An update on MNO finances

Setting an example of fiscal responsibility

By: MNO President Gary Lipinski

Finance graph

One of the most important things we can do for future generations is to leave a legacy of a strong financially solvent Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO). Leaving behind a financially sound MNO will help ensure that generations to come are able to continue and build upon our work to advance the interests of and for Métis citizens in Ontario.

In 2008, we were in a serious financial situation and on the verge of bankruptcy. MNO’s debt from the years 1999 through 2008 had accumulated to some $4.6 million. That level of debt was not sustainable and seriously endangered the MNO’s ability to continue working for future generations.

Instead of placing blame, we accepted responsibility. We made a commitment to address the MNO’s financial situation by creating a stronger financial plan to ensure deficits became a thing of the past. We wanted to build a solid foundation for our children.

In 2009 we doubled the size of our Financial Branch in order to effectively manage all necessary reporting and tracking.  Together, we set a goal to be completely debt-free and collectively our efforts and sacrifices over the last few years have brought us much closer to this goal.

As part of our goal we implemented an action plan throughout all levels of MNO. This plan put in place strong financial management processes, increased transparency and effective checks and balances. Stringent financial policies and procedures were implemented and have led to increased credibility in the eyes of our funding partners.  We developed budgets, spent funds where they were supposed to be spent according to contribution agreements, and did not initiate activities where there was no budget to support it.

Today, I am pleased to report that our efforts have made tremendous progress. In only four years we have reduced the MNO’s debt by roughly 70 per cent. As of March 31, 2013 the MNO’s debt repayable has decreased to $1.4 million.

The MNO has been able to completely pay off its Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) debt. The amount owing to CRA was originally $2.1 million, this debt as of March 31, 2013 has been completely paid off. The repayment of this debt took only three years instead of the estimated 11.5 years originally planned, eight and a half years ahead of schedule.

The MNO has additionally significantly reduced its debts owing to Service Canada and Ontario for the Employer Health Tax (EHT).

The amount originally owing to Service Canada in 2008 was $1.5 million and an estimated 24 years for repayment, but as of March 31, 2013 this has been reduced to $1.06 million and only two and a half years left to repay.

The amount owing to EHT was originally $735,000 in 2008, as of March 2013 it has been reduced to $144,000.

It is our collective sacrifices and strict discipline over the last few years that have made these results achievable. We are one step closer to our vision of a debt-free MNO.

We must continue this progress so that generations to come can build upon a solid foundation and continue moving forward without the burden of a large debt. One day soon, this new reality will allow for increased focus on providing additional supports to issues that are most important to our citizens!