On May 30, 2023 a meeting of the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) was held in downtown Ottawa with elected MNO leadership, staff and citizens attending the session.
PCMNO were provided updates from staff on key files including developments in affordable housing initiatives; Self-Government and fiscal policies; and an in-camera discussion on the upcoming June 17 Special General Assembly.
MNO President Froh
National Level Update
In her opening remarks, President Froh commented on the continuing work with Métis Nation of Alberta and Métis Nation Saskatchewan to advance the Federal Recognition Legislation, including ongoing meetings with more than 100 Members of Parliament and Senators. Efforts are being made to expedite the process and set a date for the introduction of the Legislation.
Under the Permanent Bilateral Mechanism, MNO leadership will also be attending a Prime Ministers Summit to discuss other shared priorities, including policies in areas such as Emergency Management, health, language, education, and other key files.
Great efforts have also been made by staff and leadership to counter the recent negative media coverage disseminating from First Nations opposing the MNO’s self-government agreement; the MNO will respond by working with journalists and using informed and strong Métis voices as part of the MNO’s communication strategy.
Métis voices will continue to be highlighted at this year’s Métis cultural celebration, Back to Batoche, taking place from July 20-23 in Saskatchewan. Other celebrations, marking the historic anniversaries of both the MNO Secretariat and landmark Powley Decision are also being planned across MNO communities.
The MNO has participated in several engagement sessions concerning the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and is currently preparing submissions for the UNDRIP National Action Plan to be submitted to Canada.
Provincial Level Updates
MNO leadership remains committed to building out internal governing structures, working alongside regional communities in support of self-government work and fiscal capacities, including a recent PCMNO workshop held on Regional Bank Accounts.
President Froh also addressed Ontario’s proposed changes to the New Relationship Fund, which would vastly reduce the amount of funding received and consequently impact the level of support MNO communities receive through Lands, Resources and Consultations (LRC) branch. MNO leadership intends to challenge these proposed changes and seek resolution with relevant Ontario ministries.
Special General Assembly Logistics Update
Nina Newman, MNO Specialist, Events and Conferences
MNO staff presented on logistics and floor plans regarding the Special General Assembly to held at the Delta Toronto Airport and Conference Centre on Saturday, June 17.
Registration opened to citizens May 26. As of May 30, 530 delegates including MNO support staff will be attending. Attendees will be required to take a rapid antigen test prior to being admitted to the Assembly and masking and vaccination are strongly encouraged.
Resources including mental health supports and drop-in day care services will be available at the Assembly. PCMNO also discussed day-of logistics, including use of available spaces and registration policies.
Annual General Assembly (AGA) Update
Jennifer St. Germain, CSO and Nina Newman, MNO Specialist, Events and Conferences
PCMNO were provided with a list of records and decisions from previous AGAs, as well as an update on the 2023 Annual General Assembly to be held in Ottawa from August 17-20. MNO staff is currently working on pre-AGA meetings, contracting spaces for the event and canoe arrival, and planning entertainment.
Entertainment will include access to the Museum of Civilization, a visit to Mādahòkì Farm and the Spirit Horses, and a musical performance by Amanda Rheaume. PCMNO also identified a conflict regarding youth inclusion leading up to the Assembly and will be working on finding a solution to ensure the youth voice is represented and considered in future planning.
Housing and Infrastructure Updates
Joanne Meyer, COO, Cindi Rye, Director of Housing and Infrastructure and Amy Mersereau, Manager of Housing Initiatives
The MNO has consistently identified housing as a priority in many of its communities across the province, and is committed to reducing the incidences of core housing needs and increasing homeownership and rental opportunities for MNO citizens.
Currently, the MNO is investing in four communities considered to have urgent housing needs, including Midland, Kenora, Toronto, and Sault Ste. Marie. The MNO will continue to seek out additional funding sources to further advance affordable housing initiatives.
On May 30, 2023 the MNO Housing & Infrastructure branch provided PCMNO with an overview and update on the current housing projects and developments; including affordable housing initiatives in the General Toronto Area (GTA) and Sault Ste Marie.
The Humber – Toronto, ON
Consultants from NBLC presented PCMNO with a business plan for proposed rents for six new affordable housing units purchased in the Toronto area. The presentation covered methodologies for recommended rents, which considered the Toronto rental market, local market conditions and affordable rents based on Toronto incomes.
Initial rental rate recommendations include:
- $1,632 for two-bedroom units
- $2,042 for three-bedroom units
Sault Ste Marie, ON
A previously passed resolution (PC211124-11) had approved the acquisition of land and pre-purchased units in Sault Ste. Marie; and in May 2023, the MNO signed Agreements of Purchase and Sale for 20 units located at 349 St. Patrick Street. Currently, the MNO is closing on three of these rental units.
PCMNO also reviewed updates regarding the previously proposed condo corporation, a timeline for actions, a communications strategy, and next steps. These next steps include:
- a site inspection by Infinity Property Services
- rental applications going live on the MNO website
- a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate and promote the first-ever affordable rental units
MNO Office Renovations
Joanne Meyer, COO, and Stephen Burman, Infinity Property Services (IPS)
New infrastructure funds and similar funding agreements will allow the MNO to upgrade its current facilities; including renovations for offices and community spaces located in Fort Frances, Sault Ste Marie, Timmins, and Thunder Bay. The presentation from IPS included renovation status:
- Fort Frances – MNO offices and Community Centre (including a ramp)
- Sault Ste Marie – Council offices, Community Centre (Hall) and Museum
- Timmins – offices
- Thunder Bay – Community Centre, Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations
Regional Bank Account Update
Brian Black, Director of Self-Government Strategy, Michele Judd, Manager of Self-Government Fiscal Governance and Emily King, Legal Counsel
In June 2022, the PCMNO passed a resolution authorizing the MNO administration to establish MNO Regional Bank Accounts for interested regions. Since then, a series of workshops have been held with both regional leaders and the PCMNO to inform and respond to questions; including a recent meeting on Regional Fiscal Finance Agreement and Regional Bank Accounts.
Special General Assembly Update
Following an in-camera discussion, PCMNO came out of camera to pass a resolution regarding the upcoming Special General Assembly in June.
On April 28, 2023, the PCMNO officially called a one-day, in-person MNO special General Assembly to be held on June 17, 2023, to vote on a special resolution to amend the MNO Bylaws and MNO Registry Policy as well as adopt the Citizen Removal Appeals Policy.
It was previously directed that issues raised in the “Registry Review Citizen Consultations What We Heard Report”” relevant to the removal and appeal process outlined in the Special Resolution be considered and that the MNO administration work with legal counsel to identify “a consultant to provide administrative support during the appeal process” if the Special Resolution is ultimately adopted.
It was resolved that the PCMNO directs that:
- other matters referred to in the What We Heard Report, which fall outside the scope of the Registry Review process and the Special Resolution, be considered in future during the development of the Constitution and Métis laws; and
- the MNO administration retain Know History to act as the Appeal Administrator under the Appeals Policy, in the event that the Special Resolution is ultimately adopted