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The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Union of Northern Workers are providing financial assistance in partnership with the United Way of the Northwest Territories to help those affected by flooding in the Dehcho region.

The UNW stated on May 12 that $60,000 of emergency relief will be directed to residents of Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River.

Funding will come from the PSAC Social Justice Fund, which employers throughout the North contribute to, including numerous UNW employees working for the City of Yellowknife, the Village of Fort Simpson, Fort Simpson Housing and the Town of Hay River.

Since 2003, the fund has been used for humanitarian relief, anti-poverty initiatives, international labour development and worker education.

Money will be directed to the United Way NWT to distribute to relief organizations to assist those most in need.

UNW president Todd Parsons stated that the Northern unions are aiming to help those in need during a period of great difficulty.

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“This is a time of upheaval for communities that are already feeling the weight of pandemic-fatigue,” said Parsons. “The residents of the affected areas are top of mind right now as we work with PSAC and the United Way NWT to provide financial aid to the organizations on the ground who can best assist those in need.”

Tracy St. Denis, chair of the United Way NWT, said her organization and the union have a longstanding partnership, and that the labour movement has been instrumental in helping when Northerners are in need.

“We also know that there are countless volunteers, organizations, companies and individuals who are already mobilizing assistance to the area; this funding and any other funding raised through this initiative will go directly to qualifying organizations who are best positioned to support those in need right now,” said St. Denis.

She added that the United Way has been directing funding to vulnerable groups over the course of the pandemic.

“We have a network of non-profits that we have assisted through COVID and we will reach out to non-profits as well as communities themselves as a best way to distribute funds as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” she said.

The United Way NWT anticipates further announcements in partnership with the private sector, she added. The organization also set up a Canada Helps web page on May 12 where people can donate money for qualifying programs and groups to assist with items such as clothing, shelter and food.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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