Budget aims to strengthen citizen and community capacity in face of COVID-19 pandemic

Métis Nation BC staff and senior management have developed and presented to the MNBC Cabinet a 2021/22 Draft Operating Budget that includes significant new investments for Chartered Communities, which will strengthen their current and future capacity and help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the budget presented by MNBC senior management is still in draft form and must be approved by the Cabinet, it includes the following recommendations:

  • The creation of a new $227,000 Community Cultural Access Grant program. This would support the ability of communities to host more cultural events and celebrations.
  • A $65,000 investment in a new and re-imagined MNBC Online Resource Centre, which will be expanded to include the promotion of Métis artists, performers and service providers.
  • The establishment of a Métis Nation Reconciliation Agreement Secretariat to begin negotiations with the B.C. Government regarding self-government and enhancing the recognition of Métis rights.
  • $300,000 in new investments earmarked to provide administrative and program support to the Ministry of Veterans and Ministry of Elders.
  • A $10,000 investment to make permanent a two-year pilot project, which provided a commemorative sash to each Métis student graduating from a high school in British Columbia.
  • As part of our Registry Renewal Project, MNBC will invest up to $250,000 to support the replacement of our current central registry database with a modernized and more user-friendly system.
  • The Ministry of Citizenship Services will invest new funds in an automated central registry system that aims to significantly reduce application processing times and increase customer service.
  • The Ministry of Children and Families will see a major expansion with the introduction of two new social workers who will both work out of regional and/or remote offices.
  • A new MNBC Métis Co-op and research program will be launched through a new $100,000 investment. This program will allow MNBC ministries and departments to hire Métis youth and students for up to four months.
  • A new Employer of Choice initiative will be launched making it easier for MNBC to attract top talent as we expand our government programs and services.
  • Increased resources in our new Ministry of Digital Government to support our goal of becoming the first paperless Indigenous government in Canada by 2025.
  • New investments will be made to increase MNBC’s ratio of remote and regional staff by expanding our community outreach team. A new Citizenship Recruitment Coordinator position will also be created to assist new citizens with their applications and promote the benefits of citizenship.
  • New investment in Finance Department software to increase MNBC accounting efficiency and facilitate faster payments to citizens and program participants.

“I want to thank MNBC staff for putting forward a very creative, thoughtful and balanced budget,” says Acting President Lissa Smith. “There is a lot of ‘out of the box’ thinking that has gone into this and staff have really listened to the needs of our community when they developed this draft budget.”

MNBC also recognizes the significant contributions from the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia, whose investment in MNBC makes these initiatives possible.

“The Province and federal government have both stepped up to the plate. In the age of reconciliation, recognizing the distinct needs of the Métis in B.C. is paramount,” says Smith. 

The draft budget will be formally reviewed by the MNBC Cabinet in February with a final vote to approve it scheduled to take place mid-March.

“We have heard loud and clear that we need to make more investments in the community,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO and Deputy Minister for MNBC. “This draft budget strikes a good balance and helps move our Nation forward as we begin to implement our next three-year strategic plan.”

Plans are underway to incorporate more formal citizen engagement in the development of the 2022/23 operating budget.

“Given the timing of the election last year, some significant changes within our senior leadership team, and COVID restrictions, we were unable to undertake as much community consultation as we would have liked,” says Fontaine. “However, next year we’re hoping to get our citizens involved even more in the budget development process so they can help better shape our next budget and ensure it meets their key priorities.”

Additional information regarding specific MNBC planned programs expenditures, including those related to COVID-19, will be made available in the coming weeks.