PCMNO Meeting Recap
November 24-25, 2022
Meeting for the first multi-day session since the Métis Nation of Ontario’s (MNO) Annual General Assembly (AGA) in August, the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) held virtual meetings on November 24-25, 2022. For greater transparency and accountability, the November session was open to MNO citizen observers, with the exception of in-camera portions to address confidential and legal updates.
DAY ONE | November 24, 2022
MNO President Margaret Froh
The President’s Update began by acknowledging the great work and progress being made on national, provincial and regional levels. The President also welcomed Kate Stewart-McNeil to the PCMNO as the new Regional Councilor for Region 8.
In October, the Métis National Council (MNC) successfully held its General Assembly in Vancouver, with many MNO delegates in attendance. At the assembly, leadership renewed their commitment to advancing shared interests of Métis people and praised the collaborative work accomplished by Métis Governments. Later this year, MNC Board of Governors will convene again with federal government officials for discussions on the permanent bi-lateral mechanism and other priorities established under the 2017 Canada-Métis-Nation Accord.
“We truly have made great progress on this Accord and under our own Framework Agreement,” shared President Froh in her remarks. “And we will continue with this work to ensure all Ontario Métis have a voice.”
Also occurring at the national level was the 4th Annual Le Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO)’s Métis Women’s Policy Forum, which united Métis women and Two-Spirit folks for a series of workshops and presentations on policy issues relevant to Métis women and the 2SLGBTQ community.
Lastly, President Froh commented on the great engagement and enthusiasm that continues to be witnessed at a local level, with community events occuring across province, including Annual General Meetings (AGM), open houses, celebrations for the holidays and fall harvest, and many more.
2022 Annual General Assembly (AGA) Updates
Secretary-Treasurer Jo Anne Young
Following the review and approval of previous PCMNO meeting minutes, MNO Secretary Treasurer delivered a status update on the list of decisions and actions requiring updates from the 2022 MNO Annual General Assembly. The presentation also included resolutions from previous AGA’s, with work done to mark actions as completed, and identify those still unresolved. The PCMNO anticipates that, following a more fulsome review with MNO leadership, other additional resolutions will be identified and will need to be actioned.
Finance Update, Second Quarter (Q2)
Secretary Treasurer Jo Anne Young and Ursula D’Angelo, CFO
A finance workshop was held on November 21 to address the second quarter (Q2) of the current fiscal year, a six-month period spanning April 1 to September 20, 2022. MNO branch directors provided briefing notes and presentations and attended the workshop which allowed PCMNO to ask branch specific questions.
During the November 24 PCMNO meeting, the Chief Financial Officer provided a more in-depth review of the 2nd quarter financial summaries. The presentation ranged from monitoring spending according to budget plans and financial agreements, revised budgets, and featured financial summaries on revenue recognized and expenditures.
As of September 30, 2022, the total budget was $97.2 million compared to $83.9 million that was presented during the March 27, 2022 PCMNO meeting. Expenditures for the first six months of the fiscal year were $41.9 million or 43% of the Revised Total Budget of $97.2 million.
The CFO’s financial report also referenced briefing notes and financial summaries for MNO branches; including:
- Lands, Resources and Consultations
- Negotiations Table/Self-Government
- Rights, Research and Policy
- Healing and Wellness
- Education and Training
- Housing and Infrastructure
- Infinity Property Services
- Community Wellness
- Information and Communication Technologies
PCMNO then discussed an amendment to the MNO Financial Policies and Procedures.
A Resolution passed that the PCMNO approve the amendment to section 006A – Cash Management Strategy, of the MNO Financial Policies and Procedures, to allow for greater flexibility with term investments such as Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) up to a maximum of one-year term instead of ninety-days.
Intergovernmental/ Community Relations Update
Loma Rowlinson, Manager of Community Relations
Community Relations Manager Loma Rowlinson and Chief Strategy Officer Jen St. Germaine provided an Intergovernmental and Community Relations update; including the current status of Community Council Elections, and updates on Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) meetings taking place with Canada.
Community Council Elections
Community Relations Manager, Loma Rowlinson, was nominated to be the Electoral Officer (EO), and has completed 18 online council elections since November 2021. By February 9, 2023, all but one of the MNO Community Councils will have hosted their elections online via the OneFeather platform.
Voting announcement packages have been developed (including information on how to vote, important dates, troubleshooting and nomination forms). Work has also been conducted with Registry and Communications to maximize outreach potential and offer a more user-friendly Community Council webpage.
