PROVISIONAL COUNCIL OF THE MÉTIS NATION OF ONTARIO
VIDEO CONFERENCE MEETING
FEBRUARY 5-6, 2022
The Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) met for virtual meetings on February 5 and 6, 2022. Both meetings included Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen observers. The following are highlights from those meetings:
President Froh commented on the All MNO Citizen Town Hall that took place on January 17, 2022 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.
President Froh discussed other activities and events of note, including:
- Continued efforts to increase accountability including the circulation of PCMNO motion-minute reports and adopted minutes to Community Council Presidents, scheduling of post-PCMNO Town Halls, and distribution of PCMNO meeting recaps
- The impact of recent protests in Ottawa on local MNO citizens, and support being offered by the Region and local MNO Council to connect with citizens affected
- On February 3, the Region 6 Regional Implementation Agreement (RIA) signing ceremony was formally witnessed by youth and citizens
- Sudbury Métis Community Council has signed onto the Region 5 RIA
- Efforts by leadership and citizens in MNO Region 7 to ensure protection of the Labatte Homestead
On a National level President Froh referenced:
- The resumption of Permanent Bilateral Mechanism (PBM) meetings and Métis National Council (MNC) Board of Governors (BOG) meetings
- Litigation commenced by the MNC against former MNC leaders
- The Métis Vatican delegation has been rescheduled to March 2022; citizens affected by residential schools were encouraged to submit letters to be delivered to the Pope
- The commitment to schedule a meeting with Métis veterans
- Planning underway for MNO’s 2022 Annual General Assembly (AGA)
Le Villageois de LaFontaine
Paul DeVillers, Chair, Métis Voyageur Development Fund (MVDF)
Steven Morse, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) MVDF
Le Villageois de LaFontaine (“Le Villageois”) is a not-for-profit community organisation providing low-income housing for seniors in the village of Tiny, Ontario. At its February 5 meeting the PCMNO debated a recommendation to support a loan to avoid foreclosure proceedings against Le Villageois which would result in at least 13 MNO citizens and up to 27 Métis senior citizens becoming homeless.
A resolution was passed that would see a $1.3 million loan withdrawn from MNO Prosperity Trust; the loan would earn 3% interest, and would be renewable every five years until Le Villageois was able to borrow the full outstanding amount. The Métis Voyageur Development Fund (MVDF) engaged an independent Indigenous third-party institution to perform an evaluation, which concluded that the loan would not be imprudent and recommended conditions of the mortgage including that Le Villageois work with the MNO to determine an appropriate number of units to be set aside for Métis citizens with complete files.
Georgian Bay Métis Community Council Amendment to Increase Council Members
The PCMNO passed a resolution brought forward by Region 7 Councilor, David Dusome, to endorse a resolution by the Georgian Bay Métis Community Council (GBMC) to amend its Community Code to increase the number of Community Council members. The community is growing and more people on the Community Council would support an increased workload. It was noted that any changes to Community Council governing documents should be presented to the PCMNO for ratification.
MNO Cultural Commission Revitalization: Bylaws
Neil McCormick, Gowling LLP
The PCMNO endorsed a set of Bylaws for the Métis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission (MNOCC) on February 5, 2022. An interim Board of Directors of the MNOCC has been meeting to revitalize and modernize the MNOCC Bylaws to ensure that a revived MNOCC would support Métis culture and arts and that Bylaws would meet new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act requirements. The MNOCC will advertise for expressions of interest for a new Board of Directors to be appointed by the PCMNO.
Strategic Planning – Next Steps
Catherine McCullough, CMC Leadership
In 2021, the PCMNO participated in facilitated discussions to create draft vision and mission statements and establish and confirm strategic priorities for the MNO. Catherine McCullough, an MNO citizen and Consultant with CMC Leadership, presented to the PCMNO a Summary Report on the work done so far. McCullough also reviewed a proposed engagement process, including the use of Thought Exchange, a collaboration software platform. President Froh confirmed that a PCMNO workshop would be scheduled using the Thought Exchange software platform, to seek feedback on the tool. Following that PCMNO workshop, MNO leadership and citizens will be invited to review the vision, mission and strategic priorities and provide feedback using the same platform.
