SLFNHA Services Update

Nodin Child and Family Intervention Services

Nodin Child and Family Intervention Services (Nodin CFI) still operates during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing mental health services either by phone/Ontario Telemedicine Network or in-person counselling at our main office. Most of our staff started tele-working effective March 23, 2020 while a selected amount remain at the worksite. Below details each of Nodin’s services and how they are supporting clients and communities during this time. 

There are changes in this update, for example, the phone numbers, therefore please disregard any previous documents sent out re: Nodin CFI.

Main Reception 

Nodin’s main reception continues to operate, connecting callers to services and staff. The number for reception is 807-737-4011 and toll-free number is 1-800-446-7863.

Intake Service

Intake continues to operate and receiving referrals, including self-referrals.  Fax referrals to 807-737-7532 and/or if you have questions or are self-referring please call Linda Chikane-Chapman, Intake Manager, at 807-737-6142. Referrals can be found on SLFNHA's website and/or calling the Intake Manager.

Outpatient Mental Health Service

Nodin runs a Sioux Lookout based Outpatient Mental Health Service (OMHS).  This is only a short-term, week-long service for those demonstrating high-risk behaviours causing harm or risk of harm to self/others. A multi-disciplinary team provides intensive counselling, crisis intervention, psychoeducation, safety and discharge planning. The normal practice has been, after receiving referrals, to arrange for individuals to travel from communities to Sioux Lookout to attend OMHS and/or to see individuals of a more critical nature from SLMHC following a Medi-Vac and ER assessment. This has temporarily changed due to the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic:

  1. OMHS is no longer arranging for individuals to travel from communities to Sioux Lookout to attend the service.
  2. OMHS counsellors have been instead connecting with individuals on the pending list to offer intermediate short-term phone/OTN support until we can  resume normal practice.
  3. Psychologists and Expressive Arts Therapists are connecting to clients by phone/OTN.
  4. OMHS are continuing to accept referrals from Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre following a Med-Vac and ER assessment.
  5.  In the interim OMHS are also accepting referrals from the Sioux Lookout Northern Clinic if an individual has mental health needs that must be addressed and cannot be put on a waitlist.
  6. Individuals accepted into OMHS from the hospital/northern clinic are seen for counselling at our main office in Sioux Lookout.

If you have any questions regarding new referrals to OMHS please contact our Intake Manager, Linda Chikane-Chapman at 807-737-6142.  If calling about a client you are aware is already attending OMHS, you can call Christine Morellato, Clinical Manager of OMHS, at 807-737-6141.

Crisis Response Program

This program provides crisis intervention and support to immediate families impacted by tragic incidents occurring within their family unit (e.g. suicide, homicide, tragic accidents etc.), and other community members as requested.  Usual practice has been to send volunteer crisis teams and crisis workers to communities upon community request.

This practice has changed until further notice.  No volunteer crisis teams will be sent to communities and contractual crisis workers will only be considered to go to communities if requests come directly from Chief and Council. We can also arrange for telephone counselling for those affected by tragedy upon request.

Our Crisis Response Program Supervisor and Coordinator can provide community Crisis Coordinators telephone support if requested, will continue to connect with partners (i.e. Tribal Councils) to offer additional support if requested, and will help with regional response team planning. 

Day (8:30-4:30 Mon-Fri)
If you have any questions or would like to arrange for support after a community tragedy/crisis please call Vicki Harnett, Crisis Response Program Supervisor, at 807-738-0653 (cell) during working hours 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
On-Call After Hours, Weekends and Stat Holidays
Monday to Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 24 hrs on the weekends and Statutory Holidays. Contact On-Call Worker at 807-737-9257 (cell) who reports to an On-Call Supervisor.

Nodin’s 24/7 Telephone Support Line: SOON TO BE LAUNCHED

In recognition of the increased anxiety and stress that this current time period has on all of us, and in the interest of responding to the needs of our community members, tribal and band councils, Nodin CFI  is announcing new temporary 24/7 Telephone Support Line for any individuals from the 33 communities served by Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority.

The Support Line will have a 1-800 number and we are waiting for this number to be activated.  During the day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, calls will be answered by our crisis response workers.  Calls will be answered by our On-Call Workers after hours/weekends and on stat holidays Monday to Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 24 hours on weekends and statutory holidays. 