A Resolution passed that the PCMNO:
- Approves the extension of PCMNO Resolution #PC220206-02, affirming that electronic and telephone voting are acceptable methods of voting for Community Council elections in 2023-2024, and which are guided by the Métis Nation of Ontario Policy #2019-003: Policy on Electronic and Telephone Voting (August 2019); and
- Directs the Manager of Community Relations to work with the Chief Electoral Officer and ensure that all Community Council election dates are set to commence on time.
Intergovernmental Community Relations Update
Intergovernmental Community Relations (IGR) provided the PCMNO with a high-level update on Federal IGR meetings and related new key developments. The MNO is regularly looking for new ways to engage with MPs on the path to Métis self-government, and meetings have been held recently with Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, MPs, Senators and non- elected government officials.
Key among this outreach work with Canada is communication on the Federal Recognition Legislation, a legislative cradle which provides MNO with financial and legal supports to aid self-government negotiations and implementation of the MGRSA. The MNO and Canada continue to work together on enhancements to the MGRSA.
Additionally, the PCMNO continues its work reviewing and renewing MNO governance policies, including the Métis Rules of Order, Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality; and addressed next steps for community engagement.
Economic Development Update
Director of Rights, Research and Policy Dr. Brian Tucker
In order to develop initiatives to best serve MNO citizens and communities, Dr. Tucker proposed the PCMNO participate in a workshop focused on the various types of data, and how data may be used to support informed decision making by leadership.
Currently the MNO draws data from a variety of sources, including external data from other governments and similar organizations. The MNO has also been working diligently to collect and organize its own data, partnering with organizations like ICES to address the gap in Métis-specific research.
Dr. Tucker explained that the value of gathering and interpreting data sets is not limited to economic development, but can be applied to a much broader range of initiatives and activities. Data can also be harnessed when fine tuning specific MNO programs and services. President Froh cited the recent Housing Census, pointing out that the data collected could be applied to research in adjacent policy areas such as education and health.
Dr. Tucker advised that this work with data should always consider the unique needs, challenges, and realities of MNO communities. All require different approaches and should respond to the needs and nuances of local and regional communities. Leadership plan to engage with Councils and communities to identify any existing data sets, and areas where more research is needed.
National Matters Update
President Froh, Chair Rowlinson, Jennifer St. Germain, CSO, Joanne Meyer, COO
Years of dysfunction at a national level had stalled progress being made in many areas of self-government and in advancing shared priorities of Métis governments. Today, the MNO is pleased to return to national tables where productive, collaborative work can resume across all levels with partners.
For the first time in years, senior officials and leadership will be meeting under the permanent bilateral mechanism to renew relationships and advance the Métis-rights agenda. The PBM falls under the Canada Métis Nation Accord, which identifies shared priorities and sub-accords in areas like Housing and Early Learning and Child Care. Additionally, MNO Directors and staff are working closely with the MNC and sister governments on issues like registries and budgets with the federal government, including initiatives like extended Métis health benefits.
The MNO continues work with sister Métis governments on the MGRSA, and in pushing Canada to follow through on commitments made, including Federal Recognition Legislation. At this time, the MNO’s top three priorities are to secure:
- Self-Government Agreement and the Federal Recognition Legislation
- A federal Métis claims policy
- Long-term stable financial relationships funding.
Brian Black, Director of Self-Government Strategy
Director of Self-Government Brian Black provided a detailed report on the Interim Fiscal Financing Agreement (“IFFA”) Allocation Plan, referencing the many workshops whose discussions informed the plan, including its proposed draft allocation categories (quantified), and next steps.
The presentation also provided an update on the Regional Bank Accounts, and referenced the upcoming Métis Youth Self-Government Simulation co-hosted with the Gordon Foundation.
Interim Fiscal Financing Agreement (“IFFA”) Allocation Plan
In February 2021, the MNO and Canada signed an Interim Fiscal Financing Agreement in which Canada committed to provide funding to support the MNO to complete all the steps required to implement the Self-Government Agreement, or “MGRSA,” signed in 2019. The IFFA provides a total of approximately $21.9 million to the MNO over three years. This one-time interim funding will support the MNO in:
- Developing an Métis Government Constitution
- Developing core Métis Government Laws (in the areas of Citizenship, Leadership Selection, and Internal Operations)
- Consultation with MNO citizens on the Constitution and MGRSA
- Preparing for and completing the ratification vote on the Constitution and the MGRSA.
It was noted that funding must provide a fair and equitable share of self-government funding to each MNO Region. Previous PCMNO Resolutions authorized up to $90,000 start up capacity per Region for the development of Regional Implementation Agreements and Workplans. PCMNO also reviewed a funding formula for Regions based on weighted allocation categories (base, councils, geography, citizens).
A Resolution passed that the PCMNO approve the Interim Fiscal Financing Agreement (IFFA) Allocation Categories, as presented, and proceed with this funding formula for the Self-Government work.
