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Chiefs of Ontario Health & Social Sector - COVID-19 Weekly Update

April 23, 2020 - As COVID-19 continues to evolve, Chiefs of Ontario Health and Social Sectors will be providing updates concerning technical highlights and vital priority areas. This week we also have included an update from Ontario First Nations Young People’s Council.

Ontario First Nations Young People’s Council (OFNYPC)

On behalf of the OFNYPC, we hope that everyone is practicing social distancing and avoiding non-essential travel whenever possible in order to keep our communities safe as COVID-19 continues to evolve across the globe. As young leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure we are doing all we can to protect the wellbeing of the next seven generations.

The OFNYPC has been working together to ensure youth across Ontario are aware of the various resources, toolkits, online resources and webinars offered to Indigenous youth during this pandemic. We encourage communities and Indigenous youth to follow our social media feeds for updated resources and messaging, and to keep an eye out for the launch of our website at the end of this month.

Additionally, the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council has created a COVID-19 Wellness Task Team, partnering with various sectors within the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Health Managers Association and various Indigenous Youth Organizations. Meeting weekly, the objectives of the Task Team include ensuring messages relating to COVID-19 area reaching youth, messaging is youth-friendly and accessible and overall ensuring the youth voice is present and carries as we collectively seek to navigate our way through the pandemic. Encouraging social and psychical distance measures are taken seriously and ensuring First Nations youth have access to culturally-appropriate Mental Wellness supports are a major areas of concerns for the Task Team.

Below are some youth-specific resources for communities to access:

We Matter:

We Matter is an Indigenous youth-led and nationally registered organization dedicated to Indigenous youth support, hope and life promotion.

TRACKS Program:

TRACKS is dedicated to educating young people to be able to address increasingly complex environmental issues by creating and delivering culturally relevant programming which combines Indigenous and western sciences.

Indigenous Climate Action – Building Communities of Care:

ICA is known for being a resource for Indigenous-centered climate action, promoting values of climate justice, and holding the approach of two-eyed seeing. As we continue to monitor the outbreak and impact of COVID-19, we are bringing together perspectives of science, along with our traditional knowledge.

We are sending Hope and Prayers to all who need it at this time ~

Let’s get through this together!

Ontario First Nations Young People’s Council

Youth Supports- What are Youth Wellness Hubs?

In February 2017, the Ontario government announced funding for integrated service hubs across the province to address gaps in the youth service system. Ten hubs have been established to serve as fully integrated “one-stop-shops” for youth aged 12-25, to address their needs related to mental health, substance use, primary care, education/employment/training, housing and other community and social services.

These hubs will also include peer services, outreach, and system navigation services. Services will emphasize quality and will be timely, integrated and co-located. Loretta Assinewai-Fox is the Implementation Specialist supporting the Indigenous Advisory Group for the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario. For additional information contact Loretta at: Loretta

Contact your local hub for information on accessing services during COVID19:

  • Chatham-Kent: ACCESS Open Minds, 140 King Street West, Chatham, Ontario, (519) 437-6329

  • Central Toronto: Skylark Children, Youth and Families, 40 Orchard View Blvd, Unit 255, Toronto, Ontario, (416) 482-0081

  • Toronto East: East Metro Youth Services, 1871 Danforth Avenue Toronto, Ontario, (416) 699-7775

  • Scarborough: East Metro Youth Services, 1200 Markham Road, Suite 200, Scarborough, Ontario, (416) 438-3697

  • Eastern Champlain, Rockland: 1517 Laurier St., Rockland, Ontario, (613) 446-4599

  • Eastern Champlain, Cornwall: 212 Pitt St., Cornwall, Ontario, (613) 935-3485

Social Sector Update

Financial Assistance

Individuals currently on social assistance (OW or ODSP) can now stack their financial benefits with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The $1,000 a month from CERB will be counted as self-employment income. For existing social assistance clients the first $200 will be exempted and 50% of each additional dollar received in a month with be exempt. For new clients granted social assistance after March 1, 2020, CERB payments will not be exempt.

Health Sector Update

This week, Chiefs of Ontario Health Sector, in collaboration with Indigenous Services Canada and the First Nation Health Managers Association launched the first weekly Regional Health Directors call. This will take place every Wednesday from 3:30-5:00pm with opportunities for Health Directors to send in their specific COVID-19 questions in advance of the call or during the session. The first 45 minutes of the call will be devoted to brief presentations on such topics as PPE, NIHB and Medical Transportation, Expanded Nursing/Medical Personnel, Pandemic Plans.

Any Health Director can send agenda topics of interest and advance questions to:

We are still working on finding the best platform to use, including teleconferencing, Webinar or Zoom. Thank you to all the hard working Health Directors, Nursing Staff/Medical Personnel and Non Medical Personnel working so hard to keep our communities safe and protected.


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Telemedicine: We continue to work with the Ontario Telemedicine Network as they develop a pathway to fast track access to Mental Health Supports for youth, as well as the OTN HUB Direct to Patient eVisit program via GuestLink to provide support for self- assessment and in-home remote monitoring. Stay tuned.

We remain committed to working together with all of you in keeping our nations protected, supported and embraced. While not possible physically, then with our spirit, as we do everything possible to combat COVID-19 and its impacts.

Be Well.

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