MNO Telephone Town Hall and PCMNO Meeting Recap
PCMNO Meeting | January 30-31, 2021
Telephone Town Hall | February 4, 2021
Over 100 participants from across the province took part in the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Telephone Town Hall with leadership on February 4, 2021. Led by Chairs Hank Rowlinson, Sharon Cadeau, and MNO President Margaret Froh, the call provided an update on the recent Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) meeting on January 30-31, 2021; and took questions from Town Hall attendees.
The first PCMNO meeting of the new year covered much ground, ranging from Covid-19 updates and vaccination roll out plans; to plans for future Annual General Assemblies (AGA); updates on self-government and internal work at the national, regional and community levels; financial reports and MNO branch briefings; the MNO Cultural Commission (MNO-CC) revitalization; and other recent developments on key areas.
President Margaret Froh commended the work being done by leadership at all levels to support Citizens throughout Covid-19; including new and enhanced programs and supports, and increased communications (such as the All Citizen Town Hall on January 21). Included in the Covid-19 response:
- Phase Two Covid-19 Funding includes
- Extension of MNO Emergency Income Relief Benefit
- Enhanced emergency child and family supports: Emergency Family Fund; Technology Fund; and Food Security for children
- MNO Food Security & Household Necessity Fund for Adults and Seniors
- A Community Wellbeing Fund was established in 2020 thanks to a $250K contribution from Nuclear Waste Management Organization. At this time, nearly $200K has been distributed to MNO communities.
- Phase Two Covid-19 Funding includes
President Froh also outlined the work occurring on the national level, including the recent Canada-Métis Nation Accord Permanent Bilateral Mechanism Senior Officials Meeting. An update was also provided about the ongoing lack of respect for governance responsibilities and bylaws that persists at the Métis National Council (MNC) level in spite of the repeated calls by the MNO, MNA and MN-S for meetings of the MNC Board of Governors, to set a date for an Assembly and hold a long overdue election. The update also included reference to reports being commissioned by the Manitoba Metis Federation effectively working to undermine the MNO’s Historic Métis Communities. President Froh encouraged leadership to direct citizens to the facts on these matters at https://www.metisnation.org/thefacts/.
The MNO continues building relationships and moving forward towards self-government to advance the rights of Ontario Métis. The PCMNO also spoke to the consideration of new portfolios (or Provincial Secretaries) in key areas such as: Citizenship; Métis Child Youth and Family Services; Economic Prosperity and Development; Early Learning Education; Employment and Training; and more.
MNO Annual General Assemblies (AGA) Recommendations
The AGA Planning Committee met in January to review the 2020 AGA Post-Event report (provided by Raincoast), to discuss next steps and recommendations for future AGAs –Including dates and venues.
The PCMNO agreed to move forward with a two-day Virtual 2021 AGA on September 18-19, 2021; which will incorporate more information updates, cultural events and workshops. It was proposed that the 2022 AGA be held in Toronto, subject to restrictions on gathering, on August 20-21, 2022. The dates and venues of future AGAs are still to be determined; however, once dates are decided, a call for Expressions of Interest will be issued to identify host communities.
The Secretary Treasurer reported on the Finance and Audit Committee recent meetings, the status of financial audits and budgeting processes, and the reimbursement of the New Relationship Fund (NRF) to Councils.
The report also highlighted the continuing efforts to both support and standardize the financial reporting process with Community Councils; and a resolution was passed to engage bookkeeping and accounting services to provide Councils with professional support compatible with MNO financial processes and procedures.
PCMNO reviewed and approved the reformatted draft Financial Policies and Procedures Manual, including approval for an updated Cash Management Strategy and Honorarium Policy, which provides for an increase in the eligible honorarium amount from $150 to $200. MNO administration is preparing additional communications to inform application.
MNO Branch Briefings and Updates
Following the update from PCMNO Secretary Treasurer, several MNO Branch Managers and Directors provided briefing reports and videos for review; and attended the PCMNO meeting for questions and discussion. Participating MNO Branches include:
- MNO Lands, Resources and Consultations
- MNO Registry
- MNO Healing & Wellness
- MNO Mental Health & Addictions
The PCMNO is also exploring ways to share branch briefing videos with the community to keep Citizens and leadership informed on the great work being done.
MNO Cultural Commission (MNO-CC) Reform
The MNO is currently in the process of revitalizing the MNO-CC, a registered charity, which functions primarily as a fundraising tool to support Métis arts and culture. Legal Counsel provided the PCMNO with updates and recommendations on the revision of bylaws to modernize the MNO-CC and membership criteria.
Nine Board of Directors were appointed to serve a three-year term, including: Margaret Froh; Sharon Cadeau; Natalie Durocher; France Picotte; Tim Pile; Jo Anne Young; Mitch Case; David Dusome; and Peter Rivers.
MNO Community Council Elections and Annual General Meetings (AGM)
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, new tools and resources are needed to aid MNO Community Councils in fulfilling their mandates, including holding yearly AGMS and elections. Community Relations is currently working with Councils to comply with bylaws and provide ongoing support. Virtual elections are expected to resume in March 2021.
PCMNO also reviewed the draft Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for appointing a Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to oversee and guide the elections process between now and next province-wide election. Look for the final draft of the EOI to be circulated to leadership and on the MNO website.
