The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) will require all its employees and elected representatives to be fully vaccinated, the organization announced Tuesday.
“We want to make sure that not only Métis citizens are safe, we want to make sure that all citizens across the province are safe,” said MMF Health and Early Learning Child Care Minister Frances Chartrand at a news conference in Winnipeg.
Chartrand said the MMF employs over 1,000 people and is responsible for service delivery for over 100,000 Métis citizens in Manitoba.
Chartrand said the decision applies to people from all sectors of the MMF including staff, affiliates, contractors, board members and elected officials.
“This will also include individuals who come to our buildings and facilities to conduct meetings or do business with us,” said Chartrand.
In terms of implementing the policy, Chartrand said she doesn’t see any barriers.
“We’re going to, of course, accommodate our staff and accommodate our partners and our contractors and any of our cabinet members and our citizens . . . that are working with us,” said Chartrand.
To help combat vaccine hesitancy among Métis citizens, Chartrand said the MMF will be offering counselling, and running a social media information campaign in the coming months.
“We’re going to educate them on COVID 19. We’re going to find out if they need any help,” said Chartrand.
The MMF has helped deliver over 3,000 vaccine doses to its citizens so far.
Jacquelline Pelland, an MMF member, said she applauds the decision to require staff to be fully vaccinated but is worried about employees in precarious situations.
“There needs to be support put in place so that people can actually take the time to get vaccinated,” said Pelland.
“If they need to take time off work because they’re sick, they shouldn’t be penalized in any way. Or if they need a babysitter, or if they need some sort of extra support in order to make getting vaccinated happen, then that’s what the MMF should do.”
Chartrand said they will be looking at each individual on a case by case basis.
On Tuesday, Manitoba announced that most provincial health-care employees, teachers and child-care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31, with their first dose no later than Sept. 7.
Earlier this month, the federal government announced that all federal public servants will be required to be vaccinated.
While First Nations band councils and certain community services fall under the list of federally regulated industries and workplaces, a spokesperson from Indigenous Services Canada told CBC News in an email that band councils were not federal employees.