COVID-19 Updates & Essential Services

Staff returned to offices and work sites on Monday, June 14th

Our offices remain closed to the public until further notice; however services are available by appointment, curbside and by phone or email. Membership services (status cards and registrations) are available curbside. Please call 705-753-2922 to make an appointment in advance. Drop boxes are available between the doors of the following entrances: Administration Building main entrance, Finance department, Education Office and Natural Resources.

Read our latest update here (September 15, 2021): Community Update #20: Second Positive COVID-19 Case Related to Bus Route 4-5

Learn more about Ontario’s Proof of Vaccination Requirement that starts on September 22, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Education Module – North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit

To view Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, please visit:

Emergency Contacts:

  • Public Works: 705-840-3626
  • Right Path Counselling & Prevention Services: 705-753-1375 (Please leave a message if calling after-hours. Voicemail is monitored daily.)
  • Food Bank Access Dates: 1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month. Download the order form at For more information, call 705-753-6972 (leave a message) or send an email to

Important Updates & Contacts

Update on COVID-19 Vaccines

As of August 25th, NFN Health Services has administered over 3,100 vaccines to NFN community members, including over 200 vaccines for youth between the ages of 12 and 17 years.

Youth Vaccines

The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 is available in NFN for youth aged 12 to 17 years.  Community members who will be 12 years old by December 31, 2021 and reside in an NFN household can call the Health Centre at 705-753-3312 to register for a Pfizer vaccine and schedule an appointment by calling the Health Centre at 705-753-3312. Although we continue to await further direction from the Ontario Ministry of Health on vaccines for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years, we expect to have the go ahead soon.  Our Health Centre is now accepting pre-registrations for this age group.  Please call 705-753-3312 to pre-register children aged 5 to 11 years for a COVID-19 vaccine. NFN Health Services has held 38 adult immunization clinics and 9 youth immunization clinics, and has offered appointment-based bookings at the Health Centre since June.  Adults seeking a COVID-19 vaccine may now be referred to another provider.  Please call the Health Centre at 705-753-3312 for more information. For more information, please read this Youth Vaccines Fact Sheet or visit Ontario's COVID-19 vaccines for youth website.

COVaxON Data Entry Completed

All NFN vaccination records have now been inputted into COVaxON, the Ontario provincial database used for tracking COVID-19 vaccines. A reminder that can retrieve your own vaccine record online. Your doctor, pharmacist or hospital will also be able to see your record if you need it for healthcare reasons. Here is what you will need to get your COVID-19 vaccine record: If you have an urgent need for your COVAxON vaccine record, please contact Carole Lafantaisie, Community Health Nurse, at 705-753-3312 ext. 2257.

Rapid Testing on NFN

If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms a rapid test can give you a printed results in 15 minutes.  NFN Health Services has 4 COVID-19 rapid testing units that are operated by our trained nurses. It is important to note that these units serve as a surveillance tool and do not provide a laboratory confirmed result.  Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 at one of our rapid testing units will be sent for a test at an assessment centre to confirm the result.  Individuals who test negative will not need to take further action if there is no concern about possible exposure to COVID-19. To inquire about getting a rapid test, please call the Health Centre at 705-753-3312.


