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Manitoba's Turtle Team loses federal funding; facing 42 job cuts

Chief Derek Nepinak speaks at a news conference on June 10, 2024. Chief Derek Nepinak speaks at a news conference on June 10, 2024.
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A team that provides support to First Nations citizens and those experiencing homelessness is at risk of shutting down amid financial constraints.

According to the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM), the federal government has declined to continue funding for the Turtle Team, citing the fact that the initiative was only a temporary funding arrangement.

“We’re asking the federal government to have some vision of the future, to reinstate the funding needed,” said Chief Derek Nepinak, who is the co-chair of the FNHSSM.

“It’s not a significant amount of resources right now to continue this, so why not continue it?”

Since 2021, the Turtle Team has been providing culturally grounded services for First Nations people who have been evacuated from their homes due to COVID-19, fire or flood. The team also provides support to First Nations citizens experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg.

Now, the FNHSSM is calling on the government to continue its funding, saying its support is crucial to the work the team does. It adds that if funding is not provided, 42 employees of the Turtle Team will be laid off.

“Forty-two jobs are being lost today. Forty families in this city are being impacted by funding commitments that are not being made to continue an essential, culturally-appropriate service for our people,” Nepinak said.

The Turtle Team has an annual budget of $2.2 million, largely made up of federal funding.

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