Métis Nation British Columbia’s Cabinet has approved an historic $79-million annual budget, with significant investments in Chartered Communities and programming for Métis individuals in B.C.
The budget’s approval comes after MNBC, under its openness and transparency, posted the full budget overview online and held a consultation session with Chartered Community Presidents, both for the first time at the Nation.
The budget includes some of the following highlighted investments:
- $2.9 million to the Ministry of Citizenship and Community Services, including the $1.1-million Wahkohtowin Registry Renewal project;
- $430,000 to the Ministry of Children and Families that includes the hiring of new social workers for the first time in MNBC’s history;
- $356,000 to the Ministry of Culture, Heritage and Language with funding to support Métis artisans who have been impacted by COVID;
- $16.6 million to the Ministry of Early Learning and K-12 Education highlighted by the historic investments in programming including Métis Family Connections, Métis Early Years Community Programming Fund, and Oohpikihaawashoohk: Growing our Children Together;
- $514,000 to the Ministry of Economic Development and Natural Resources to help our Métis businesses thrive and provide sustainable long-term revenue for MNBC;
- $16.6 million to the Ministry of Employment and Skills Training to support Métis students as they upgrade or complete their post-secondary or training programs;
- $972,000 to the Ministry of Environmental Protection investing $150,000 in emergency preparedness so MNBC is better equipped in future crises;
- $2.7 million to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions that includes funding counselling for Métis in B.C. for the first time ever;
- $24 million to the Ministry of Housing and Homelessness with a $2.4-million investment in a 4-year homelessness needs assessment;
- $100,000 to the Ministry of Sport to support healthy living and ensure Métis youth can engage in organized sports;
- $225,000 to the Ministry of Women and Gender Equity with $60,000 dedicated to the Sashing our Warriors campaign;
- $1.7 million to the Ministry of Youth with over $300,000 invested in youth program and engagement.
The budget is highlighted by a record funding of nearly $1 million to MNBC Chartered Communities, helping to address their needs as highlighted during the MNBC Budget Consultation process. This funding includes a new Community Capacity and Cultural Access Grant (CCCAG) that Métis Chartered Communities can use to serve the needs of their residents and support cultural activities. It includes $227,000 for cultural activities and $390,000 for capacity building. Thanks to three waves of COVID-19 relief funding provided by Indigenous Services Canada and $570,000 in Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples (UPIP) funding, also provided by Indigenous Services Canada, a record amount of financial support will have flowed to Métis Chartered Communities over the past 18 months.
“MNBC staff presented a comprehensive budget that balanced the needs of our communities with innovative programs and services,” says Acting President Lissa Smith. “I look forward to seeing many of these new initiatives in action.”
Plans are underway to incorporate more formal citizen engagement in the development of the 2022/23 operating budget.
“Having consultation with Chartered Communities is a great first step for involving grassroots citizens,” said June Graham, President of the Alberni Clayoquot Métis Society. “I look forward to more engagement in the future and seeing the delivery of the important programs and services included in this budget.”
MNBC’s budget also includes historic investments in culture, elders, self-government and Métis early-years, with the following approved programs:
- 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.
- Continued funding for the Ma Niki housing program, with $1.5-million more available for seniors to renovate their homes.
- 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.
- A $350,000 investment in Métis Culture and Language Institute and funding for Michif language promotion, preservation and revitalization;
- The development of Métis early-childhood educators with a $1-million investment and the creation of childcare spaces for Métis children with a $5.5-million commitment.
- Providing nearly $4-million in emergency supports to Métis post-secondary students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Over $500,000 in funding to provide health services including Métis Youth Connections, Métis Counselling Connections, the Métis Public Health Surveillance Program and tobacco/vaping cessation.
“Making investments in our communities is of paramount importance,” says Patrick Harriot, MNBC Treasurer. “This budget is a great first step in addressing some of the dire needs that communities have been asking for from MNBC.”
MNBC also recognizes the significant contributions from the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia, whose investment in MNBC makes these initiatives possible.