WINNIPEG -- Premier Brian Pallister has announced that the province is launching a new online tool to help connect volunteers in the province with those who need assistance.

The new tool can be accessed online and is called 'Help Next Door MB'.

The idea is to connect the people in the province willing to help with those who need it. The Premier noted it will allow people to receive the goods and services they need such as groceries, medication, snow-clearing and various other necessities.

“This new online tool captures the spirit of our province, where Manitobans in communities across our province can always be counted on to step up to assist others who need help, especially in times of need,” said Pallister.

“The innovative tool, created by Manitobans for Manitobans, puts people all over the province who need assistance easily in contact with those nearby – while adhering to social distancing protocols – who want to help them.”

Pallister added that the tool will be very helpful the elderly, disabled and those at high risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online tool has been developed and designed by North Forge Technology Exchange, a non-profit and team-led Winnipeg technology organization.

“There are a lot of amazing people out there creating volunteer platforms, but we wanted to ensure that security and safety are embedded to protect our citizens," Joelle Foster, CEO of North Forge Technology Exchange said. “As such, we turned to our community of innovators and we are so pleased that software development partners like Permission Click and ID Fusion Software stepped up to collaborate with us and have built this tool in record time."  

The province is currently under a state of emergency for the next 30 days, and travel outside of Manitoba is being strongly discouraged.

A total of 20 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in Manitoba.