands did not make it home, dying of disease, starvation and abuse, or after trying to escape to make the long journey back to their families.

“Anytime there’s a public announcement to do with residential schools, it opens up a lot of wounds that have been trying to heal. But at the same time, it’s very important for the rest of the country to know the truth about the historical traumas and pain that Indigenous people have undergone.” – Martina Fisher, IRS Survivor, Bloodvein First Nation.

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

In 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada began a multi-year process to listen to Survivors, communities, and others affected by the Indian Residential School system. They collected statements, documents, and other materials about experiences with the IRS system, which now form the heart of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), housed at the University of Manitoba.

The NCTR has resources on Orange Shirt Day, its significance and they have an online shop where you can purchase the “Calls to Action” booklet, which is a pocket-sized booklet containing all of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

Every Child Matters: Education Through Reconciliation

Canada’s History and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation are pleased to share the digital edition of the publication Every Child Matters: Reconciliation Through Education and corresponding educational materials. These are designed to support teachers and students in their learning journey. The activities are intended to encourage student inquiry and investigation, while also supporting action-based learning. Each lesson is based on one of the seven teachings, reminding all of us that love, truth, wisdom, humility, courage, respect, and honesty truly matter.

You can explore their learning activities or download a PDF of the entire Educator’s Guide.

Supports for Survivors

Individuals, families, and communities are still working to overcome the immense and traumatic effects of the Indian residential schools, including the intergenerational impact.

There are supports available for IRS Survivors and their families.

IRS Crisis Line

An Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day Survivors and their families experiencing pain or distress as a result of the residential school experience.

Read More:


Clear Sky Connections negotiates new funding amidst blatant disregard of sovereignty and inclusion in decision making regarding First Nations territories

CYBERSPACE (MANITOBA) – Clear Sky Connections (CSC) is disappointed to be informed that $55M that had been previously allocated for Northern Manitoba has been officially withdrawn by the Government of Canada, at the same time that the Province makes unilateral decisions regarding fibre optics in First Nations territory otherwise known as “Manitoba”.

In anticipation of federal funding being withdrawn from the Wekitowak project, Clear Sky Connections had been meeting with various federal departments to continue to advance the 100% owned and operated indigenous high-speed fibre optic network. “What is it not yet clear to each level of government that you cannot proceed into First Nations territory without our consent? We continuously stress that we want to partner with entities that understand that First Nation ownership of the network is imperative. Internet Service Providers, Investors, Government Departments, or anyone else that feels they can supersede First Nations in decisions regarding their territories must take a step back and realize times have changed. We will no longer accept solutions for us without us at the table. We call on Minister Monsef and the pertinent provincial Ministers to address the situation immediately” said Chief David Crate, Chairperson of Clear Sky Connections.

Clear Sky Connections has put together a comprehensive plan and has had the endorsement of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs since the inception of the former Technology Council in 2009. Clear Sky Connections has the support of the 40 member Nations in Manitoba and will continue the build projects as funding is received.

Without access to broadband, unconnected communities are at a disadvantage and the digital divide continues to grow wider. The proposed project would deliver a broad range of tangible benefits to the First Nation communities in Manitoba. Web-based services are a necessity for access to government information, education, health care, and small-business development. In these areas without reliable internet, the public cannot participate in government, students struggle to complete homework, small businesses are unable to reach their customers, and parents are not able to access healthcare technologies like telemedicine for their families.

“The pandemic has shown us how important it is that everyone in Manitoba have access to high-speed internet for everything from remote learning to virtual health visits and economic development. These decisions are much too important to be made behind closed doors by the federal and provincial governments and without the input of self-determining Indigenous communities” said Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP Caucus.

Clear Sky Connections has proposed a phased-in build to the Government of Canada that can connect the member First Nations communities at a cost of $152M. The planned Fibre Optic Network consists of a total of 8,789 kilometers of fibre (including 5,170 kilometers of existing fibre and 3,619 kilometers of new build fibre). Clear Sky Connections has shown that it has the support of the member Nations and that fibre networks need to be owned and operated by First Nations as Indigenous communities have been waiting for too long. The members clearly stated at the AGM on August 27th, 2020, that unity continues under this umbrella and the divide and conquer tactic will persevere no more.

The Clear Sky Indigenous Network is well positioned to build and operate the proposed fibre network as Indigenous Services Canada provided funding for a fibre optic project that was used for the initial site of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation that is on target to be “lit up” by mid-October 2020. The other 2 communities will be near completion by early Summer 2021. The partnership is a mix of two 100% owned First Nation organizations that have the expertise to bring the network to fruition. Indigenous Services Canada has always been a strong supporter of Manitoba’s First Nations in the development of, and carrying out of, this bold initiative to reap economic benefits at the community level.