Métis Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) Engagement Plan
Joanne Meyer, Chief Operations Officer
Following several years of engagement with citizens, the MNO is beginning the implementation phase of its Métis Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) program. The MNO’s CYFS Project Team is seeking members of the community to contribute to this work and participate in upcoming Implementation Planning Workshops. Participants should be knowledgeable on family services and able to provide tangible insight and feedback related to implementation topics (e.g., Agreements, Listing, Embracing and Supporting Children, Youth and Families Through Métis Culture and Community).
Each Community Council will name two people per community to participate in these workshops. The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2022. Completed Expression of Interest should be sent by email to Alisha Kaba, Métis Nation of Ontario at email@example.com.
A Resolution was passed that the PCMNO
- Affirms the critical importance of the Métis Nation of Ontario developing a Métis Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) Program; and
- Approves moving forward the development of the CYFS Program for Regions 1-9, as presented, that is based on the following vision:
“Métis children and youth across Ontario will grow up in a stable, safe and loving environment where their voices are heard, and they are connected to their unique history, values, culture, languages, traditions and expressions of spirituality. Métis communities will exercise their inherent rights to make decisions about the care and placement of their children and Region and community-specific goals will guide solutions”.
DAY TWO | November 25, 2022
Environment and Climate Change
Linda Norheim, Director of Lands, Resources and Consultations (LRC) and Jesse Fieldwebster, Manager LRC
In 2023, the MNO is anticipated to receive $29,900,000.00 in carbon revenue recycling funds (“carbon funding”). Funds were generated from the carbon tax revenues collected by the federal government from provinces, with a portion set aside for Métis. To receive these funds, the MNO must first develop and submit its plans for spending to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
To develop goals on how to best spend the carbon funding, ECCC is providing the MNO with a $50,000.00 contribution agreement. This grant provides capacity for the MNO to develop a summary report to assist leadership in decision making related to the carbon funding. The summary report would be developed using collected citizen feedback, academic literature, and scientific research on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The report would provide options for the PCMNO to consider when setting goals for spending the carbon funding, including developing climate programming. Once the PCMNO has approved goals for spending, the MNO can request the transfer of funds from the government.
PCMNO also addressed the importance of citizen engagement and the ways in which MNO communities could voice their concerns on climate change, while working collaboratively on solutions to environmental challenges.
A Resolution was passed that, based on the carbon tax presentation provided on November 25, 2022, the PCMNO:
- Directs MNO staff to engage with Regions, communities, citizens and Advisory Councils to gather information regarding their thoughts and concerns about climate change and potential climate change actions/activities that could be undertaken; and
- Provide a report on options, which should include a Métis culture-based framework response, for the PCMNO to consider, when setting goals for the spending of carbon tax funding.
Registration of Updated MNO Bylaws and Policies
MNO President Froh and Chair Hank Rowlinson
Legal consultants from Pape, Salter, Teillet (PST), provided the PCMNO with updated copies of several key MNO governance documents and policies, which had been updated in accordance with the special resolutions adopted by the 2022 MNO Annual General Assembly in August. Updated documents and policies included:
- current registered copy of the Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Bylaws (“Bylaws”)
- current version of MNO Policy #2021-001: Eligibility for Direct Benefit Programs and Services (“Direct Benefit Policy”)
- current version of MNO Policy #2022-002: Verification of MNO Citizenship File Status to Other Governments and Third Party Institutions (“File Status Verification Policy”).
A Resolution was passed that the PCMNO approves the amendment to article 51(c) of the MNO Secretariat Bylaws to replace the word “to” with “not” before the word “hinder.”
MNO Events Update
Jen St. Germaine, Chief Strategy Officer and Joanne Meyer, Chief Operations Officer
PCMNO acknowledged the recent Louis Riel Day events that took place across the province, including in-person ceremonies in Ottawa and at Queens Park and City Hall in Toronto. The Law Society of Ontario also held its annual Louis Riel Day panel discussion, this year focusing on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The MNO is quickly approaching two significant milestones in MNO history: the 30th anniversary of the MNO Secretariat, and the 20th anniversary of the Powley Decision. In celebration of these achievements, special events will be taking place across Ontario, including symposiums and cultural activities.
Preliminary planning has also begun on the MNO Canoeing Expedition, which will invite Metis Governing Members and youth to participate in this exciting and historic expedition. The route is still being finalized but will conclude in Ottawa in time for the 2023 MNO AGA.
Councilor Case also referenced work being done within the Sault Ste Marie community, including the Sault Ste Marie Cultural Centre, which features a permanent exhibit on Powley. A grand opening and Métis rights conference are planned to take place next fall in Sault Ste Marie, also in celebration of the historic “30-20” MNO anniversaries.