This line will be open to callers experiencing a mental health and/or addictions issue crisis; who are feeling acute stress or worry due to the current pandemic situation; experiencing a situational crisis etc.  Anyone in need will be able to call.  We will release information on this line to communities and other partners once the 1-800 line is ready for calls.

Travelling Mental Health Workers

Usual practice has been for Mental Health Counsellors to travel into assigned communities to provide counselling.  Until further notice, due to the pandemic, we are not sending travelling counsellors to communities.  Instead, these counsellors are tele-working, and connecting with their clients to provide telephone/OTN counselling.  If a file is not open with us, a referral must be forwarded to intake.

Youth School Counsellors

Nodin has four Youth School Counsellors, two who provide counselling on site at Sioux North High School and two who provide counselling on site at Pelican Falls First Nations High School.  Due to both schools being closed, these counsellors are tele-working, and connecting with their clients to provide telephone/OTN counselling.  If a file is not open with us, a referral must be forwarded to intake.

Children’s Mental Health and Addictions Workers

Nodin has community-based Children’s Mental Health and Addiction Workers in only some of the communities.  Communities:  Kasabonika, Big Trout Lake, Pikangikum, Cat Lake, Aroland, Marten Falls, Fort Hope, Webequie.    Youth can receive telephone mental health services by contacting Intake Manager, Linda Chikane-Chapman, at 807-737-6142 and services will be promptly be assigned to the community-based workers.  All new referrals can be made by sending a referral by fax to our Nodin Intake department at 807-737-7532.


Nodin CFI On-Call Workers provide phone monitoring outside regular office hours for a period of seven days:  Monday to Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 24 hours on weekends and statutory holidays. On-Call does not provide one-on-one counselling in-office.  This service historically has only been available to clients currently attending the OMHS and communities to call to arrange support following a tragedy/crisis.

On-Call Workers respond to new referrals, including those of high-acuity, received outside regular office hours or on weekends and statutory holidays. However, it is important for referral sources to know that it is extremely challenging for on-call to locate individuals and often contact does not happen. 

For this reason, if the referring agent assesses the client to be high-risk, it is recommended that additional safety planning measures be put into place until confirmation of an appointment with a counsellor at Nodin is received.

For More Information call

Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Only

Linda Chikane-Chapman, Intake Manager


After Hours/ Weekends and Holidays

On-Call Worker

Cell:  807-737-9257

Traditional Healing

Our Traditional Coordinator, Tom Chisel, is tele-working. He will not be travelling to communities during this pandemic, nor will the contractual traditional healers under his supervision. Requests for traditional healing should still be forwarded to the Traditional Healing Coordinator, to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Tom may have ideas as to how to still support communities during this pandemic. Tom can be reached at 807-738-2556, or emailed at









COVID-19 Regional Response

Approaches to Community Wellbeing (ACW)’s Public Health Physician, Dr. Natalie Bocking, is coordinating SLFNHA’s COVID-19 Regional Response (CRRT). The Director of Approaches to Community Wellbeing is on that team, coordinating public health operations. Within public health operations we are supporting health promotion, public health tools and checklists to support program delivery and response at the community-level and supporting capacity around case and contact management of COVID-19.

This week we have been working on health promotion resources around parenting, mental wellbeing, and smoking. And we are working on collecting videos on how people are staying healthy and coping during this time of COVID-19 social/physical distancing. We will be sending up some additional print material this week, including a community wellbeing monitoring system which provides households with different colours of paper to identify their needs.

In addition to health promotion resources, we are also developing tools, checklists, and guidance documents to provide advice on how to respond to COVID-19.


This week, we revised infection prevention and control standards guidelines for assessment centres, quarantine centres, and isolation centres and hope to have them finalized next week. We are also working to finalize a tool on who should use PPE and a frequently asked questions document about COVID-19 testing.

Ongoing preparation is being done for if Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) approves SLFNHA’s request to take on case and contact management of COVID-19.

We are also preparing to visit additional communities to provide support in COVID-19 preparedness.