If you are concerned about a potential exposure to COVID-19 or have any questions about vaccines, please contact our Community Health Nurse, Carole Lafantaisie, at 705-840-8830.  Other inquiries may be directed to Kimberly Lalonde, Director of Health Services, at 705-498-3698. The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s COVID-19 call centre has a new toll-free phone number (1-844-478-1400) for individuals to discuss general or school concerns related to COVID-19. For current case numbers in our district, please visit the Health Unit’s COVID-19 status report dashboard.
Important Message re: Vision Care Services
As of September 1, 2021, Optometrists in Ontario have withdrawn from the provincial insurance program for vision care services. This is due to a dispute alleging the amount of reimbursement for eye exams is inadequate.
If you are a First Nation member in the 20-to-64-year age range your vision care services will continue to be covered by Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB).  First Nation members 19 years and under, 65 years and over or with certain medical conditions may not be covered for the cost of an eye exam until this dispute is resolved as NIHB cannot legally pay for a provincially insured (OHIP) service.
If you are an NFN member and your Optometrist or Eye Doctor has opted out of the OHIP program, please contact Nipissing First Nation Health Services and speak with Sue Commanda, NIHB Coordinator at (705) 753-3312 (ext. 2233) to inquire about coverage under the Medical Health Fund. You may also reach Sue by email at
  • Community Health Nurse
    • Carole Lafantaisie - 705-753-3312 ext. 2257 or 705-840-8830 (cell)  |
  • Right Path Essential Client Services
    • Phone-in appointments - 705-753-1375
    • Overdose Prevention Line 1-888-853-8542
Harm Reduction Services (needle exchange and naloxone kits) are available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm at 316 Ted Commanda Drive, Garden Village.  Knock at the door and someone will assist OR call Lisa at (705) 753-1375 and leave a message on the general voice mail and arrangements will be made to get your order to you.  You can also reach us by email:
The Suboxone Clinic is located at 58 Semo Road (Lawrence Commanda Health Centre) Monday to Friday from 8:30am - 4:30pm. You can also call 705-753-1375 to make pick-up or delivery arrangements. New referrals and self-referrals are welcome.  Client transportation is available.
  • Essential Client Transportation
    • Home and Community Care - 705-753-3312
      • Driver – Allan Penasse, HCC Cell # (705) 499-5921
  • Medical Transportation
    • Driver – Eleanor McLeod, MT Cell # (705) 477-5143
    •  Until further notice, only one household (same address) is permitted in vehicle per trip.
  • Community Transportation Services:
    • Driver Cell # (705) 840-8850
    • Services available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and are limited to one trip per week per household (same address), and limited to one (1) grocery store, one (1) pharmacy and one (1) bank per trip.
IMPORTANT NOTE:   Medical transportation will transport anyone with symptoms such as cough or fever with a surgical mask.  HCC and Community Transportation Services have to refuse anyone with symptoms and report to their supervisor as these are not medical trips. Please click HERE to read the notice about transportation services, including the safety measures that will be in place.
Non-Insured Health Benefits Q&A Document NIHB & COVID-19 Chiefs of Ontario Update


  • Carole Lafantaisie, Community Health Nurse – COVID-19/Pandemic Response 705-753-3312 ext. 2257 or 705-840-8830 (cell)  |
  • Kimberly Lalonde, Director of Health Services 705-753-3312 ext. 2223  |

Food Bank Services

Access days are the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month.  Click HERE to visit the Food Bank page for the current month's order form. Deadline is Tuesday at 4:00pm prior to each access day. Food Bank clients are limited to ordering TWICE per month.  Click HERE for information about changes to Access Days that are effective March 2021. For more information, call 705-753-6972 (leave a message) or send an email to * If you are not a current Food Bank client and would like to see if you qualify, please call 705-753-6972 or read the Food Bank Policy to learn more about eligibility requirements.

Other Social Services

  • Ojibway Women’s Lodge 705-472-3321 (emergency), 705-472-0233 (crisis support) or 705-472-7828 (inquiries)
  • Ontario Works Ginger Penasse, Ontario Works Supervisor 705-753-2050 ext. 1324
  • Child Welfare (Emergency) Wendy Lariviere, Band Representative Program Manager 705-753-2691
  • True Self Debwewendizwin 705-477-4043 for Administration inquiries or 705-494-0743 for General Information and for a call back from staff for Support Services or Peer Support

Garbage & Bi-Weekly Recycling Collection:

Garbage is collected every week on Mondays, and Recycling is collected every two weeks on Tuesdays. Please note that Monday, May 24th is Victoria Day.  Garbage collection is moved to Tuesday, May 25th and recycling will be picked up on Wednesday, May 26th.
2021 Spring Clean-Up Days Schedule:
  • Wednesday, May 19th – Garden Village, Veterans Lane, and Mosquito Creek area.
  • Thursday, May 20th – Jocko Point and Area.
  • Friday, May 21st – Yellek and Duchesnay area.
Please click HERE for more information.
To help protect the safety of workers, please put all garbage in bags before placing it in your bin.  NO LOOSE GARBAGE will be accepted.

Landfill Operations:

Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday from 9am to 5pm Please note that Monday, May 24th is Victoria Day and the Landfill will be closed. Download the NFN Waste App for Apple or Android and never miss garbage day again!  More details: Garbage & Recycling » Nipissing First Nation (

Other Services:

  • Building Maintenance & Disinfection
  • Road maintenance
  • Waste Management
  • Water & Wastewater Treatment


