The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) Metis Policy Department was created out of a key recommendation (#3.1) from the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Committee (AJIC). In the AJIC 2001 Final Report, it was recommended that “the Government of Manitoba develop and adopt, with the full participation of the Manitoba Metis Federation, a comprehensive Métis policy on matters within its jurisdiction.” At the end of March 2008, the MMF and the Province of Manitoba signed the Manitoba Metis Policy Participation Agreement. The purpose of this agreement is to develop a provincial Metis Policy that will strengthen the capacity of the Metis people in Manitoba to address current and emerging economic and social issues and challenges, and to help Metis people achieve greater self-reliance and socio-economic well-being. The development of the policy builds upon new and existing partnership relationships and the mutual interests of the Government of Manitoba and MMF towards the following objectives:
- 1. Improve the channels of communication between government and the MMF.
- 2. Where appropriate, expand the role of the Manitoba Metis in decision-making, problem-solving processes, implementation of government policy and programming, and in the delivery of services.
- 3. Establish a means by which relationships and interactions between the various Government of Manitoba departments and agencies and Manitoba Metis can be formalized and revitalized.
- 4. Create a capacity within Government departments and agencies to understand better the implications of government policy and programming decisions on Manitoba Metis, on a consistent and timely basis.
- 5. Provide direction to all departments and agencies of the Government of Manitoba in their relationships with the MMF and the Manitoba Metis people.
Although the Metis Policy will cover all provincial departments and agencies, major subject areas for consideration in the development of the policy include: The work plan outlines, in broad strokes, the approach to be taken to develop the policy in five phases, with completion expected in early 2010:
- 1. Establishing the Partnership
- 2. Research
- 3. Engagement
- 4. Analysis
- 5. Developing Options and Recommendations
Based on the work of the research phase, five draft principles were developed to guide the policy. The principles deal with recognition, partnership, taking a comprehensive approach, capacity and accountability.
Between March and June 2009, the Government of Manitoba and the MMF conducted an extensive public engagement process, including a facilitated presentation and survey conducted at MMF Regional Assemblies throughout the province; workshops and town hall events in rural, urban and northern MMF regions; workshops with Metis women, youth and Elders; and interviews with organizations that work with and serve Metis people throughout the province. Additionally, a website, www.metispolicy.ca, was developed to both allow citizens to provide input and to keep updated on the policy development.
The objective of the public engagement was to generate feedback on the draft principles, priorities that the policy should address, ways to enhance communication and engagement among Metis, the Government of Manitoba and the MMF, knowledge about the roles that various organizations play in serving Manitoba’s Metis population and ways to improve relationships among the organizations serving Metis people.
A Métis Policy Forum involving the Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba and the MMF is planned for later this fall. The intent of the forum is to share information about emerging priorities for the Metis Policy and to identify practical processes that will improve programs and services for Metis people.
The next phase of the process is the development of a policy framework for the Metis Policy. Care will be taken to ensure that the recommendations are consistent with existing provincial law, support the goals of both the MMF and the Province of Manitoba, represent best practices, are comprehensive in nature and are consistent with existing agreements and relationships between the MMF and Manitoba.
Manitoba’s Metis population will be served by the policy. The policy will strengthen the capacity of Metis people to address current and emerging economic and social issues and challenges, and help Metis people achieve greater self-reliance and socio-economic well-being. The Government of Manitoba and MMF departments and agencies will also benefit from the policy, as an improved relationship between Manitoba and the MMF will lead to improved equity, effectiveness and efficiency in the way that both broad government initiatives and devolved provincial programs are delivered.
For more information, visit http://metispolicy.ca/
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