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Matawa First Nations Management Launches 211 directory to Support formerly Incarcerated

Press Release

March 27, 2024

THUNDER BAY, ON – Today, Matawa First Nations Management launched the New Beginnings directory to help people leaving custody access the supports and services needed for successful reintegration.

“Too often people released from correctional facilities lack access to the support they need to ensure they proceed on the right path. We created this directory to make it easier for recently incarcerated people to find what they need at a time when it can make a difference,” said Matawa CEO David Paul Achneepineskum.

The online directory was developed in response to the need for up-to-date information about where recently incarcerated people can access food, shelter, and services like mental health and addictions treatment in northwestern Ontario.

New Beginnings directory was developed by Matawa in collaboration with 211 North, a program of the Lakehead Social Planning Council, the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC), and Birchwood Consulting.

“The IPHCC is excited about the launch of New Beginnings directory because we understand the challenges individuals face when being released from correctional facilities. Their journeys are challenging, and they face so many barriers to a new path, and so we hope this resource will help simplify the process and help them find the services they need when they need them,” said Curtis Hildebrant, Senior Advisor, Health System Strategy with the IPHCC.

Over 14 months starting in October 2022, the team held three focus groups with formerly incarcerated people and dozens of meetings with regional service providers to inform the design of the directory.  This work led to the identification of 12 categories noted as crucial supports for people leaving incarceration. The directory provides the latest information about resources and service providers across the region and can be updated easily based on feedback from users. The New Beginnings directory is available online at

About the partners:

Established in 1988, Matawa First Nations Management (MFNM) is a non-profit Tribal Council that provides advisory services and program delivery to nine First Nations in northern Ontario.

211 provides free, confidential, multilingual access to information and referrals to the full range of social, health and government services.

The Indigenous Primary Health Care Council is an Indigenous governed, culture-based, and Indigenous-informed organization. Its key mandate is to support the advancement and evolution of Indigenous primary health care services throughout Ontario.

Birchwood Consulting is a boutique consulting firm serving clients in the health and social service sectors and beyond.

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For more information, please contact Charnel Anderson, Communications Generalist – Matawa First Nations at (807) 621-9405 or by email at


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