Reconciliation means supporting Indigenous-led proposals and with the member Nations supporting Clear Sky Connections, we anticipate that the Government of Canada will continue to provide funding for the 100% owned and operated telecommunications company for Manitoba First Nations. The province of Manitoba should follow suit and recognize that the true stewards of any network or infrastructure being built that crosses our territory should be first endorsed by us as the First Peoples.

Chief Cornell McLean, lead for the For-Profit arms of Clear Sky said: “Why isn’t anybody asking what really happened here? Why are the First Nation communities always pointed at at the end of the day as the reason for an Agreement not working out that was imposed by the government? We have always said we are moving forward in a positive way and it is hard to do that when we are continuously disregarded when we want to reach true reconciliation. It is 2020 and we are in the middle of a global pandemic. It is hardly the time to make such a huge decision that is going to impact our generations to come!”

“Given everything that has happened this year – from those working remotely, to school closures and home schooling, to all who have had to go into isolation – this decision could not have come at a worse time. In a world more connected than ever, our communities are left behind through a lack of meaningful consultation” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization.


Clear Sky Connections, mandated by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, originated from the word “MIZHAKWUN” a name received in ceremony that translates to “the Sky is Clear” where the eagle opened up the sky and cleared the path for the future generations to connect. This entity is part of a corporate group, a reform of the Manitoba First Nations Technology Council whom the Chiefs of Manitoba gave the direction to Build the Manitoba First Nations Network of the Future and the consent to continue to secure investments and funding to bring high-speed internet to Manitoba First Nations and to work with surrounding communities.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Clarke, Clear Sky Connections CEO, [email protected]


Fisher Branch RCMP seize drugs and cash

On September 18, 2020, officers from the Fisher Branch RCMP executed a search warrant at a residence located on the Peguis First Nation and seized a large sum of Canadian currency, 90 grams of cocaine and other drug related paraphernalia in response to a drug trafficking investigation.

Officers arrested a 57-year-old female and a 35-year-old male, both from the Peguis First Nation, and later released them for court scheduled December 15, 2020, in Peguis.

The investigation continues.


Contact information

Sgt. Paul Manaigre, Media Relations Officer
RCMP Media Relations

[email protected]


Manitobans Reminded Minimum Wage Will Increase Oct. 1

Manitoba Finance reminds Manitobans the minimum wage will increase by 25 cents to $11.90 Oct. 1.

The increase of 25 cents per hour will raise the current minimum wage to $11.90 from $11.65. This adjustment is based on Manitoba’s 2019 inflation rate of 2.2 per cent, rounding up to the nearest five cents.
Budget 2019 implemented the reduction of the sales tax rate to seven per cent from eight per cent, effective July 1, 2019.  This broad-based tax cut benefits all Manitoba families and businesses, with an estimated total savings of $325 million in the first full year and growing in each subsequent year.  On July 1, 2020, Manitoba eliminated the sales tax on property insurance premiums, saving families and businesses an additional $75 million.

Manitobans also continue to benefit from the indexation of the Basic Personal Amount and the provincial income tax brackets since 2017. Since indexation began, an estimated 7,720 Manitobans have been removed from the tax rolls and the cumulative maximum tax savings from the 2017 tax year to 2019 tax year is $253.

Information on the minimum wage and other employment standards is available 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.


Manitoba First Nation offers cash prizes in weight loss competition – CBC

St. Theresa Point holds 3 month challenge in an effort to boost health and morale

Sep 21, 2020

A First Nation in Manitoba with high rates of diabetes is hoping to boost community health by holding a weight loss competition with some large cash prizes.

“I’m pumped. I’m really, really excited about it, really encouraged, and I think it’s a great opportunity for our people to do something together,” said one of the participants, Stephanie Wood.

St. Theresa Point is an isolated Anishininew (Oji-Cree) community about 460 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

On Wednesday and Thursday, nearly 400 people in St. Theresa Point were weighed in for the community’s first-ever weight loss competition, which features a first place prize of $16,000.

Read More:

Manitoba Music Announces Top Scorers for 2020 Canadian Songwriter Challenge

A summer of songwriting has yielded some stellar successes for nine emerging songwriters from Manitoba. The multi-genre group has been hard at work for the 2020 edition of the Canadian Songwriter Challenge, a songwriter development series run by Manitoba Music with the help of a Bell Media national songwriter initiative.

This year’s session brought together creatives spanning folk and roots, indie rock, hip hop, R&B, pop, and more. Taking the top spots were Cassidy Mann, Matthew Monias (MattMac), Sebastian Gaskin, and Super Duty Tough Work’s Brendan Kinley.

Running throughout July and August, the Manitoba edition of the Challenge included creative mentorship and songwriter development to strengthen skills and opportunities for a career in songwriting, composition, and production.

