MNO and University of Sudbury sign historic Memorandum of Understanding

MNO welcomes the creation of Centre Louis-Riel at Collège Boréal

U of SudburyU of Sudbury 2
(left) MNO Chair France Picotte speaking at the Signing of
the Memorandum of Understanding with the University of
Sudbury and (right) part of the ceremony opening the new
Centre Louis-Riel at Collège Boréal.
Sudbury, ON - November 18, 2010 --- Today at the University of Sudbury, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was signed by MNO Chair France Picotte and Dr. Pierre Zundel, President and Vice-chancellor of the University of Sudbury.  During the same day, Chair Picotte joined in celebrations the opening of the new Centre Louis-Riel within Collège Boréal in Sudbury.

The MOU the University of Sudbury will help to address the unique labour needs of Métis people in Ontario by increasing participation in, and access to, the University of Sudbury programs and services. “The University of Sudbury is the eighth post-secondary institution in the province,” explained MNO President Gary Lipinski, “to recognize and address the unique needs of Métis and to agree to work in partnership to ensure that programming offered at the University addresses those unique needs.”

“We are proud to have established this relationship with the MNO in order to better identify and operationalize educational opportunities for the Métis of this province” specifies Dr. Zundel. He further stipulates that “our tri-cultural and bilingual environment continues to influence our overall approach and makes this partnership a logical step forward.”

The MOU with the University of Sudbury is part of a process of building bilateral partnerships with post-secondary institutions that began with an earlier MOU signed between the MNO and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.  According to President Lipinski, “this MOU is a significant achievement for the Métis people in Ontario because it demonstrates a commitment to forge a lasting relationship between post-secondary institutions and the MNO Education and Training branch. Like all past MOUs, the agreement with the University of Sudbury builds on the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement, which the province signed with the MNO two years ago.”

“This momentous occasion,” stated Chair Picotte at the signing, who is also the MNO Education Portfolio holder, “as it provides us with the tools to work with in our efforts to improve Métis education in Ontario’s colleges and universities, as well as to provide supports for training and employment for our people.”

This MOU represents the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by PCMNO Regional Councillor Maurice Sarrazin and Sudbury Métis Community Council President Richard Sarrazin.  President Sarrazin explained, "It feels very good, seeing this kind of result from the many years of hard work by a lot of us here in Sudbury."  

The occasion also marks the establishment of a new Métis bursary for all Métis students meeting the requirements as set out by the University of Sudbury and the MNO.

Chair Picotte also celebrated, along with Collège Boréal President Denis Hebert, President Zundel and many members of the community, the opening of the Centre Louis-Riel in Collège Boréal.  Centre Louis-Riel is the first Métis Centre of its kind at a post-secondary institution in Ontario, and will be a special place that welcomes Métis students. "The Centre Louis-Riel is very important,” stated Chair Picotte, “This is the first Métis-specific centre at the Collège and in Ontario. The MNO is very pleased that our students will have this home away from home at the Collège."

Both the MOU and the opening of Centre Louis-Riel are a testament to the hard work going on to improve postsecondary education for Métis across Ontario. They represent the great strides made by the Sudbury Métis Council in cooperation with the MNO Education and Training Branch.

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