Métis Nation BC (MNBC) gives Chartered Communities and regional representatives additional input into Early Years programming with the launch of two initiatives in early summer 2021.

The first initiative is a $500,000 Métis Early Years Community Programming Fund to support Métis Chartered communities as they work to determine what early years programs best meet their community’s needs. Among the numerous programs and service areas addressed by Early Years Community Programming are culture and language, traditional Métis parenting, Better Beginnings, early childhood development, and family drop-in. The new funding will ensure Chartered Communities have the flexibility to tailor that programming to the distinct needs of families in their region.

The funding will also provide MNBC’s Ministry of Education with additional resources to deliver resources, workshops and expertise in partnership with families. Additional program and application details will be available in May 2021 with program funding available later that month.

The second initiative, Oohpikihaawashoohk: Growing our Children Together, will create a provincial co-op of families, Chartered Communities, service providers and Métis children and family agencies to support Métis-centered early learning and childcare in B.C. The $300,000 program will include a provincial Métis Early Years advisory council with early learning and child care experts from each MNBC region. The Ministry of Education will send out an expression of interest for advisory members in early May, along with additional information about advisory council roles and responsibilities.

“Growing our children together is one of the most important responsibilities we have as a Nation,” said Debra Fisher, MNBC Minister of Education. “Just as our Nation includes regions and dozens of communities that are unique in their own way, it’s important that our programs and services recognize and address their diverse needs, goals and aspirations. Our provincial co-op and new Early Years community funding will play a critical role in supporting early learning and childcare that is Métis-centred and sustainable.”

“These programs are an incredible opportunity for our parents and families,” said Monica Fisher, President, Columbia Valley Métis Association. “Having added supports give our parents opportunities to advance their skills without worrying about the added costs and struggles. A huge opportunity to bridge the gap in the socioeconomically inequities for some of our Métis families.”