PCMNO MEETING RECAP
AUGUST 8-9, 2023
On August 8-9, 2023 the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) held a virtual session over Zoom in lead up to the 2023 MNO Annual General Assembly. Following an update from President Froh and a review on national matters, PCMNO were provided with presentations on key files on ongoing MNO research projects, the MNO’s critical infrastructure engagement, and an update on housing initiatives. The PCMNO session resumed on August 9 with an update on the New Relationship Fund; a review of plans and preparation for the MNO AGA; and an update from Registry on next steps following the June Special Assembly. Know History attended the call to present on phase 2 of the Métis Residential School Research Project currently underway. The PCMNO session concluded with an update on the Métis Rights Conference planned for November, and the appointments of two new Regional Captains of the Hunt.
AUGUST 8, 2023
Finance Update [In-Camera]
Benoit Groulx, Audit Partner, Baker Tilly, Secretary-Treasurer Young and Ursula D’Angelo, CFO
The PCMNO meeting began with an in-camera discussion held with Finance and MNO audit partner Baker Tilly. Included in the extensive update from Finance, the PCMNO addressed the previous approval and establishment of financial reserves from surplus funds in order to ensure that the MNO Secretariat has the necessary funding in the future. Following this update, the PCMNO adjourned the in-camera portion to pass two resolutions:
(PC230808-04) It was resolved that the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) approve the draft “Métis Nation of Ontario Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended March 31, 2023”, for presentation at the 2023 Annual General Assembly.
(PC230808-05) It was resolved that the PCMNO directs, the MNO’s 2022/2023 surplus, in the amount of $2.4 million, be allocated to the following reserves:
- $500,000 to Métis Rights Advancement
- $600,000 to Community Council Governance (including Advisory Councils)
- $500,000 to Advancing Métis Land Claims
- $300,000 to Capital Infrastructure and Maintenance Replacement (to support the maintenance of leased and owned properties)
- $500,000 to Ensuring Operational Continuity
- $52,000 to Infinity Property Services.
President Margaret Froh
The President’s update began with an acknowledgement of the recent losses in the community, including MNO former Chief Operating Officer Doug Wilson, as well as Danny Gabona, husband to Pearl Gabona, and Jessi Connaughton.
The official business of the PCMNO meeting started with reference to the fourth quarter finance workshops that took place earlier this month, including financial reporting and briefings led by the MNO Finance branch. President Froh recognized that having clear and contextualized financial reporting is key to delivering on MNO’s many priorities, including programs, services and advancing self-government. The MNO also reports a healthy surplus generated this year, which will aid in strategic investments and drive progress in other critical areas, including Métis rights, claims, infrastructure and operations.
President Froh then outlined the agenda over the next two days which feature updates from MNO Research Projects, including Health, Housing and the Métis Residential School experiences. She also addressed key files requiring discussion such as critical infrastructure and investments, the New Relationship Fund with Lands Resources and Consultations (LRC), and updates from Registry on next steps following the Special Assembly.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the in-camera discussion with MNO legal counsel concerning next steps on the federal recognition legislation was postponed to a later date.
President Margaret Froh
Bill C- 53 Federal Recognition Legislation Update
Since the previous PCMNO meeting, the MNO’s Federal Recognition Legislation (Bill C-53) was introduced to Parliament, which received unanimous consent from all parties to have the bill deemed to be introduced and passed first and second reading. Bill C-53 has now been referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAN), who will formally reconvene in September. Since then, the MNO has been in contact with the INAN Committee Chair and additional details on the legislation’s hearing days will be provided in the near future. An overview of next steps include:
- Review of legislation by INAN Committee
- INAN Committee presents its report to Parliament
- Bill sent to House of Commons for third reading
- Bill referred to Senate for a Senate review process
- Bill is submitted for Royal Assent and proclaimed law by the Governor General
The President expressed her gratitude for the great work being done to advance legislation not only by the MNO, but our sister governments Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S) and the Métis National Council (MNC).
