PCMNO Meeting
November 24 and December 4, 2021

The Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) met for virtual meetings on November 24, and December 4, 2021, with the latter meeting including MNO citizen observers. These formal MNO provincial governance meetings were held in addition to a series of recent and targeted workshops, including the second quarter financial workshop held with PCMNO on December 3, 2021.  The following are highlights from the meetings of November 24th and December 4th.

President’s Updates
MNO President Margaret Froh
The President’s Updates acknowledged November as the month of remembrance, and the December 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
President Froh commented on the All Citizen Town Hall that took place on December 2, which featured a COVID-19 update and an ‘Ask An Expert’ Q&A session with Métis physician, Dr. Janet Smylie. The President commended the work of volunteers and leadership in communities across the MNO for supporting citizens while promoting community and connection; and referenced the many supports and services available to citizens.
Key updates at the national level included the recent Speech from the Throne and analysis, including the Prime Minister’s commitment to delivering on Liberal Party promises, meeting and advancing needs, rights and the self-determination of Métis communities in Ontario and across the Métis Nation.  As well, the President spoke to the key priorities of core self-government agreement implementation, including federal recognition legislation, and the development of a federal Métis claims policy.
Métis National Council Updates
In her remarks, the President referenced the special sitting of the MNC General Assembly which was held in Saskatoon, SK from September 29-30, 2021. The Manitoba Métis Federation announced its withdrawal from the MNC on the eve of the General Assembly.  The court-ordered meeting saw the remaining MNC Governing Members, the Métis governments of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, gather for the first time in several years.
In addition to formally affirming the status of the MNO within the MNC, the MNC General Assembly held its long-overdue election of a new MNC President, Cassidy Caron.   Immediately following the assembly, the MNC Board of Governors met for the first time in over three years.
With this new dynamic leadership, we look forward to a renewed, collaborative relationship with President Caron–and all Métis Governing Members–as we work to restore accountability, transparency, and democracy within the MNC.
MNC Board of Governors (BOG) Meetings
The President reported on the in-person MNC BOG meeting held immediately following the fall General Assembly and several teleconferences held in October and November, as well as the two days of in-person MNC Board of Governors meetings on November 22 and 23, 2021.
Key highlights included the MNC commitment to supporting our Métis Veterans on an engagement strategy that will be driven and directed by Métis Veterans, for Veterans.
Further, delegates representing the Métis Nation have been invited by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishop (CCCB) to meet with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in Vatican City to discuss the ongoing legacy of the Residential School System in Canada. The MNC is one of three national Indigenous organizations sending delegations to meet with the Pope. Intergenerational residential school survivor and PCMNO Councilor for Region 4, Mitch Case, will be attending on behalf of the Métis Nation of Ontario.
MNO citizens who have been impacted by the legacy of the Residential School System are invited to share their experiences by writing letters to the Pope. Métis Nation delegates will be bringing these letters to the Pope, giving a voice to survivors and those who have been impacted by the system.
If you are a citizen who has been impacted by the residential school system, please submit your letters to sarahb@metisnation.org.
[Note: Since this meeting was held a joint announcement was made by the MNC along with the Assembly of First Nations and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) indicating that due to COVID-19 the meeting would be rescheduled. Click here for more information]
Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) Update
While the MNC is working collaboratively to advance all of our Métis governments, the MMF continues in its push to try to dominate, including a series of press releases about forming a new government for the “Red River Métis,” with Clem Chartier apparently at the helm. Chartier is acting as ambassador for the MMF and they are actively reaching into the jurisdictions of all other Métis governments in ongoing efforts to undermine the MNC, MNO and others.
One of the items addressed at the PCMNO meeting included a collection of media statements by MMF which confirm their intent to anoint and proclaim themselves as a new national government and the “exclusive representative” of Red River Métis regardless of where they live and whether or not they are MMF citizens.  Such assertions actively undermine all other Métis communities and Métis governments, including undermine any potential assertion of rights or claims from those communities.  The President reported that the MNO will continue to push back against MMF’s messaging, and will always stand up for MNO’s citizens and historic rights bearing Métis communities rights, interests and aspirations.

