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February 9, 2024
On January 23, 2024 a virtual meeting of the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) was held via Zoom with elected MNO leadership, staff and citizens attending the online session. The President’s Update began by highlighting the many developments that have taken place at a national level, including Bill C-53, the recent Métis National Council (MNC) General Assembly, and the upcoming Permanent Bilateral Mechanism Senior Officials Meeting with Canada. Also providing updates to the PCMNO were members of MNO staff and consultants, including updates from Finance and Mercer on the proposed PCMNO “Role Profiles.” Following these updates, PCMNO adjourned for an in-camera session.
MNO President Froh
As the first public PCMNO meeting of the new year, President began her update by welcoming citizens and acknowledging the many recent workshops PCMNO have been engaged in over the last few weeks, including workshops with Finance and MNO consultants on Role Profiles.
The January meeting also took place on Bell’s Lets Talk Day, a day where Canadians are encouraged to reflect upon the importance of mental health and address stigma. President Froh praised the work of MNO leadership in furthering this necessary dialogue year-round and reminded attendees of the MNO supports and services available, including the MNO 24 Hr Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line (1-877-767-7572).
Bill C-53, the federal legislation introduced in support of Métis self-government, remains a significant focus of the MNO’s collective advocacy and is pivotal to Métis self-determination and reconciliation. At this time, MNO leadership have met with Parliamentarians from all parties to foster productive dialogues and garner support for the passage of this historic legislation.
While the Bill is currently being reviewed by the House of Commons INAN Committee, the President acknowledged the significant delays that have occurred since its introduction. Unfortunately, this delay represents more than an administrative hurdle for the Métis community, it has produced significant impacts upon the mental health and wellbeing of MNO citizens, and particularly Métis youth.
The President emphasised that a majority of conversations regarding Bill C-53 with government have been supportive and positive; however there has been a lot of misinformation about the Bill and vocal opposition from some First Nation leadership. The President reminded attendees that not all First Nations oppose the legislation, and the MNO remains focused on the work to strengthen and build these relationships and to educate about this crucial legislation with respectful outreach and engagement efforts.
Finally, with the return of Parliament to Ottawa next week, the MNO will amplify its advocacy efforts, enlisting its allies to voice support and raise public awareness regarding Bill C-53 and its significance.
Next steps include:
The President also indicated that other government priorities, including amendments to the Impact Assessment Act; the introduction of pharmacare legislation; and the federal budget, could yield further delays to the scheduling of Bill C-53’s third reading.
Other recent developments regarding Bill C-53 include:
MNC General Assembly
In December, the Métis National Council (MNC) General Assembly was held in Ottawa with many MNO leadership attending the two-day event. The President noted that every resolution passed over the two days was approved by consensus; and that the assembly sent a strong message to Canada and Parliamentarians to support Bill C-53 and stand in solidarity with Métis governments pursuing self-determination.
The MNC AGA also served as a space for members of the MNC ‘Expert Panel’ to outline the process undertaken in carrying out a previous MNC resolution relating to citizenship and a ‘National Definition’ of Métis. The resolution mandated the creation of an Expert Panel to review the history of the seven historic Ontario communities “through the lens of the National Definition and contemporary Métis governance.” To aid in this work, the MNO has been invited to provide submissions and present at a round table discussion set for the end of October in Ottawa.
An itinerary set for February 27-28 in Ottawa includes an opportunity to address the seven Ontario historic Métis communities, in addition to presenting on behalf the broader MNO. Each community will be submitting briefs, and written submissions will be accepted until January 31. Written submissions in regards to the MNO’s seven historic communities will be due by February 16.
These written submissions will be reviewed by panel members in advance of the presentation, which focuses on the respective history of each community. The panel has also indicated they have engaged the MNC’s Grandmothers’ Council and the National Youth Council in this work; and the panel is open to inviting representatives from the seven historic communities to visit in June, prior to the completion of their review.
Permanent Bilateral Mechanism (PBM)
Also taking place at the national level includes the upcoming Permanent Bilateral Mechanism (PBM) Senior Leaders meeting with the MNC and governing members. Established under the Canada Métis Nation Accord, these regular meetings provide an opportunity for the MNO and partners to continue advancing a Métis rights agenda on a government-to-government basis. At least seven cabinet ministers are confirmed to attend the meeting being held January 30-31, 2024.
Key topics include:
The PBM will also discuss progress that has been made and secure new commitments from Canada for the year ahead and in advance of the 2024 budget.
Secretary-Treasurer Young and Ursula D’Angelo, CFO
Following the President’s Update, PCMNO were then provided with a high-level overview regarding the finance update for Quarter 2 (Q2) ending in September 2023.
The Secretary-Treasurer also referenced two recent PCMNO workshops held January 10-11 in which MNO Directors presented on activities and budgets within their respective branches and invited questions from PCMNO. A summary of the workshops and the Q2 financial update was then led by the Chief Financial Officer. Highlights to the presentation included:
Request for Proposals (RFP)
In November, the MNO announced it will be issuing its first ever “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for auditing services beginning in January 2024. For most organizations, issuing an RFP every 5 years is considered ‘best practice.’ In over 30 years, the MNO has never before issued an RFP.
The MNO has currently invited six accounting firms to develop proposals, inclusive of staff and processes, with a deadline set for the end of March. MNO citizens with experience and expertise are also welcome to be involved in this process by being a part of the “selection committee,” which will include members of the MNO Finance and Audit Committee and PCMNO. Expressions of interest will be circulated to the community in the near future.
PCMNO Role Profiles
President Froh, Secretary-Treasurer Young, and Stefano Biscotti and Mona Ahamadi, Mercer
In follow up to the PCMNO “Role Profiles” workshop held on January 18, representatives from MNO consultants (Mercer) attended the PCMNO meeting to review the latest updates to draft role profiles based on the input from the PCMNO.
The creation of role profiles builds upon foundational research undertaken in relation to the 2020 PCMNO Compensation Framework. These resulting and refreshed job descriptions clarify the responsibilities associated with various PCMNO positions to better inform MNO citizens interested in running for office. Developed in collaboration with Mercer, role profiles contribute to the MNO’s policy of openness and transparency regarding the realistic expectations, commitments and compensation associated with each elected position.
The presentation by Mercer provided an overview of the context, objectives, and process involved in developing clear and accurate role profiles. The presentation also provided a fulsome review of the role profile template, which outlines key elements such as:
Following this review of proposed changes, a resolution was passed that
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PCMNO accepts and adopts the updated role profiles for the PCMNO with a two-year review cycle, as amended; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the PCMNO directs that the updated role profiles be made available publicly to citizens and used to inform the next phase/review of the compensation framework reflecting 2024 data.