  • Steve Doucette, Public Works Manager 705-753-4167 ext. 4001 or 705-840-3626 (cell) |
While our offices remain closed to the public, our payment options are as follows:
  1. Sending a cheque in the mail (36 Semo Road, Garden Village ON  P2B 3K2)
  2. Providing us with a void cheque to do a Pre-Authorized payment
  3. Providing us with a credit card/Visa debit (including Expiry and 3 digits on the back)
  4. Interac e-Transfer – see details below  *NEW*
We now accept Interac e-Transfers (EMT) from banking institutions that allow auto-deposits.  Please note that some banks (mainly credit unions such as Caisse Populaire) require a password for EMTs and we cannot accept these transfers - we can only accept auto-deposits. All EMTs should be sent to and include a message.  You MUST provide your email address and payment details using the Message option at the time of sending the EMT from your bank account (see below examples).  Otherwise, we may not be able to credit the appropriate account, or trace the payment back to you to clarify what it is for. It's encouraged to include your Customer Number (CUST#) in the message, this can be found on invoices/statements and receipts - usually beginning with a JP or B for lease payments.
Messages options:
  1. Rent
  2. Loan
  3. Land Lease
  4. Natural Gas
  5. Daycare – indicate which daycare
  6. Hall Rental – date of event
  7. Workshop – must provide name and date of event
  8. Fundraising/Donations (Specify the fundraiser payment i.e. LNHL fundraiser/sale)
  9. Other – (Specify what payment is for – i.e. Good Food Box payment)
All payment information and questions should be directed to

Student Bussing & School Reopening Plans

Other Helpful Information

Updates & Notices

COVID-19 Support for Post-Secondary Students - The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of $1,250 for each 4-week period OR $2,000 for each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability.  Learn more about the benefit and how to apply here:


  • COVID-19: Support for people - Learn what financial, mental health and other supports are available in Ontario during COVID-19.
  • Anishinabek Nation Community Assistance Program - The Anishinabek Nation, in partnership with WP Financial (funded by Indigenous Affairs Ontario), has launched a Community Assistance Program for citizens from each of the 39 Anishinabek First Nations.
This program offers citizens (both on and off-reserve) with access to support for challenges such as (but not limited to), relationship concerns, family or parenting issues, anxiety, depression, addictions, grief, coping with health issues, work-related challenges, etc.   Citizens who wish to access this program can either talk to someone immediately, or schedule an appointment when it is convenient for them.  Appointments can take place over the telephone, online using video conferencing, or in-person where and when available. This is a free service for citizens of the Anishinabek Nation.  To speak to someone in confidence, for crisis services (24 hours a day) or to book an appointment, call 1-800-663-1142.
Resources from Giyak Moseng (Right Path) Counselling and Prevention Services: A reminder that the Right Path is maintaining Essential Client Services (phone-in appointments).  For more information, please call 705-753-1375 and leave a message. Harm reduction supplies (needle exchange) can be picked up at the Right Path (316 Ted Commanda Drive) by calling 705-753-1375 to arrange for pick up.  You can also drop-in at the door and pick up supplies if calling is not an option.  If you live outside of Garden Village, supplies can be ordered and delivered by calling the office at 705-753-1375.
Other Resources:
  • Mental Health & the COVID-19 Pandemic:  This site is designed to provide information and suggestions about how best to cope in this difficult time. It is not intended to be a resource for people who require screening for COVID-19 or are experiencing a mental health crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact 911 immediately or present to your nearest emergency department. For up-to-date information about Ontario’s COVID-19 response, please visit the provincial government's COVID-19 information page
Please call our Administration Office at 705-753-2050 or contact one of the following individuals:
  • Chief Scott McLeod 705-498-7599 (cell)
  • Brendan Huston, Chief Executive Officer 705-498-0889 (cell)
  • Melvin McLeod, Emergency Services Manager 705-493-6508 (cell)
  • Freda Martel, Director of Administration 705-471-4172 (cell)
  • Gen Couchie, Communications Officer 705-498-2507 (cell)
  • NFN Rental Housing Emergency Repairs/Maintenance 705-477-1586 (cell)
To contact staff by email, please visit our Contact Us page.

Chi-Miigwech to everyone for your patience and diligence during these difficult and unprecedented times.  Please pay close attention to public health information and stay safe and healthy.

We all play an important role to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and self-isolation are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.  Stay informed with updates from reputable sources, such as the health officials listed below.

Current Status of Cases

Public Health Information

Nipissing Parry Sound District Health Unit News:

For status updates:

Everyone can take simple precautions to stay healthy and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid unnecessary outings and practice physical distancing if you must go out - this means putting distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community (this is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick)
  • Clean high touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach
  • Self-monitor and if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share your recent travel history with your health care provider
  • If you need to self-isolate, please follow the advice from your healthcare provider.
  • Know the Difference: Self-monitoring, self-isolation and isolation for COVID-19
Take a few simple, practical steps to prepare yourself and your household.  Here are some tips to help you and your family stay healthy.  For more information, visit

Non-medical Masks

Non-medical masks help to contain droplets of those wearing them and are meant to keep people without COVID-19 symptoms from unknowingly infecting others.   They are not intended for use by people with symptoms such as cough, fever or body aches. Always wash your hands before putting on a mask, after taking it off and wash the mask between each use or discard it and use a new one.  Turning the mask inside out to use again is not recommended.  Avoid touching your face including your eyes while wearing it. When you must leave home, adhere to a 6 feet (2m) physical distance from others as just wearing a non-medical mask will not stop COVID-19. The best prevention is to stay home, avoid non-essential trips and frequent hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water.


