In recent days MNBC has received both direct feedback and comments through our social media channels regarding MNBC’s decision to hold a hybrid in-person/virtual AGM in September – something that was approved by way of a resolution at the MNGA meeting held last spring.
First off, the health and safety of our citizens and staff remains a top priority for the MNBC. As such, leading up to the AGM we have worked directly with the Provincial Health Office and WorkSafeBC. MNBC is not only meeting, but exceeding, all public health requirements with the planning of our AGM – an important legislative function of our government. They have approved our comprehensive protocols, and are in full support of our plans. The protocols we have developed can be found in detail here, below are some highlights:
- Attending delegates will be divided and must remain in rooms that permit less than 50 people to support physical distancing requirements. Each of these rooms will be in separate parts of the hotel, but connected using technology.
- MNBC staff and contractors will be on-site to not only ensure continued sanitation of all high-touch surfaces, but to ensure that physical distancing is maintained at all times.
- Each delegate will be pre-assigned a colour code [which will be prominently displayed on their badge] for their designated room and the mingling of delegates outside of the colour code will not be permitted on site. To be clear, physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
- All participants will be provided with a complimentary face mask and asked to wear it at all times when indoors.
- There will be multiple sanitation stations and participants will be provided with personal sanitizer.
- There will be no group events, banquets, trade show booths, or supplementary and committee meetings at the AGM. This includes the ceremonially grand entry. This is not a social event. We are strictly here to pass important legislation and to meet our constitutional requirements.
We’ve also significantly upgraded our audio visual capacity to broadcast quality to ensure the entire AGM including debates/discussions will be live-streamed across the province for those not attending in-person. We are encouraging limited in-person participation, and hope our chartered communities can ensure that we meet our legal, legislated quorum, while respecting the fact that our traditional gathering is not feasible this year. We are actively working to provide a high-quality virtual experience for all MNBC citizens and are adapting to the “new normal” to the best of our ability. We will have more details on what the virtual participation will look like in the coming weeks, and appreciate your patience as we work through this part with our audio visual and event specialists.
It is important to note there are also some constitutional requirements we simply must meet. While the ministerial order impacting the BC Societies Act provides some flexibility to organizations meeting their bylaws and requirements, the MNBC Constitution does not. In our Constitution, article 68 states, “an Annual General Meeting of the Métis Nation British Columbia shall be held annually during the month of September. The precise dates and location of an AGM shall be determined at the AGM immediately preceding that AGM.” One of the challenges with a number of pieces of our legislation is the lack of flexibility. Neither staff, nor the MNBC board, nor the MNGA as a collective, have the ability to adjust the month the AGM is held.
As such MNBC is proceeding with a hybrid model for our AGM this year. This is not dissimilar to what other governments that we interface with have done. For example, the provincial government just finished over two months of a hybrid legislative session. The federal government just wrapped up a long hybrid parliamentary session. As MNBC moves toward full self-governance, we must also be prepared to adapt to our changing environment, as other governments have done. It is not lost on me that one of the pieces of resolution slated for debate and passing at this AGM is the Self-Governance Declaration.
MNBC has produced a FAQ document that might answer any other questions you might have. You can find those here.