MOU signing Dec 15Signatories to the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the MNO and the
Ministry of Education. From left: MNO Chair France Picotte, the Honourable Liz Sandals,
Minister of Education, and MNO President Gary Lipinski.
New Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry signed

On December 15, 2015, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ontario Ministry of Education. The signatories to the MOU were MNO President Gary Lipinski, MNO Chair France Picotte and the Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education.

An earlier MOU between the MNO and the Ministry of Education was signed during the 2009 MNO Annual General Assembly and was significant step toward achieving the overall objectives of the 2008 MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement. The first MOU was an outstanding success that supported key elements of the MNO’s K-12 education activities including providing funding for education staff, the development of the MNO’s highly demanded Métis Education Kits and the annual Infinite Reach March Break Camp. “Certainly,” said MNO President Gary Lipinski, “we have seen a much higher profile for Métis culture and heritage in the K-12 school system, since the signing of the original MOU in 2009.”

In 2014, the MNO and Ontario signed the second MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement that placed increased emphasis on programming for youth in order to ensure that Métis youth have the opportunity to be all they can be. The new MNO-Education Ministry MOU reflects the increased emphasis on youth as well as other aspects of the new Framework Agreement.”

“The new MOU strengthens further the existing bilateral processes between the MNO and the province,” said President Lipinski. “It will help enhance the capacity of the MNO and all Métis in the province because it recognizes the distinct identity and culture of the Métis people. The relationship between the MNO and the province will be strengthened by this commitment as gaps in student achievement across the province are reduced.”

The Ministry of Education promotes a strong, vibrant, publicly funded education system by focusing on four key goals as part of its renewed vision for education: achieving excellence, ensuring equity, promoting well-being and enhancing public confidence in our publicly funded schools.

“I am truly honoured to be a part of renewing the Memorandum of Understanding that will support the learning and achievement of Métis students and strengthen our relationships with the Métis Nation of Ontario. Our government is committed to ensuring that all students learn about the history and perspectives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Ontario. Today, we celebrate a wonderful chapter for the Métis Nation of Ontario and for the people of this province,” stated Minister Sandals.

Over the last few years, the Ministry of Education and the MNO have worked together to find ways of improving Métis educational outcomes and well-being consistent with the Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework.

“This signing enhances the Ontario Government’s collaborative relationship with the Métis Nation of Ontario by further promoting the distinct identity, culture and language of Métis citizens and the importance of these for education, learning and success,” said MNO Chair France Picotte.

The implementation of the MOU will be guided by a mutually agreeable work plan which identifies opportunities and partnerships to address the unique educational needs of Métis people in Ontario, reduces the gaps in Métis student achievement and student success, and, increases the confidence of Métis parents in the education system. That work plan will include regular meetings between the Minister of Education and MNO President, Gary Lipinski.

“The signing of this MOU strengthens the MNO’s longstanding partnerships in education and further demonstrates the value of working together. It is still more evidence of the commitment by the Government of Ontario to live up to the promise it made with the signing of the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement in November, 2008 and 2014,” added President Lipinski.

Published on: December 15, 2015