ACW staff are also working on the Planning Team of the COVID-19 response team supporting planning, surveillance, developing guidelines for how to set up alternate sites, and developing models for potential case numbers

Ongoing ACW Services 

Harm Reduction

While responding to COVID-19, ACW is maintaining our essential services. This includes ongoing harm reduction supply distribution (i.e. safe injection kits and naloxone). We are also still providing health promotion resources and have developed some resources specific to COVID-19. We are also supporting program direction and training, although are looking at virtual means to do this. This has included training DOT workers for suboxone programs. As this week is Earth Day, we are promoting how to safely pick up needles.

Roots for Community Wellbeing

We also continue to maintain the immunization repository by entering immunization data and answering calls for information about immunization status.

Preventing Infectious Diseases

We also continue to provide case and contact management support for tuberculosis.

Raising our Children

We continue to engage with youth workers and youth through email and the Anishinabe Youth Network

Developmental services currently have most staff working remotely from home. They are reaching out to families to cancel face-to-face sessions and providing services via phone and internet.

We are offering pediatric complex care coordination, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy - transitional age youth worker and adult developmental services via phone, OTN, PCVC and Zoom. Many families were already involved in this service model and it is continuing. There is some difficulty regarding bandwidth.

Our audiology, Northwestern Ontario Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder diagnostic clinic and autism diagnostic hub are on hold at this moment. We are still accepting referrals and contacting families, but assessments are not currently occurring. The staff are working on program projects, which include providing educational material for families and communities.

The Sioux Lookout Area Primary Care Team (SLAPCT) is continuing to provide limited health services. Many of the services are being supported through Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), Personal Computer Video Conferencing (PCVC) and telephone consultation. This includes services from our speech language pathologists, kinesiologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians, social workers, mental health specialists and case managers, who are all actively engaged with clients and still taking on new referrals being sent to our team.

Our nurse practitioners continue to support clients in both the Primary Care Team building at 55 Queen Street and the Northern Appointment Clinic. This support is provided either via limited face-to-face services or via telephone consultation.

We have revised our Psychiatry services to now be done either via OTN, PCVC or via telephone consultation, thus supporting physical distancing and supporting clients with self-isolation.

The Client Services Department is operating as usual; however, no visitors will be allowed access to the hostels. SLFNHA will be following social distancing guidelines in the hostels, transportation (with a dedicated van for self isolation cases) and food services.

  • A COVID-19 Screening Process upon arrival to the hostels has been implemented.
  • Hand-washing stations are implemented with increased signage for handwashing, sneezing/coughing, and precautions to follow.
  • Gloves and masks are available in all guestrooms.
  • The domestic kitchen is closed with restricted access for infection control. A breakfast menu is being implemented and other food services are delivered to guest rooms.
  • Clients are to report any sudden illnesses related to COVID-19.


  • Implemented one wing for self isolation and one wing for quarantine (COVID-19 clients).
  • Corridors, connecting link to hospital are closed
  •  On the lower level, we have placed prenatal, dialysis and other clients who need to stay close to the hospital.

Physicians services are continuing within the region. Within the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), physicians continue with essential services in the ER, inpatient care, obstetrics, and Day Medicine. All non-essential outpatient appointments located at SLMHC have been discontinued. COVID- 19 pathways have been developed and implemented in the flow of work.

Physicians continue to support all northern communities, through phone and telehealth support. In community services from physicians, continue in consultation with community leadership, nursing, the physician and the SLFNHA Medical Director. Support staff continue to be the link between physicians, nursing stations, allied services, and patients. This is being done both on and off location. Screening processes for physicians, nurses, staff, and essential patient encounters are in place at all locations

The Northern Clinic is operating as usual, with the following restrictions:

  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Escorts are asked to wait outside of the clinic (Social Distancing guidelines)
  • Clients will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 (not to be alarmed all clinics have implemented the screening process to stop the spread of COVID-19)

Clients requiring an appointment/contact with their family physician are asked to call the Northern Clinic, where they will be assessed. They would then be provided with a phone consult appointment, telehealth appointment or potentially on-site appointment with their physician or nurse practitioner.

Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority Update – COVID-19

March 29, 2020 -  SLFNHA Services Update [PDF]


March 25, 2020

Every province and community across Canada is affected by COVID-19 at this time, especially in healthcare. At the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA), steps have been taken in response to COVID-19 to protect clients, staff, and the 33 First Nation communities we serve.   