Self-Government Updates: Funding for Regional Implementation Agreements (RIAs), RIA work plans and related expenses
Brian Black, Director of Self-Government Strategy and Alexandria Winterburn, PST
Brian Black and Ajay Winterburn provided updates on the work underway to advance self-government, and stressed that the Regional Implementation Agreements (RIAs), are a key part of the MNO’s approach to implementing self-government and are all about consultation and engagement with citizens.
PCMNO discussed the Interim Fiscal Financing Agreement (IFFA) which the MNO has secured with Canada, including a commitment of one-time interim federal funding totalling $21.6M to implement the MNO’s core self-government agreement (the MGRSA).  This included discussion of:
      • the PCMNO decisions made prior to receiving the IFFA to cash flow up to $65K to each MNO region to support the work of getting to RIAs and RIA work plan;
      • the resolution to approve the Terms of Reference for Implementing the MNO Self-Government Agreement & Advancing the Framework Agreement Negotiations (the TOR), and the hiring that was then undertaken to implement the TOR; and
      • the resolution to freeze further IFFA spending until such time as PCMNO approves an allocation plan for the use of the remainder of the IFFA funds.
To help guide development of the draft IFFA allocation plan, Mr. Black presented five potential allocation plan categories to PCMNO, providing background and context for the use of this one-time interim funding ($21.6M) to advance the MGRSA.  These five categories had been previously presented to the Finance & Audit Committee, and reflect the work that must be completed for MNO to get to full self-government, namely:
      • Developing a Métis Government constitution
      • Developing several core Métis Government laws
      • Consulting with MNO citizens on the Constitution and MNO Self-Government Agreement
      • MNO citizen ratification of the Constitution and MNO Self-Government Agreement
In order to ensure MNO is able to complete all of this work and achieve self-government, the proposed five categories of spending for the IFFA Allocation Plan include:
      • Funding for existing commitments to MNO Regions under the RIAs
      • Funding for RIA work plans and incrementally building self-government capacity across the MNO
      • Funding for consultation and engagement with citizens on the MGRSA, core laws, and constitution development
      • Funding for the ratification of the MGRSA and constitution
      • A reserve fund (for unanticipated costs or special projects)
Resolution to provide additional support to regional communities
Recognizing that it will take time to draft the IFFA Allocation Plan and get it approved by the PCMNO, and given that several regional communities have either fully spent their $65K allotments and are requesting additional financial support to help develop RIA work plans, and/or have noted the need for staff support for this work, the PCMNO considered and ultimately passed a resolution to unlock IFFA funds to provide additional support to MNO regional communities, including: (a) up to an additional $25K to each regional community for RIA and RIA work plan work; and (b) funds to hire a regional staff person to support each interested regional community.

Registry Review Report Updates and Next Steps
Brian Black, MNO Director of Self-Government Strategy
MNO continues to engage citizens regarding the Final Report of the MNO Registry and Self-Government Readiness Review (“RSRP” or “Registry Review”) which represents a significant milestone in our self-government journey.
A series of engagement sessions has been conducted with the community to answer questions, solicit feedback and chart next steps.
To date, seven Citizen Town Halls have been held, with nearly 500 citizens participating in the dialogue. MNO will be offering additional ways for citizens to provide their feedback through the MNO website, questionnaires, etc.  Further, a supplemental report will be issued to respond to some of the questions that have arisen from citizens during the consultation sessions.  Also noted is that the MNO Registry has been offering mobile registry support throughout the review process and since the final report has been issued, providing supports for those who have yet to complete their citizenship files.
PCMNO discussed the fact that MNO citizens often have multiple Métis family lines and communities that they trace to, however the Registry Review process prioritized identifying connections to historic Ontario Métis communities first and foremost.  The findings of the Registry Review Final Report therefore does not tell the whole story about additional connections between MNO citizens and Métis in western Canada. Additional research is required to tell the full story of those multiple connections, however while political and historical connections are important, there is no singular ethnogenesis of the Métis, contrary to what the MMF are currently arguing.
While the Registry Review has proven what we have always said, that we represent rights bearing Métis people who ancestrally tie to historic Métis communities in Ontario, and to the Métis Nation west of Ontario – MNO has been very open and transparent about the fact that there are approximately 5K current citizen files that do not meet the MNO’s criteria for citizenship. As part of the next phase in consultations further conversations will need to be had with citizens around what to do with incomplete files.
As previously noted, the MNO will be developing a “What We Heard” report based on the province-wide consultations which will be publicly released in 2022, as we move toward a possible plebiscite in spring/summer and decision making to chart the way forward on these important issues at the MNO AGA 2022 in Toronto.

MNO Housing & Infrastructure Updates
Robynn Sadler, MNO Director of Housing and Infrastructure (H&I)
Also raised at the November 24 PCMNO meeting, were developments taking place within the new MNO Housing & Infrastructure Branch; including:
      • The Housing Investment Strategy – building on the commitments made in the Canada-Métis Nation Housing Sub Accord which we signed in 2019, the MNO has recently undertaken a Housing Needs Assessment (2021) which identified the shortage of affordable housing for vulnerable MNO citizens. MNO is committed to increasing homeownership opportunities for citizens and has received specific funding to realize this goal.
      • In July 2021, the MNO H&I presented a Housing Investment Business Case to PCMNO that outlined existing and proposed housing related programs and services, as well as an MNO Housing Capital Investment Strategy which PCMNO recently approved.
      • That Strategy includes a $15 million investment in real property in four specific communities across Ontario that have been identified as having the most urgent housing needs for MNO citizens.
      • Drawing from the Housing Needs Assessment, PCMNO approved the purchase of land in Kenora and Midland, as well as land and pre-purchased housing units in Sault Ste Marie, and in York area of the GTA – more details will be made available in the new year.
      • And early in 2022, the MNO will be reaching out to citizens to address housing needs as we develop a MNO Housing & Homelessness Strategy

