Norway House Cree Nation (NHCN) and Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and Sagkeeng First Nation partner in new multi-million dollar health based joint ventures

January 7, 2014

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF), and Norway House Cree Nation (NHCN) applaud the Province of Manitoba for their forward thinking in enhancing the Pharmacy Act to expand on pharmacy services and announced today their new economic partnership between The Metis Economic Development Organization (MEDO), as the crown corporation of the (MMF), and Kinosao Sipi Business Development Corporation (KSBDC), the economic development wing of NHCN. Also in attendance and signing an MOU with the MMF focused on working

together to pursue economic and business opportunities in the pharmacy service sector was Sagkeeng First Nation, Chief Donavan Fontaine.

This joint venture is premised on a community-owned business model, similar to the Metis owned MEDO Care Pharmacy located at 150 Henry Avenue, which will create better health outcomes, shared revenue, employment opportunities for First Nation and Metis communities and will ultimately build capacity in the area of health and transportation in northern Manitoba.

Close to 5,800 NHCN members live on-reserve, while over 1,700 live off-reserve, many in urban settings. Norway House Cree Nation members living off-reserve, and those transported into Winnipeg for medical treatment will also have access to MEDO Care Pharmacy and its services.

"This visionary partnership exemplifies how our two nations can work together to achieve our collective goals,” explained Norway House Cree Nation Chief Ron Evans. “Together we have identified how we can be proactive in improving the health of our communities and secure economic sustainability while addressing many of the social and economic challenges faced by both First Nation and Metis communities in the north. By aligning our interests, we are also creating opportunities for better health outcomes, the provision of health services, capacity building and financial solutions that will ultimately benefit us all in the decades to come.”

“This is both a ground breaking and land mark opportunity that will greatly benefit all parties involved,” said MMF President David Chartrand. “We have taken a great step with the MMF working hand-in-hand with Norway House in working towards financial sustainability for both our peoples. Not only does this partnership focus on our two nations combined purchasing power, but we are giving back to the community economically and creating employment opportunities.”

Representing the people of  Sagkeeng First Nation, Chief Donavan Fontaine described the agreement in the following way, "The pharmaceutical industry has done well in Manitoba. A major user of the products (drugs) is the Aboriginal people due to our socio-economic challenges which ultimately impacts the health of our people. One way to address these challenges is through economic development initiatives such as this partnership with our Cree and Metis brothers and sisters".

Speaking on behalf of MEDO Care Pharmacy, Metis Economic Development Organization CEO, Blake Russell explained, “The First Nations and Metis communities combined are the largest consumer market in Manitoba. This partnership is creating a stronger move forward and strengthens our goal of  " for benefit " enterprises and MEDO Care Pharmacy is focused on creating additional community based pharmacy partnerships. Communities working together on a variety of economic pursuits will create success on many levels. This has been the genesis for creating the MEDO structure.”

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