Métis Rules of Order
Alex Monem, Partner, and Tasha Manoranjan, Associate, Pape Salter Teillet LLP (PST)
The MNO was founded in 1993 when Métis communities and citizens came together to establish a Métis-specific governance structure. At that time the Métis Rules of Order — a blend of parliamentary procedure with Métis values and principles — were created as a Métis-specific governance tool. Since the Métis Rules of Order have not been reviewed and updated since 2006, the PCMNO embarked on a process over the last 18 months to review and modernize them.
On February 5 the PCMNO approved a Draft Métis Rules of Order that will now be put before the MNO elected and appointed leadership as well as Citizens for feedback and comment. Following these engagements an updated draft will come back to the PCMNO for approval in advance of being put forward to a future MNO Annual General Assembly for ratification.
Code of Conduct & Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy
The PCMNO has confirmed the need within the MNO for tools to be developed that will support resolution of disputes and issues surrounding conduct in an effective way. Ensuring these are positive tools that support MNO communities to identify and resolve problems as they arise and before they escalate while at the same time reflecting Métis culture and values is important.
The PCMNO approved rolling drafts of an MNO Code of Conduct and a Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy – these drafts will now go out for feedback and input from MNO citizens in a series of community engagements. The drafts will be informed and updated by that process and then the Code of Conduct and a Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy will be brought back to the PCMNO for approval in advance of being put forward to a future MNO Annual General Assembly for ratification.
Community Council Updates
Elizabeth Harvey, Director of Intergovernmental and Community Relations
Loma Rowlinson, Manager, Community Relations
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many MNO Community Council elections have been delayed. The MNO Electoral Code: Part B – the part of the Electoral Code that covers Community Councils elections does not make any reference to electronic or telephone voting. So, the PCMNO resolved that electronic and telephone voting are acceptable methods for Community Council elections in 2022-2023.
This resolution does not mean Community Councils cannot hold in-person elections — it still allows in-person election, but they would need to comply with MNO policies regarding COVID-19 and with all Provincial Public Health directives.
As well, PCMNO requested MNO staff issue a new expression of interest for the Chief Electoral Officer role.
Brian Tucker, Director of Rights, Research and Policy
Canada has launched a broad-based call for proposals to provide funding for Indigenous peoples, to provide input into the development of an action plan for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) Act.
MNO is developing a proposal to request funding for submission by the end of February 2022. President Froh acknowledged the importance of ensuring the action plan was developed collaboratively with the MNO to ensure it is informed by the Métis voice.
Brian Black, Director of Self-Government Strategy
Director of Self-Government Strategy Brian Black provided updates on the work underway to advance self-government, and stressed that as part of building self-government, a need was identified for financial stewardship and developing tools for safe, accountable management of finances including an option for the creation of regional bank accounts.
PCMNO was given an in-depth presentation on an MNO-wide plan to inform, educate and engage citizens on self-government and ensure consistent messaging that will roll out this year. The plan maps out a process to inform and educate Métis citizens, but also to collaborate and empower our communities to build a Métis government and a constitution they can believe in, support and rely on.
Several actions were requested arising from the Self-Government update, including:
- that resolutions related to supporting discussions with Regions, Advisory Councils and the 2SLGBTQ+ Working Group on the creation of and terms for regional bank accounts, be presented at the next PCMNO meeting.
- that the mail-out communications planned for the Self-Government MNO-wide communications streams include a change of address form.
- that the MNO Registrar be invited to provide an update at a PCMNO workshop or meeting, on the progress to date and processes implemented for updating contact details for citizens.
- that a discussion on options for including local media in MNO engagement plans, be added to the agenda of a future PCMNO meeting.
Métis Child, Youth and Family Services Project Update
Alisha Kaba, Acting Manager, Métis Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS)
Mary Ballantyne, Consultant and Ian Brunskill, Consultant
A series of virtual engagement sessions were held in January and February with citizens to inform the MNO’s Métis Child, Youth and Family Services project. At the PCMNO meeting, the Métis Child, Youth and Family Services project team provided an overview of what was heard at those engagements, proposed next steps, and sought the PCMNO’s views on the issues.
Among the issues touched upon were: the need to use Michif language/wording (i.e., change “foster care” to “alternative care”); consider using the Thought Exchange software platform for engagement; the importance of outreach and engagement with those who, by virtue of circumstances, do not often have time for engagement; and include the voices of those with direct experience of the child welfare system.