Finance Update and Second Quarter (Q2) Financial Report
Chief Financial Officer Ursula D’Angelo and Secretary-Treasurer Jo Anne Young
PCMNO held a Finance workshop December 3, 2021, where the CFO and all key budget holders provided detailed briefing notes and financial reports for the second quarter (Q2) to PCMNO.  This was followed by a further presentation and discussion at the December 4th PCMNO meeting.
These detailed quarterly finance updates and reports are for information, and to monitor spending according to budget plan and funding agreements. The CFO provided the PCMNO and guests with an overview and presentation of financial statements, budget revisions and financial summaries, which are necessary to report for full openness and transparency.
Highlights from the Q2 report include:
      • As of September 30, 2021, the total MNO Secretariat budget was $107.9 million (referred to Revised Budget) compared to $92.7 million that was presented during the May 7, 2021 PCMNO meeting.
      • The MNO recognized $39.7 million in revenues in Q2 which was comprised of:
      • $19.9 million ($1 million for Covid) from the Province of Ontario
      • $19.3 million ($4.2 million for Covid) from the federal government
      • $0.5 million from proponents or other funders.

MNO Community Councils and Quorum Challenges
MNO Community Relations
Windsor-Essex-Kent Métis Community Council — Following consistent challenges to make and keep quorum in the Windsor-Essex-Kent Métis Community Council’s (WEKMCC) operations, as per the WEKMCC’s governance documents the PCMNO directed a suspension of the Council’s Charter until such time that there is renewed interest from the citizens in the Council boundaries area to sustain a full Council with quorum.  The PCMNO expressed thanks to all who have served on that council.
Temiskaming Métis Community Council —

PCMNO also discussed the Temiskaming Métis Community Council (TMCC), which lost quorum on October 4, 2021 following the resignation of several Councillors. The TMCC Community Code provides for a 9-member council with 5 needed to make quorum required to conduct business.

Prior to the resignations in October, Council had been unable to fill two (2) other vacancies for over four months.

After significant discussion, in accordance with the TMCC’s governance documents the PCMNO resolved the following as next steps to address the loss of quorum: 1) Set the Temiskaming Métis Community Council election date for February 3, 2022; and 2) Appoint Loma Rowlinson, Manager of Community Relations, as the Electoral Officer for the Temiskaming Métis Community Council election. The PCMNO expressed thanks to all who have served on that council and look forward to the outcome of the election process in early February.


Draft Investment Guidelines for Community Councils
Ursula D’Angelo, CFO and Jack Jamieson, T.E. Wealth
MNO leadership at all levels have been raising issues and interest for the development of guidelines and process to support the work of Regions and Community Councils in managing potential investments that are realized from Impact Benefit Agreements and other revenues sources. These work respects the fact that the MNO Secretariat currently operates as a not-for-profit corporation, and investment options and tools are being developed in a manner that ensures there would be no risk to MNO’s not for profit status. Consultants from T.E. Wealth (Indigenous Services) delivered a presentation which reviewed the importance of a community vision and considerations that might impact investment objectives; including liquidity needs, time horizon for investment, required return on investment, etc.
To protect the not-for-profit status, TE Wealth developed MNO Investment Guidelines that can be used as a tool to develop investment plans. The guidelines recommend three investment options to choose from for consideration by councils:
          1. MNO Community Investment Fund
          2. Guaranteed Investment Certificates – minimum $10,000 per request
          3. Community Directed Investments developed by a financial advisor.
The PCMNO approved the MNO Investment Guidelines to respond to requests from community councils to develop investment options and parameters that protects the MNO’s not- for-profit status. Meetings will be setup with regions and community councils to review the MNO Community Investment Fund and what opportunities are available to them.

MNO Community Investment Fund Policy
Ursula D’Angelo, CFO and Jack Jamieson, T.E. Wealth
Consultants from T.E. Wealth, the MNO Prosperity Trust financial advisor, remained on the call to review the Community Investment Fund Policy as part of the MNO Investment Guidelines.
After extensive research, Mawer Investment Management Ltd. stepped forward to provide an investment option for community councils.
Investment objectives aim to seek modest capital appreciation and maximize the generation of income (in the form of interest, dividends and realized capital gains). Other objectives include ensuring enough liquidity to meet any anticipated distributions from holdings, capitalizing on portfolio diversification, and targeting a minimum average annual rate of return of 4.0%.
The PCMNO considered and ultimately approved the MNO Community Investment Fund Policy and the appointment of Mawer Investment Management Ltd as investment manager.  Meetings will be setup with regions and community councils to review the MNO Community Investment Fund.

MNO Cultural Commission Update
President Froh, Ursula D’Angelo, CFO & Neil McCormick (Gowling)
The Interim Board of Directors of the MNO Cultural Commission (MNOCC) have been meeting for the past year to update the by-laws and renew the MNOCC’s primary purpose as a fundraising tool to support Métis Arts and Culture. Legal consultants have been assisting the Board of Directors to review the by-laws and modernize the MNOCC, while ensuring that it meets the new Ontario Not- for-profit Corporations Act (ONCA) requirements.
Due to time constraints, PCMNO were requested to review materials provided within meeting package which included a Briefing Note, a Draft MNOCC Bylaws, and Draft Articles of Amendment and Restated Articles. This item will be revisited in the near future.