Q. What is an OIC?
A. An OIC is short for Order in Council. NCN, like other governments, uses an OIC to make appointments, approve regulations under laws such as the Community Protection Law and to legislate Orders under NCN Laws such as the Nisichawayasi Emergency Measures Law. Orders in Council or OICs are part of NCN Laws.
Q. Is the State of Emergency still in effect?
A. Yes, it will be in effect until July 19, 2020. We may need to extend it depending on the number of COVID-19 cases over the next while. A State of Emergency was declared on March 20, 2020 using the Nisichawayasi Emergency Measures Law. Manitoba and other jurisdictions also declared states of emergency.
Q. What is the relationship between the OICs under the Nisichawayasi Emergency Measures Law and the Community Protection Law?
A. The Emergency Measures Law gives Chief and Council the authority to put different rules in place if there is an emergency like the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the Community Protection Law allows certain amounts of alcohol or cannabis to be transported onto NCN Lands, but when the lockdown went into effect, an Order in Council was issued to over-ride that law due to the pandemic. In normal circumstances, Chief and Council cannot simply over-ride a law but in this situation it can for a limited period of time (in this case during the pandemic).
Q. What is the relationship between Manitoba’s Public Health Act and the State of Emergency?
A. Manitoba’s Public Health Act gives the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, a doctor by the name of Dr. Roussin, the authority to issue various Orders under that law. The provincial government has the authority to declare a State of Emergency for particular areas in the province or for the whole province. Chief and Council have the authority to declare a State of Emergency in relation to NCN and to establish rules that will apply to NCN. Chief and Council take into consideration the recommendations of NCN’s Director of Public Health who considers how the provincial orders may apply to NCN and what additional steps may be required to protect the health and safety of NCN Citizens and other residents particularly on NCN Lands.
Q. Who makes the decision about the State of Emergency, the Community Protection Law and the Public Health Orders?
A. Chief and Council make the decisions, as NCN’s elected leadership, about the State of Emergency related to NCN as well as issues related to the Community Protection Law that was approved in accordance with the procedures in Othasowewin (NCN Constitution). The Public Health Orders are made by the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer. The provincial cabinet makes decisions about declaring provincial states of emergency. Everyone must act in accordance with the relevant laws.
Q. Are the public health measures still required?
A. Yes, it is still important to:
- wash your hands frequently;
- clean your homes and vehicles frequently with sanitizing solutions;
- not share utensils, cigarettes, cannabis or drinks;
- maintain a safe distance (six feet or 2 meters) from you and other people who do not live in the same household.
Q. Will I be allowed to come and go from the community now that the lockdown is over?
A. Yes, NCN Citizens/Residents ordinarily resident on NCN Lands described in Aski-Pumenikiwin will be allowed to enter and exit the community as long as they register with the FNSOs at the check-stop upon exit and re-entry and follow the rules in the NCN Order in Council (OIC).
Q. Is a curfew still in effect?
A. Yes, the curfew from 11:00 pm until 6:00 am remains in effect.
Q. What time can I leave the community?
A. From 6:00 am onward unless you are an essential worker in which case earlier.
Q. Will there still be patrols of trails and waterways into the community?
Q. Will searches of vehicles continue?
Q. Will I be allowed back into the community if I take an overnight or weekend trip to my camp?
Q. Am I allowed to travel south of Thompson?
A. You will be allowed to travel south of Thompson within Manitoba only and will not have to isolate upon your return. You must register at the check-stop when you leave and when you return and you must observe the restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, social distancing and other public health measures, like frequent hand-washing.
Q. What are the current limits on gatherings?
A. Effective Sunday June 21st, the limits on gatherings are up to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. These limits apply to residents of a house in NCN and any visitors as well.
Q. Do these limits apply to funerals, ceremonies, and culture camps?
Q. Can my relatives who do not live in northern Manitoba attend a funeral?
A. No, people who do not live in northern Manitoba are still not able to attend funerals.
Q. Have the protocols for these events changed since the last OIC?
A. Yes, the size of gatherings that is now allowed has increased compared to the last OIC, but it is still critical that physical distancing, sanitizing and frequent hand washing still take place during all events.
Q. Are the schools open again?
A. Our schools remain closed except for the gymnasiums.
Q. What about other community facilities?
A. ATEC, the Multi-Plex and the Arena are all open again subject to implementing the required public health measures such as physical distancing and sanitization .
Q. Will the VLTs be opening soon?
A. Yes, the VLT Center at NCN will be allowed to re-open on Monday, June 22, 2020 from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm daily.
Q. Can my family and friends now visit me in the community?
A. Yes, as long as they are residents of northern Manitoba and they are not engaging in illegal activities and are not subject to banishment orders.
Q. Can I now bring alcohol and cannabis into the community?
A. Yes, as long as you have a valid permit. But because the State of Emergency is still in effect, you can only bring in the allowable limits of alcohol and cannabis twice a week instead of daily.
Q. If I received a fine for breaching NCN Laws including an OIC during the State of Emergency, can I bring alcohol and cannabis into the community?
A. It depends if you have a valid permit. If you violated any NCN Laws including the OIC, your permit will have been cancelled and you cannot apply for a new one for 3 months for your first offence, for 6 months for a 2nd offence and 12 months for a 3rd offence. You must also have paid any fine you owe or have completed your alternate community service arrangements.
Q. What are the limits?
A. Each person with a valid permit under the Community Protection Law can bring up to the legally allowed limits of dried cannabis, edibles or infusions and 24 355 ml cans or bottles of beer or coolers, 4 litres of wine or one litre of liquor such as rye, vodka or rum into the community twice a week.
Q. Can I return to work for NCN or an NCN Entity?
A. Yes, employees of NCN Government and NCN Entities are allowed to return to work in the community if they are not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, runny nose, headache, diarrhea, shortness of breath).
Q. Will workers from southern Manitoba and out of province be allowed back into the community to work?
A. Yes, contract workers and construction workers can return to the community to work, including those from out of province as long as they comply with a plan pre-approved by the NCN Health Director in consultation with the office of Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer, FNIB, the northern regional health authority and Chief and Council.
Q. What rules will those workers have to follow?
A. The following rules will be in place for these infrastructure projects:
- NCN is trying to arrange for testing of all workers for COVID-19 before they are allowed to enter the community but those arrangements have not yet been finalized;
- All workers arriving at the check-stop will be required to complete a questionnaire prior to entry into the community;
- All workers must abide by the relevant terms of the NCN Orders in Council in effect;
- Each group of workers will be required to stay within their camps or jobsite and not interact with NCN residents;
- Materials will be delivered directly to each job site using a contactless system where drivers must stay in their trucks at all times, materials will be unloaded by the contractor’ employees and then the truck drivers will leave the community;
- Each contractor will employ their own cooks and cleaners for their camps and all food deliveries will be delivered directly to their camps again using contactless systems to unload;
- Local operators will be allowed on site when materials such as clay or granular materials are required, but will stay in their cabs at all times while on site.
- Diesel fuel will be delivered to the site but the contractors’ operators will be required to stay in their cabs while refueling takes place;
- Each contractor must provide the names and addresses of each employee to the NCN Executive Director of Justice and Public Safety or designate in advance so that special entry passes can be issued following consultation with the NCN Health Director.
Q. What will happen if I don’t obey the rules in the NCN OIC?
A. Violators will continue to receive a $500.00 fine and may also be subject to other sanctions such as removal of benefits, evictions and banishments.