THUNDER BAY – The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski joined the Honourable Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in Toronto to formally announce the creation of the Métis Voyageur Development Fund and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the MNO and the Ontario Government on Métis economic development.
The creation of the Métis Voyageur Development Fund is the result of years of effort and work by the MNO to create an economic development arm that will be able to support Métis entrepreneurs and businesses in Ontario, similar to other successful funds and capital corporations operated by Métis in western Canada. The ultimate goal of the Fund is to make strategic investments that will positively contribute to Métis individuals, families and communities as well as to Ontario’s overall economy.
In order to support the Fund’s goal, the Ontario Government has committed $30 million over 10 years to support and enhance Métis business opportunities in Ontario. This commitment flows from discussions held under the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement which was signed in November 2008. In addition, as a part of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today, the MNO and the Ontario Government have committed to work together to attempt to secure additional contributions to the Fund from the Government of Canada.
“Today’s announcement represents a historic breakthrough for Ontario Métis. We will finally be able to provide much needed support and assistance to Métis entrepreneurs and businesses in building the economies of Métis communities, while also contributing to Ontario’s overall economic growth. On behalf of the Métis Nation, I would like to thank Minister Bentley and the Ontario Government for working with us to see this dream become a reality,” said President Lipinski.
“The Ontario Government is pleased to support the Métis Voyageur Development Fund. This Fund will provide Métis entrepreneurs and businesses in Ontario with the resources they need to develop and grow,” explained Aboriginal Affairs Minister Chris Bentley, “By supporting Métis economic development, we’re helping to boost economic growth in our province and create jobs and opportunity for all Ontarians.”
The Fund, which has been set up as an arms-length, for-profit corporation, will be professionally managed by an independent Board of Directors selected based on skill and expertise in business. An interim Board of Directors for the Fund has been appointed. A listing and the biographies for the Fund’s interim Board of Directors follow below. The current fiscal year is a developmental one for the Fund. It is anticipated that funding will not begin to flow from the Fund until 2012. In addition, over the next few months, a province-wide call for additional Directors to the Fund will be undertaken.
For additional information about the MNO and the Métis Voyageur Development Fund visit www.metisnation.org.
- The Government of Ontario has committed $3 million annually to the Métis Voyageur Development Fund for 10 years.
- There are already several successful Métis capital corporations and funds in Western Canada, including, the Louis Riel Capital Corporation (Manitoba), the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (Saskatchewan) and the Apeetogosan Capital Corporation (Alberta).
- In the 2006 Census, 73,605 Ontarians identified themselves as Métis.