The songwriters worked one-on-one with mentors in songwriting, production, publishing, radio, music supervision, and A&R, including State of Sound’s Adèle Ho, producer Brian West, peermusic’s Cheryl Link, singer/songwriter Donovan Woods, Kim Temple of High Priestess Publishing/Six Shooter Records, composer/producer Nikhil Seetharam, Warner Music Canada’s Ron Lopata, singer/songwriter and producer Samantha Crain, and hip hop artist and radio broadcaster Shad K.

Writers participated in three songwriting challenges, each with a different creative brief, and were awarded points for their creations. At the end of all three challenges, the writers who accumulated the most points over the course of the summer received a cash contribution towards their creative development.

“This was my favourite creative program I’ve ever been a part of,” says Mann, who is working on new material in her home studio for a 2021 release. “It challenged me so much as a writer and a producer, motivating me to finish writing and fully demo new songs as well as share what I create on a regular basis. The mentorship aspect was so valuable and I’ve made business and musical connections I never would have otherwise, that I believe will be instrumental throughout my career.”

“The songwriter challenge really opened me up to new forms of songwriting,” says Monias, who is releasing a new video at the end of the month for his latest single, “Paradise”, which is currently charting on the Indigenous Music Countdown. “The mentorships sessions provided a lot of valuable information and conversations that I probably wouldn’t have had access to, otherwise. It was really cool to connect and hear other Manitoba-based artists as well. I really appreciate the positive feedback on my music and also the constructiveness.”

“The Canadian Songwriting challenge was very eye-opening for me,” says Gaskin, who recently released his latest single and video for “Snakehold” and special merch collab with Friday Knights. “It allowed me to see into the sync side of the music industry and allowed me to expand my abilities, both as a songwriter, and a business person. All of the mentors proved to be extremely helpful in all facets of the challenge.”

“This program really inspired me to think outside the box, and work more outside of my comfort zone. In doing so, I’ve created more fun, engaging music, something that I hope will be apparent on future releases,” says Kinley, who is doing a live stream broadcast for POP Montreal on September 25 and 27 with Super Duty Tough Work, and an upcoming CBC radio documentary airing on The Doc Project.

This year’s roster of challenge participants also included performing songwriters Brandon Post, Lana Winterhalt, Lindsay Rae, Sierra Noble with Rusty Matyas, and Tyler Del Pino.

Earlier songwriter challenges have come in the form of multi-day co-writing retreats which simply aren’t possible due to COVID-19. While the situation placed roadblocks in the way of traditional programming, it also offered the chance to think of creative approaches that offer connections with mentors from across Canada and the U.S.

This iteration of the Summer Songwriter Retreat is part of a multi-year partnership between the Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations (CCMIA) and Bell Media, CCMIA’s member music industry associations have been organizing songwriter-focused events across the country this summer.


Manitoba municipality, First Nation work together to rename Colonization Road – Global News

September 17, 2020

A controversial road in Libau, Man., is being renamed, say community leaders.

The Brokenhead Ojibway Nation and the Rural Municipality of St. Clements announced Monday that Libau’s Colonization Road will be renamed following consultation with members of both communities.

The communities said they are going about the renaming in the spirit of reconciliation and in light of recent struggles against systemic racism in Canada and around the world.

“This conversation isn’t new,” said Brokenhead Chief Deborah Smith.

Read More:

MB Government: Province Taking Steps to Hold Federal Government Accountable for Closing the Service Gap on Reserve

Judicial Review of MHRC Decision Needed to Clarify Canada’s Legal Obligation: Clarke

The Manitoba government is seeking a judicial review of a Manitoba Human Rights Commission (MHRC) decision that found a First Nations family was discriminated against because they could not access provincial health care and related services on reserve, Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.
“All Manitobans deserve to know what services they can access when they need them, and we believe this ruling confuses rather than clarifies which level of government is responsible for providing health care and related services to First Nations people living on reserve,” said Clarke. “A judicial review of this decision will bring much-needed attention to the legal obligations of federal and provincial governments, and bring clarity to this important issue.”
In an Aug. 17 decision, an adjudicator for the MHRC ordered the province to pay damages to the family and continue to provide services as needed. However, no broad systemic orders dealing with the responsibility for delivering these services on reserve were made. Manitoba is bringing an application for judicial review of the decision to gain clarity about its obligation to deliver services on reserve.
The province will respect the MHRC decision to award damages to the family in question and provide provincial services during the judicial review process, the minister said.
The minister noted the Constitution of Canada is based on a model of co-operative federalism that relies on federal and provincial governments and First Nations working together to develop and maintain various services.
“The Manitoba government is committed to working collaboratively and will continue to provide services to Manitobans in keeping with the long-standing practices of co-operative federalism,” she said. “However, Canada has assumed responsibility for providing health-care funding for reserves in recognition of its historical relationship with First Nations people, and it’s now time to also own its role to bridge the health gap between those living on reserve and other Canadians.”
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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.


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