Message from the Vice President

Shawn Feely headshotOver the past year, the Canadian Red Cross team in Manitoba and Nunavut played an integral role in not only helping people during times of disaster but also in helping communities, groups and individuals throughout both jurisdictions become much more resilient and prepared for future challenges, thanks to hard work and collaboration.

I am incredibly proud of the Red Cross team and the work they do with people throughout Manitoba and Nunavut. Whether it is supporting people dealing with disasters, helping new Canadians learn more about how to stay safe, or instructing people on first aid, water safety and violence prevention, the Red Cross team does so with both passion and compassion.

Over this past year, the Canadian Red Cross has increased its focus on working closely with Indigenous communities throughout Manitoba and Nunavut. As part of that work, we proudly signed two major agreements in 2018 – a collaboration agreement with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and an agreement to work together with the Bear Clan Patrol, formalizing an existing arrangement.

Our emergency management team supported people in Manitoba and Nunavut dealing with large- and small-scale disasters. Our dedicated team supported more than 2,500 people evacuated from five different First Nations due to wildfires in 2018. Some of the evacuees were out of their homes for more than a month. I am very proud of this amazing team that was able to ensure the evacuees received the support they required over that time. The Red Cross provides disaster support to First Nations in Manitoba as part of an agreement with the federal government.

Our team has also done extensive work with First Nations in Manitoba to help them be prepared for potential disasters. Several First Nations have completed their emergency response plans with the support of the Canadian Red Cross, and more are working towards completion.

The emergency response team also helps people deal with small-scale disasters, such as house and apartment fires. Our team provides assistance, such as shelter and food, for the first 72 hours after such an incident. They responded to many different situations in both the province and the territory.

The Red Cross team has also responded throughout Manitoba and Nunavut to help communities during social emergencies. Social emergencies are community crises that are not natural disaster but can traumatically impact a community, such as multiple suicides or violence. This is not an easy role but our teams have provided support for communities in need by offering assistance, access to resources, help in providing support to the community and just being there to listen to people impacted by these situations.

In working with our training partners, the Canadian Red Cross continues to provide valuable first aid and swimming and water safety training to help ensure people are ready to aid someone in distress. This training can also help prevent injuries and death. As part of our training programs, the Red Cross is also ensuring that more people are receiving our psychological first aid training so they know how to take care of themselves if they are in mental distress and also how to identify if someone else is in such a situation.

In Manitoba, the Canadian Red Cross continues to provide valuable safety education to new Canadians through our SmartStart program. This program provides basic information on some things that newcomers may not be familiar with, including how to protect themselves from the effects of a Manitoba winter.

In February 2019, the Red Cross concluded another successful Canadian Red Cross Pink Day in Manitoba and Nunavut. While we are proud of the work we have done to promote bullying prevention, this was the final of year of the Red Cross co-ordinating the event. With the Red Cross transitioning our violence prevention work away from direct work with schools over the next few years, we will continue to support Pink Day for schools but not in the same leadership role we have taken since 2012.

I am proud of the incredible work we have done in both jurisdictions in providing bullying and abuse prevention and healthy relationships education to youths. This work will continue but with a greater focus on underserved communities, including Indigenous communities. This is a great opportunity for our dynamic violence prevention team to help many different communities to further grow their resilience.

Without donors and partners, the Canadian Red Cross could not provide the extensive support it provides in Manitoba and Nunavut in the areas of disaster response, emergency preparedness, and violence and injury prevention. Our supporters help ensure that people have help during times of crisis, and the tools to prevent injury and violence. Thank you to all of our incredible supporters.

Shawn Feely,
Vice-president, Manitoba and Nunavut, Canadian Red Cross

Manitoba 2018-2019 Report Back to Communities

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