Today, at a virtual announcement hosted by MNBC Acting President and Minister of Digital Government Lissa Smith and Minister of Citizenship and Community Services Patrick Harriott, Métis Nation BC unveiled a new and improved citizenship card for Métis citizens, the new registrar, and the Nation’s $1.1-million Wahkohtowin (Registry Renewal) Project.
Launched in January, the Wahkohtowin project is part of the Nation’s move toward a paperless government that will bring the Nation’s citizen registry online, address an extensive backlog of citizenship applications, and significantly improve future applications and processing times. As part of the digitization strategy, Citizens are now able to update their address online at mnbc.ca.
Among the new card’s features are an attractive redesign including Métis cultural components and the removal of the cardholder’s address, which will eliminate the need for citizens to apply for a new card every time they move. The improved cards, along with registry upgrades such as additional staff and the digitizing of 25,000 citizenship files, are expected to significantly reduce the citizenship application and approval processing time.
Among the new registry staff members is Maryann Morrison, who Smith introduced as MNBC’s new Registrar and Senior Director of Community Services. In her role, Morrison will lead the Registry Renewal Project over the next 12 months. A Métis citizen whose education includes completing programs at the University of Saskatchewan, Columbia Business School (MIT), Simon Fraser University, and University of Nevada, Morrison’s work experience includes serving as Marketing and Tourism Manager for Indigenous Tourism Alberta and Director for the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.
“We’re delighted to welcome Maryann to the MNBC team,” said Smith. “Her experience creating and executing large-scale digital strategies that focus on the end-user will be invaluable as we work to streamline and improve each citizen’s experience with our registry.”
Additional key components of Wahkohtowin include new registry equipment and software, office supply support for communities and new full-time staff positions. Those positions include new registry support personnel, regional liaison staff members and a new Citizenship Recruitment Coordinator position to assist new citizens with their applications and promote the benefits of citizenship.
“The updating of the current registry system is well overdue. The timeframe to process new applications and issue renewals needs improvement,” said Kelly Roberts, President of the Prince George Métis Communication Association. “The implementation of this updated system will not only speed up the processing times, but should make applying easier for individuals who already have family members registered with MNBC.” Among the new capabilities the new system will provide are the ability to auto-generate renewals; speed up the processing times; confidentially transfer family documentation to complete files; automatically connect family members in the database; and improved functionality to locate family information.
Watch the Facebook Live announcement below.