Bill C-53 and Protests
The National Update also acknowledged the recent protests by First Nations and the ensuing coordinated campaign targeting the MNO’s self-government legislation, including pushback by the Chiefs of Ontario, and First Nations in other provinces as well as the passing of Resolution 33 by the Assembly of First Nations demanding the Government of Canada cease negotiations pertaining to Bill-C 53.
Back to Batoche 2023
MNO citizens and leadership recently participated in the 2023 Back to Batoche celebration held in Saskatchewan from July 20-23, 2023. The celebration was an opportunity to celebrate Métis culture and recent successes, while building relationships across the Métis Nation. MNO participants included Métis fiddlers, musicians, artists, community members and leadership who used to opportunity to educate on the history of Ontario Métis as well as significant Métis policies like the Powley decision and its influence on the broader Métis Nation.
Relationships with sister governments
President Froh reviewed progress made by Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), who ratified their Otipemisiwak Constitution last December, and more recently have amended their bylaws in order to proceed with the election of their new Métis government on September 19. While current MNA President Audrey Poitras has stated she will not be running for re-election, the MNO extends its appreciation for the leadership President Poitras has provided over the years and looks forward to continuing to develop strong working relationships with the incoming administration.
Additionally, the MNO has called for a Board of Governors retreat in order to address a number of key items.
Métis Nation of Ontario Research Activities Update
Dr. Sarah Edwards, Epidemiologist, Joanne Meyer, COO, Cindi Rye, Director of Housing and Infrastructure and Amy Mersereau, Manager of Housing Initiatives
Métis Research Projects
MNO staff and researchers presented on recent Métis health directed research, including the MNO housing census and housing census “snapshots” highlighting significant findings from the research. An update on housing investments made in areas like Kenora was also provided to the PCMNO.
A presentation led by Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Edwards provided a high level overview of past and present research projects (including 6 research proposals submitted); and referenced the great work being conducted by current MNO citizen graduate students, who have presented their findings at multiple health policy oriented conferences over the last year. The presentation also reviewed research relating to:
- Mental Wellness Grant
- Healthy Youth Catalyst Grant
- Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections (STBBI) Grant
- Scoping Review on Métis Health
- MNO Health Survey III
- Housing, Health and Environment Fall Project Grant
The PCMNO were presented with key results and data produced from the MNO’s recent Housing Census, the largest sample to date on an MNO-led survey and one in which 45% of MNO citizens participated. Data allows the MNO to help triangulate findings while pulling from other sources to produce a larger picture on the housing research topic. The Housing Census includes a count of households; basic statistics around household members and family types; and benchmarking housing stocks, such as conditions of houses and what may need to be remedied. Highlights from the study included:
- 9,045 responses (including duplicates and unverified)
- 8,045 verified MNO citizen participants
- 17,540 households with at least one MNO citizen
The Housing Census also took into consideration:
- Household types
- Types of homes
- Home ownership
- Living space
- Physical condition and safety of home
- Repairs by occupants
- Household incomes
Additional Housing Census “snapshots” and snapshots in progress were shared with the PCMNO, including plans for Community Infrastructure, Services and Amenities and methods to organize key results by regions. Findings and data from the Housing Census will be circulated within the community for feedback and engagement with support from partner, MNP. Results will be shared in person at events like the MNO Annual General Assembly, regional leadership meetings, and via the MNO website and social channels. Results will also be used to help inform the MNO Housing & Homelessness Action Plan. In addition to snapshots, other planned knowledge products include an interactive data tool, Housing and Infrastructure Program Eligibility and Cost Analysis, analytical papers, and others as determined through engagement.
Results of the MNO Critical Infrastructure Engagement at the Special Assembly
Joanne Meyer, COO, Cindi Rye, Director of Housing and Infrastructure and Amy Mersereau, Manager of Housing Initiative
Earlier this year, the federal government approached the MNO seeking perspectives on what critical infrastructure means to the Ontario Métis community. Following the distribution of a survey targeting Critical Infrastructure Engagement at the MNO’s Special Assembly in June, the results of the survey and the priorities of MNO citizens concerning critical infrastructure policy were organized by region and presented to the PCMNO.
