PCMNO Special Session
March 12, 2021
A special meeting of the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) was held Friday, March 12, 2021 in follow up to discussions raised at the previous meeting on February 26, 2021. The PCMNO, along with legal counsel, met to review key items pertaining to the MNO’s economic development, including the extension of the Métis Voyageur Development Fund (MVDF). In addition background and next steps were discussed on the matter of Resource Benefit Sharing (RBS), also known as Resource Revenue Sharing (RRS), with Ontario. The Government of Ontario describes RBS as “one of Ontario’s commitments to reconciliation and supports economic development opportunities to build healthy and prosperous communities across Ontario’s north.”
More information on Resource Benefit Sharing in Ontario is available online.
The President began her update by recognizing significant anniversaries, including the marking a year since the province entered a state of emergency due to Covid-19. The President also acknowledged the one-year anniversary of Otipemisiwak, of the first ever National Conference on Métis Self-Government, held in the National Capital Region alongside the Government of Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) and Métis Nation –Saskatchewan (MNS).
Since the previous PCMNO Meeting, the MNO Youth Council partnered with the Gordon Foundation to host a self-government simulation for Métis youth. A recap of the event is now available online.
National & Provincial Updates
- The MNO continues to work in collaboration with Metis Government Senior Officials and has developed a signed a Principles Agreement with MNS, MNA and Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) to guide and advance the Permanent Bilateral Mechanism (PBM) established under the Canada-Métis Nation Accord. To date the MMF and MNC have chosen to dismiss the document entirely.
- As the three Métis Governments that signed the Metis Government Recognition and Self Government Agreements, MNO President along with the Presidents of MNA and MN-S had a productive meeting with Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole in support of reconciliation, collaboration and advancing federal government recognition legislation
- An update was provided about a December 2020 report of the Ontario Auditor General Report on the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs Ontario (IAO) that was noticeably absent of Métis, the MNO and its recognized historic communities more generally and in fact made references that were contrary to the facts of history. Follow up is being planned with the Province of Ontario to outline these concerns, remind of MNO and Ontario’s longstanding relationship and set a path forward to renew and re-engage this relationship
- An update on self-government progress was provided, including internal capacity building and work to build capacity of staff to drive efforts on behalf of all communities and citizens as well as the hiring of regional specific support staff
MNO Economic Development Update
At the February PCMNO meeting, a resolution was passed to proceed to address the extension to the MVDF Contribution Agreement with Ontario, which was set to expire March 31.
However President Froh and others emphasized the need to revisit this resolution to ensure there was confidence in the next steps on this important matter. Hence a special meeting was called to provide the history and context of MNO’s experience with RBS/RRS, and more clarity around how and why MVDF factored into this history.
Métis Voyageur Development Fund & Resource Benefit Sharing
Legal counsel joined the PCMNO meeting to provide a high-level overview and background on MVDF and RBS.
A timeline of key events and strategic decisions made by the MNO was provided:
- In 2007, the Ipperwash Inquiry Reportrecommended that “the provincial government should continue to work with [Indigenous] organizations in Ontario to develop co-management arrangements and resource sharing initiatives (i.e RBS)”
- A Framework Agreement was signed in 2008 between the MNO and Ontario established a formal relationship committed to reconciliation and advancing Metis rights.
- in April 2009, Ontario affirmed its commitment to resource-benefits sharing (“RBS”) with Aboriginal communities by setting aside $30 million towards the initiative and the government also confirmed it was working with Aboriginal communities province-wide to discuss the potential elements of a plan for RBS
- As a part of the MNO’s economic development strategy, entitled, An Agenda for Self-Reliance and Sustainability, which was extensively consulted on, developed and approved by the MNO in 2010, the lack of a Métis-specific capital corporation and lending institution was identified as a priority for the MNO
- In 2011, based on the need for further collaborative work to be undertaken in relation to the identification of rights-bearing Métis communities in Ontario and the complete lack of any model for revenue resource to be provided to any Aboriginal community in Ontario being in place, the MNO strategically negotiated a $30 million, 10-year arrangement with Ontario to support the creation of the Métis Voyageur Development Fund (MVDF) based on the Métis allocation of the above-noted commitment from Ontario in relation to RBS with Aboriginal communities
- At the same time in 2011, the MNO and Ontario signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Métis Economic Development (“MOU”) that committed the parties to working together to leverage funding from the Government of Canada as well as joint reviews of the MVDF in its fifth and ninth year of operation.
- In 2016, the MVDF extended its support to Métis entrepreneurs and businesses beyond the resource sector
- In 2017, after years of collaboration, the MNO and Ontario jointly announced the recognition of the seven historic Métis communities
- In 2018, the MNO and Ontario released the results of an independent review of the MNO’s Harvester Card system that confirmed that 100% of these card holders were verified Métis rights-holders consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Powley.
- In 2018, after years of negotiations, thirty-five First Nation communities signed RBS agreements with Ontario that offers a template for other rights-bearing Aboriginal communities, including Métis rights-bearing communities related to RBS.
- In 2020, the ninth year review of the MVDF confirmed it had evolved into a successful, accountable and credible Métis capital corporation and it was recommended that it continue to be funded in order to ensure it will be able to provide the same level of service, equity and investments for Métis businesses all across Ontario.
- In 2021 MNO is working with MVDF and with Ontario to identify specific sources of funding which may even eventually include future contributions from MNO regions
- The MVDF continues to operate as a highly reputable and successful Aboriginal capital corporation with programs that remain accessible to Métis businesses throughout the Province of Ontario.
PCMNO Resolution and Next Steps
- PCMNO direction was given to have MNO draft a letter to Ontario related to engaging in conversations on Resource Benefit Sharing.
- Direction was given to have those regions directly impacted by RBS to meet and discuss RBS and determine next steps.
- Direction was also given for MNO to work with Ontario specific to extending the MVDF agreement and explore strengthening the relationship using economic development funds rather than RBS, and move forward MNO priorities more generally to serve all Métis citizens
If you have any questions regarding the Resolutions, please contact Secretary Treasurer Young at JoAnneY@metisnation.org.