PCMNO Meeting Recap
October 21, 2020

On Wednesday October 21, the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) held an evening Zoom call to provide leadership with specific updates on two significant and time-sensitive priorities: 1) the Métis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission, a registered charity and fundraising tool to support Métis arts and culture within Ontario; and 2) the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Canada’s proposed draft legislation, and plan to ensure the voice of Ontario Métis citizens and communities are considered in the legislation.

In her opening remarks, President Margaret Froh first acknowledged the historical significance of October 21 for Ontario Métis, specifically the Sault Ste. Marie Métis community. A bell-ringing ceremony took place in the Sault Ste. Marie community as a reminder of lasting Métis presence on the land and of the Crown’s broken promises, which remain unfulfilled 170 years later. For more on this story click here.

President Froh also provided updates on recent acclamations which filled vacancies on both the MNO Veterans and Youth Councils. Elections for the Womens’ Council will take place November 8. President Froh also referenced the All Citizens MNO Town Hall on October 28, which provides Citizens an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Zoom technology prior to the November 7 MNO Annual General Assembly (AGA).

Métis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission (MNOCC)

The MNO Cultural Commission is a not-for-profit registered charity that was created to preserve and promote Métis history, values, traditions and pride in Métis arts, culture and heritage. The existing Bylaws require that the business of the MNOCC be managed by a Board of nine directors. The PCMNO appoints directors from the members, and the MNOCC membership consists of nine MNO citizens. A quorum of five directors is required to conduct business. As the current term has expired, the PCMNO Secretary Treasurer discussed next steps in moving forward, while ensuring compliance with the Ontario Business Corporations Act.

To maintain its status as a registered charity, the MNO must submit audited financial statements, approved by the MNOCC Directors, prior to the filing deadline of December 31, 2020. The PCMNO discussed the need to appoint Directors, who will serve in the short term (six-months) to approve the financial statements and file the T3010 Charity Return. Additionally, the Board would review and revise the Bylaws of the MNOCC with input from legal counsel to provide for an unlimited number of members who are verified citizens of the MNO and are eighteen (18) years or older and other potential amendments.

It was resolved that PCMNO appoint five prior MNOCC members and Directors to serve a six-month term: Margaret Froh, Sharon Cadeau, Natalie Durocher, France Picotte, and Tim Pile. Additionally, it was recommended that:

  • the MNOCC, staff and legal counsel review and outline potential revisions to MNOCC bylaws to ensure that the appointment process be more transparent, efficient and effective.
  • A Special Meeting of the MNOCC be scheduled prior to the end of the six-month term to approve audited financial statements, appoint auditors and consider any proposed bylaw amendments
  • Direct that an Expression of Interest be developed and issued inviting citizens of the MNO to submit an application to be considered for a position as director on the MNOCC.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), draft legislation

To ensure the inclusion of Métis rights and interests in the co-development of the legislation, Canada has recognized the need to engage directly with the MNO, as a Métis government representing rights-holding Métis communities.

Legal counsel from Pape Salter Teillet (PST) presented the PCMNO with an update on the draft legislation and an overview of the process for input, and detailed the very narrow window of time that Canada has given to provide input.

The presentation highlighted the ways that the MNO can work with Canada to strengthen its approach to the co-development and implementation of UNDRIP, including recommendations that will:

    • Better recognize and respect Métis rights
    • Include robust accountability mechanisms and independent oversight and review
    • Let the legislation be a way to breathe life into Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982
    • Provide ways for the MNO, along with other Indigenous governments, enter into constructive government-to-government arrangements with Canada to implement UNDRIP in ways that work for Métis communities and citizens in Ontario

Based on these points, and with direction provided by PCMNO, legal counsel is working to develop a submission that can best reflect and respect the interests of Ontario Métis.