MNO Prosperity Trust Fund Update
Investment consultants from T.E. Wealth provided a year-end performance update on the MNO Prosperity Trust and investment holdings. Over the course of the last year and a half, the Trust increased by $2.7M despite the recession.
The Canada Trust Company “Trustee” provided an update and the PCMNO approved a new Investment Policy Statement for funds held in the Trust’s Second Generation Income Account (SGIA).
PCMNO also passed a resolution to retain the services of Mawer Investment Management Ltd. to invest funds held in the Trust’s SGIA and to execute the Statement of Investment Policies and Guidelines for investment of funds.
More information on the Prosperity Trust and plans to flow funds to communities will be addressed in the future.
MNO Covid-19 Vaccination Roll Out
Policies and plans for mobilizing Covid-19 vaccinations across Canada has been changing on a daily basis. The MNO is currently engaged in planning the vaccination roll out for Métis, who have been confirmed as recipients in phase one of the roll out. The PCMNO discussed:
- Ontario Hospitals and Public Health Units are offering vaccines in regions with highest rates of Covid-19. Pharmacies and mobile vaccination clinics also being considered
- MNO is working with Ontario so that non-Métis spouses would be eligible for vaccination
- Coordinating a communications strategy around the vaccine roll out
- MNO Citizens should update their contact information with MNO Registry Team 1-855-798-1006
Advance registration will be provided to the most vulnerable MNO Citizens, i.e. seniors aged 65 years of age and older, individuals at higher risk of COVID-19 infection, and who are immunocompromised
In partnership with ICES, a Covid-19 survey for MNO Citizens will be circulated to gauge community concerns and help prepare the MNO for the vaccination roll out.
Be sure to check the MNO website for future details.
MNO Self-Government Update
MNO Self-Government representatives and legal counsel provided the PCMNO with updates on self-government status and the MGRSA framework implementation; Interim Fiscal Financing Agreement (IFFA); United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) legislation; federal recognition legislation; and other legal updates.
As of January 31, Regional Implementation Agreements (RIA) have been signed with Regions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7. Work continues to engage regions and Citizens and communications strategies and materials are also being developed. Additional sessions are being planned with the PCMNO to go into further detail on the IFFA.
MNO Code of Conduct Update
Legal Counsel updated the PCMNO on the draft Code of Conduct, a document which will work to set the standard of behavior expected of leadership and Citizens; and would work to ensure a respectful, positive and productive governance environment. Discussions focused on:
- Overview of process for dispute and conflict resolutions and establishing a complaints-based process
- Creation of an Office of Ethics and Integrity, its mandate and possible models:
- Office led by Ethics and Integrity Commissioner
- Potential role of informal “Advisors”
- Complaints classification (e.g less serious, more serious, outside scope of Code)
The PCMNO addressed next steps, such as developing an interim policy, revising the draft Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest & Confidentiality policies.
MNO Citizens and leadership will continue to be engaged in the development.
MNO Registry Review Report
An update was provided on the final report of the MNO Registry Review. It was noted that the final report was nearing completion that as it has been reported previously is a good news story. The report proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the integrity and strength of the MNO Registry. Communication materials are being developed and a schedule planned for a follow up meeting with PCMNO and subsequent town hall discussion prior to the release of the report to consider the next steps.
Other Business, Appointment of Mike Harris to the Order of Ontario
A concern was raised about the appointment of former Ontario premier Mike Harris to the Order of Ontario; and outlined the grievances of the MNO and Citizens affected by his policies.
It was resolved that the PCMNO direct President Froh to:
- Write to Lieutenant Governor Dowdeswell and express the MNO’s extreme disappointment and condemnation of this appointment and call for an apology
- Offer “Métis 101 and Cultural Awareness” training to the Lieutenant Governor’s office staff and the Advisory Council associated with the Order of Ontario; and
- Encourage the Lieutenant Governor’s office to appoint people to the Order of Ontario who have made significant contributions to the Métis Nation of Ontario, to other Indigenous communities in Ontario and to reconciliation.
Upcoming Programs and Events
- K-12 Education Support Fund (New!) | Now open
- Métis Micro-Business Fund (New!) | Now open
- MNO Métis Child, Youth and Family Services Projects | Engagement Sessions 2021
- Finding Unity Through Negotiation: A self-government simulation for youth |February 13, 27-28, 2021
- MNO Diabetes Education Series (New!) |Eight-Series workshops begin February 17, 2021
- Speakers Series “Beyond Drugs: Understanding the Struggle, Helping the Healing | February 9, 2021
- Speakers Series “Métis Mental Health and Covid-19: Tools for Coping and Planning for Wellness” | February 16, 2021
- A Place in the Circle: Two-Spirit LGBTQ Leadership Symposium | February 20, 2021
- Ivèr: A Métis youth way of life workshop series | February 27, March 6-7, 21 2021
The MNO would like to remind all Citizens and leadership who may be struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic that supports are available. The MNO Mental Health & Addictions Program provides Citizens access to a wide range of free mental health and addictions services and supports for Métis youth and adults.
For confidential Mental Health and Addictions, financial and/or legal inquiries:
Children / Youth (0-17yrs): 613-217-3143
Adults (18 yrs and up): 705-929-4753 or MHA@metisnation.org
A 24hr Mental Health & Addictions Crisis Line: