Financial support of up to $5,000 will be provided to eligible Métis families to help cover the costs of funerals or memorial services.
The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) launched this new program to assist the Métis families who have lost a family member as the federation understands that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a lot of burden.
"Traditionally, Métis families rely on fundraising and support from the community to help pay for the costs of memorial services, but with the limited ability to interact with your neighbours and the financial crisis we are currently in, many families cannot turn to others to help cover the costs of these important services," said MMF President David Chartrand in a press release.
"Your Métis Government wants to assist those suffering from the mental anguish associated with the loss of a loved one to lessen the burdens they are facing."
To add, the MMF has an existing Bereavement Fund to support Métis families with $200 to fund for the costs of food and hall rentals. The funding is provided through the Metis Community Liaison Department (MCLD).
"Those who donate to the Bereavement Fund would expect that the funds continue to go out and support Métis families going through the loss of a loved one," said MMF Minister of the MCLD Andrew Carrier.
"This fund will continue to be accessible by Métis families during this trying time."
The federation is also offering other supports to help its citizens during the pandemic such as the Emergency Student Assistance Program, the Metis Community Business Fund and a hamper program for vulnerable Métis citizens.
"The MMF has provided support to students, entrepreneurs, and families, and now we are proud that we can offer a helping hand to those struggling with the loss of a loved one," said the Minister of Health & Wellness and co-chair of the MMF’s Central COVID-19 Response Team, Frances Chartrand.
"The MMF has had a proactive, robust response to COVID-19 and this program is yet another support that we feel is critical to helping our people exit COVID-19 stronger and more united than we entered."
Métis families who have recently lost their loved ones are encouraged to contact the federation at 204-586-8474 and request to connect with the MCLD department to check their eligibility for this new funeral support.
"We are in the midst of a mental health and economic crisis that we have never experienced on this scale," said Chartrand.
"With this in mind, the MMF wants to guarantee that all Métis individuals that pass on are paid their respects and, to the best of our ability, ensure that we lessen the hardships passed on to their loved ones. The MMF has got your back."
Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun