New electronic database will drastically reduce citizenship application and processing times.

Métis Nation BC (MNBC) is taking a major step towards becoming the first paperless Indigenous government in Canada with a proposed $1.1-million investment in the Registry Renewal Project. The aim is to move the Nation’s citizen registry online and significantly reduce citizenship application and processing times while enhancing the security of citizen information.

MNBC currently has a backlog of applications and renewals, in part due to an outdated database and manual systems. Using the current system, the application and approval process for Métis people to become registered citizens in BC can take as long as 18 months. Once the project is completed, that processing time is expected to drop to two months or less for fully documented new applications and less than 30 days for a simple renewal.  

The draft 2021-22 Operating Budget not only includes funding for new registry equipment, software and human resources – but also much-needed community supports. Up to three new regional outreach staff positions are being proposed to support the work of chartered communities. Furthermore, a new Citizenship Recruitment Coordinator position will be created to support community Presidents and/or individuals with their citizen applications and promoting the benefits of Métis citizenship.  

“MNBC is focused on improving the experience for applicants and citizens, increasing our capacity to meet the much greater volume of applications, while maintaining the very high and rigorous standard of work that our registry is known for,” said Patrick Harriott, Minister of Citizenship and Community Services, MNBC. “To achieve those goals, we need a system that will efficiently and effectively manage citizen records, enhance our ability to use data to inform our decisions, and meet the needs of Métis citizens.”

As the work of MNBC continues to expand, the need for a networked data management tool for the registry and all ministry programs is essential. The new system will begin with the Registry, with the capability to scale out to all other ministries within MNBC.

Work on the project has already begun with an MNBC working group overseeing a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process for a technology services provider with expertise in data management, storage, migration, digitization, security, reporting and more.

Daniel Fontaine, CEO for MNBC also announced that Maryann Morrison will begin work as our new Acting Registrar effective March 1.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming Maryann to the senior management team in this pivotal role,” says Fontaine. “I want to thank Tracy Milton for her time serving in this role over the last six months as we undertook an extensive search for a new Registrar.”

The entire Registry Renewal Project is expected to take approximately one year to complete. During this time the registry will be operating ‘business as usual’.

Once the new Online Métis Application System (OMAS) goes live, it will provide the ability to: auto-generate renewals; speed up processing times; confidentially transfer family documentation to complete files; automatically connect family members in the database; and more easily provide genealogical verification.

Citizens and the public will not be impacted by these changes and may actually experience early improvements in the coming weeks. This includes the activation of a new system that allows citizens and applicants to easily update their address online or by phone.