Individuals are encouraged to call their health care provider, NFN Health Services or the Health Unit if they believe they may have or been exposed to COVID-19.  An assessment for COVID-19 will be done by a primary health care provider, they will then decide if a test for COVID-19 is required. Considerations include an individual with a fever – over 38 degrees Celsius – and/or a cough and any of the following exposures within 14 days prior to onset of illness: 
  • Travelled outside of Canada or 
  • Was in close contact with a confirmed or possible case of COVID-19 (determined by a health care professional) or 
  • Was in close contact with a person who has been to an impacted area and has breathing issues (acute respiratory illness) 
Once a specimen is taken, it is transported to one of four labs in the province for testing.  The current turnaround time for test results is approximately 2-4 business days from when the specimen is received by the laboratory. You will only receive a call if you test positive for COVID-19.   After you have been tested for , you can access your test results online. People with mild symptoms may be asked to self-isolate and care for themselves at home.

VIDEO:  COVID-19: Testing & Care in First Nations Communities (Indigenous Services Canada)

Assessment Centres

Residents who have symptoms or are concerned about a possible exposure to a positive case of COVID-19 are advised to get tested.  If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, you should call 911 and mention your symptoms. If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care or contact NFN’s Community Health Nurse at 705-840-8830 for more information. If you get tested for COVID-19, you and everyone else you live with must stay home until you have results.  Do not go to work or school or visit anyone if you have symptoms. 
  • North Bay Regional Health Centre – 50 College Drive, North Bay Appointment Required – Call 705-474-8600 ext. 4110 - Open 9am to 5pm (7 days a week) Assessment Centre is in parking lot #9 for symptomatic patients or children 8 & under Drive thru options available near Emergency entrance available for asymptomatic people
  • West Nipissing Assessment Centre – 219 O’Hara Street, Sturgeon Falls (Community Complex) Appointment Required – Call 705-580-2186 - Open 12pm to 4pm (Monday to Friday)

Note about Assessment Centres – as of September 25th, new testing guidelines are in place and Ontarians are asked to go to Assessment Centres only if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to a confirmed case (as informed by the Public Health Unit or the COVID-19 Alert App), are a resident or worker in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak (as identified and informed by the Public Health Unit), or are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the MOH or MLTC).


Symptoms of COVID-19 positive cases have ranged from mild to severe.  The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Call 911 if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
  • severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words)
  • severe chest pain (constant tightness or crushing sensation)
  • feeling confused or unsure of where you are
  • losing consciousness
The situation continues to change rapidly.  The most recent updates are available on the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit's website: View the current list of symptoms from the Ontario Ministry of Health (updated September 21, 2020), or visit the COVID-19 Stop the Spread website to learn more about what you need to do to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, how to self-isolate if you’ve been exposed and how to care for someone with coronavirus (COVID-19).. COVID-19 Online School Screening Tool (or click HERE to download the PDF version)

For more information:

  • Telehealth Ontario for medical advice at 1-866-797-0000
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808 ext. 5229
  • Your primary health care provider (i.e. Family Doctor)
Take a self-assessment test here:

Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, using this self-assessment tool can help you determine if you need to seek further care. Children attending school or child care centres should use the COVID-19 Online School Screening Tool (or click HERE to download the PDF version). You can also visit Dial-a-Doc to submit an online request and get a callback from a Doctor within 24 hours.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, contact:

  • Telehealth Ontario for medical advice at 1-866-797-0000
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808 ext. 5229
  • Your primary health care provider (i.e. Family Doctor)
  • If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.  Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

Assessment Centres

West Nipissing Assessment Centre – by appointment only Open 10am – 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday Phone:  705-580-2186
North Bay Regional Health Centre – by appointment only 2 Options:  Assessment Centre at west end of NBRHC in parking lot #9 – for symptomatic patients or children 8 years & under, and a new drive-thru option for asymptomatic testing at west entrance. 705-474-8600 ext. 4110


  • Telehealth Ontario for medical advice at 1-866-797-0000
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808 ext. 5229
  • Your primary health care provider (i.e. Family Doctor)

Carole Lafantaisie, Community Health Nurse
705-840-8830 (cell)  |

Kimberly Lalonde, Director of Health Services
705-753-3312 ext. 2223 |

Support for People & Businesses