SLFNHA has created the COVID-19 Regional Response Team (CRRT) in partnership with the Independent First Nations Alliance (IFNA) to ensure that the critical support required is brought to all the First Nation communities we serve.   

SLFNHA’s responsibility within the CRRT will focus on the health services needs at the community level. While IFNA will look at emergency response infrastructure for necessities such as food and water.

The CRRT will ensure communication between itself and the tribal councils and the community leadership will remain frequent and provide updates on their progress in the five identified areas of coordination: Health Care Operations, Public Health Operations, Planning, Logistics and Administration and Finance.   One of the primary goals of this CRRT team is to improve communication between communities and provide advice and support as it relates to the COVID 19 crisis.  The CRRT will continue to keep First Nation community members updated on their activities.


Through conversations with Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) we are asking our community leaders for their cooperation regarding client escorts. The following points are important for all community members traveling to Sioux Lookout for their healthcare needs:

  • Able-bodied clients travel that can proceed without an escort at this time are asked to do so to ensure we minimize the number of community members travelling back and forth between communities and larger urban centres
  • Clients with language barriers are asked to utilize SLMHC’s interpreter services at this time

These are extraordinary circumstances, and this request is being made to assist in safeguarding our communities and doing everything we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We also would like to update you on the following information:

  • Two wings within Jeremiah McKay Kabayshewekamik 1 (JMK1) have been cleared and are now designated for self-isolation.  The number of people currently using these facilities are low but JMK1 is preparing just in case we see COVID 19 reach our communities.
  • A contingency plan to assist the hostel if/when they face extraordinary circumstances is currently in development. More details regarding this plan will be shared when they are available.


We are working to get as much personal protection equipment up to communities as possible.  Unfortunately, it has been difficult to get supplies but we expect to have more and more supplies shipped up to communities in the near future. 

During this time, we know it is important to stay informed and get accurate and up-to-date information. We encourage our community members to visit these following websites:



March 17, 2019

Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) has been busy responding to the emerging risks of COVID-19. Last week, SLFNHA’s staff have been working to come up with recommendations to keep residents who reside in 33 remote First Nation communities safe.  

Assisting our Communities 

SLFNHA has reached out to First Nation leaders to offer expanded supports. We are doing the following: 

  • Holding regular teleconference meetings with the following: 
    • Nishinawbe Aski Nation
    • Chiefs Committee on Health 
    • SLFNHA Board of Directors 
  •  Providing health promotion materials for each community 
  • Not allowing visitors at our hostels
  • Assisting with personal protection equipment assessments 
  • Placing and coordinating bulk orders for cleaning and hygiene supplies 
  • Providing support in updating community pandemic plans. 
  • Developing practical tools and checklists to ensure each community is prepared. 
  • Providing updates via social media when new information arises 
  • Broadcasting information updates on Wawatay Radio at 1 p.m. CST all week long 

Assisting our Employees 

To ensure we can effectively support our communities, we are also working to ensure the safety of our 300+ employees by: 

  • Establishing an Internal Response Team who meets daily via teleconference 
  • Canceling all training, events, workshops, and non-essential travel. 
  • Creating new policies to for the potential of 14-day isolation of employees. 
  • Encouraging employees to work from home if they can.  
  • Educating all essential employees, who work closely with clients, on the symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Ensuring Staff are being sent home if they are experiencing any of the symptoms. 
  • Reviewing infection prevention and control for all SLFNHA sites that host clients, our hostels, Clinics etc. 


We are advising everyone to practice the following: 


  • Wash your hands with soap and water (pre-boil water regularly if needed) or use alcohol based hand sanitizer
  •  Sneeze or cough into your elbow (not your hands) 
  •  Avoid touching your face 
  • Avoid contact with people. This may mean canceling family get-togethers like birthdays, or other celebrations. 
    • Arrange for food delivery within your community if possible 

Next Steps 

SLFNHA is working towards providing regular updates and encouraging everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of the virus by following the steps provided. The situation is being taken very seriously by all levels of government and so far there is only one confirmed case of COVID-19 within Northwestern Ontario.

For the most up-to date information on COVID-19, visit