A total of 406 MNO citizens voted on critical infrastructure priorities at the Special Assembly. Key takeaways from across all nine regions included prioritizing Housing, Health, and Culture and Recreation; as well as School Facilities.
This research represents the first engagement on the subject, and further consultation and engagement will be held with the community at the MNO AGA and through virtual communication methods.
(RFA-PC230808-03) A Request for Action was proposed requesting the Director of Housing and Infrastructure share the preliminary results from the Housing and Critical Infrastructure Engagement to MNO Regional Manager
Cindi Rye, Director of Housing and Infrastructure, Amy Mersereau, Manager of Housing Initiatives and Jeff Evenson, Advisor, Edgewood and Associates
Having identified affordable housing for MNO citizens as a key priority for the MNO, work continues on the previous investments made into those communities reporting urgent needs such as Sault Ste Marie, Toronto, Midland and Kenora. On August 8, MNO Housing and Infrastructure presented on the latest developments taking place regarding the Kenora/ Transmitter Road housing project.
The Kenora affordable housing initiative commenced in November 2021 with a PCMNO resolution (PC211124-09) authorizing the acquisition of property in Kenora, located at Transmitter Road and Highway 17E. It is anticipated that negotiations of the agreement with OAHS will take place in August, with OAHS as Development Manager and next steps will include seeking an architect to develop a proposal for building design. The current plan includes 30 affordable rental units each for MNO and OAHS, as well as a proposed commercial space for MNO offices and service delivery. Estimated occupancy for the property is expected to occur in 2026.
The presentation then identified MNO roles and responsibilities regarding the Kenora/ Transmitter Road housing project, including acquiring land use approvals, community and citizen engagement, and the development of a communications plan.
(PC230808-07) A Resolution was passed that the PCMNO:
- Authorize the expenditure of funds up to $200,000, to support the rezoning of the Transmitter Road site in Kenora, Ontario as presented in the Housing and Infrastructure Briefing Note dated July 28, 2023; and
- Authorize the expenditure in the amount of up to $200,000 to create a proposal for the development of an affordable rental housing project and commercial space at the Transmitter Road site in Kenora, Ontario; and
- Direct that the proposal for the development of an affordable rental housing project and potential commercial space for Transmitter Road site in Kenora, be presented to the PCMNO for discussion and final approval at a future meeting.
AUGUST 9, 2023
New Relationship Fund
Linda Norheim, Director of Lands, Resources and Consultations (LRC)
The New Relationship Fund has provided MNO with significant funding supports for regional rights bearing communities and councils throughout Ontario. Funding has ensured that regional consultation committees have been able to build necessary capacity to engage in duty to consult matters. In recent conversations Ontario has proposed that there may be a potential reduction in funding to the MNO. The MNO and its regional rights bearing communities have raised considerable concerns about a model that fails to recognize the significant strength of MNO’s existing regional model. The MNO and Ontario will continue to discuss the current fiscal year allocation relating to the New Relationship Fund.
Annual General Assembly Update
Loma Rowlinson, Manager of Community Relations, Maddison L’Estrange, Event Manager, TK Events
MNO Community Relations and TK Events reviewed plans and logistics for the 2023 MNO Annual General Assembly in Ottawa, including the agenda and preparations. The presentation featured a high-level breakdown of AGA events and activities, pre-assembly Annual General Meetings (AGM) for MNO councils, rooms reserved, event flow, voting services (DOTS), and registration.
The MNO is already in talks regarding planning of the 2024 MNO AGA.
Special Assembly – Registry Next Steps
Pape Salter Teillet LLP and Elina Hill, Registrar
In June 2023, a Special Assembly took place in Toronto to follow through on the next steps related to the Registry Review process and the results of the province-wide Plebiscite directing the removal of MNO citizens with incomplete files from the MNO Registry. On August 9, a presentation was provided to PCMNO on the current next steps, appeals process, and Registry removal updates; as well as a review on the citizen removal and appeals flowchart.
Since the Special Assembly, 6203 removal notices have been prepared and 4284 letters have been sent beginning in July and August. 1919 citizens are missing up to date contact information and the onus is on citizens to update this information. Removals themselves are expected to commence late October and early November. The presentation also noted:
- If citizen appeal is unsuccessful, removal will follow appeals period
- If citizen provides new contact info, the removal period still starts from earlier date, per Appeals policy
- Individuals can re-apply if new documentation is found
(RFA-PC230809-01) A Request for Action was proposed requesting the Registrar to confirm with the PCMNO whether Registry has been able to access the historical records from St. Boniface.
Residential School Project Update
Jennifer Bate, Project Manager, Know History and Edmond Burgie, Subject Specialist Lead, Self-Government
To better understand the Ontario Métis experience in Residential Schools and the broader effects on Métis communities in Ontario, the MNO has undertaken a research project with Know History: “MNO Indian Residential School Research.” Phase one of the project, the research phase, explored both secondary source and preliminary archival research, with a focus on the 17 residential schools in Ontario. Research also extends to day school and industrial school experiences.
Following the research and findings of phase one, Know History provided the PCMNO with a presentation regarding phase two of the project which reviewed the project purpose, background and goals, a draft project plan, and invited discussion and feedback from the PCMNO.
The purpose and goals of phase two of the project include:
- Interviewing MNO citizens
- Guiding archival research
- Developing educational tools, programs and supports for MNO citizens
The presentation reviewed a project timeline, which includes engagement and interviews with MNO leadership and communities, and is expected to culminate in a final report of findings in March 2024. PCMNO also discussed the values and protocols which will guide the research, as well as the health and mental wellness supports available.
Three Request for Actions relating to the Residential School Project were proposed including:
(RFA-PC230809-02): To ensure that Métis are included in reclamation and healing efforts, staff were requested to:
- Inquire about the status/ownership of former residential schools (e.g., in Kenora)
- Investigate options for potential funding to support this research
- Inquire, and report back to the PCMNO, on the notification process for unmarked grave sites.
(RFA-PC230809-03): For the Residential School Project, Know History was requested to confirm the criteria identified for those to be interviewed for regarding the Métis experience in residential schools.
(RFA-PC230809-04): MNO staff and Know History were requested to consider creating a working group/steering committee to oversee the Residential School Project.
Métis Rights Conference Update
Brian Black, Director of Self-Government Strategy
A Métis Rights Conference will be taking place in Sault Ste. Marie from November 5-8, 2023. The event will be an opportunity to highlight twenty years of success following the 2003 Powley Decision, and honour those who have made sacrifices and contributions to the MNO and broader Métis Nation. Ontario Métis stories will be on full display as we commemorate this historic milestone and look forward to the next twenty years.
Regional Captains of the Hunt Appointments
President Margaret Froh
Following vacancies for Captains of the Hunt in Regions 2, 8, and 6, an open call for Expressions of Interest went out to the community. The Chief Captain of the Hunt and PCMNO received numerous applicants, and successfully appointed new Captains of the Hunt in Regions 2 and 8. PCMNO passed two resolutions to affirm the appointments of Robert Bell in Region 8, and Grant Robbins in Region 2 as Captains of the Hunt.
(PC230809-01) A resolution was passed that, as recommended by the Chief Captain of the Hunt and the Region 8 Regional Councilor, the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario affirms the appointment of Robert Bell as Regional Captain of the Hunt for Region 8.
(PC230809-02) A resolution was passed that, as recommended by the Chief Captain of the Hunt and the Region 2 Regional Councilor, the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario affirms the appointment of Grant Robbins as Regional Captain of the Hunt for Region 2.
(RFA-PC230809-05): A Request for Action was proposed requesting that a dedicated agenda item be added to a future PCMNO meeting to discuss harvesting.