Open Letter to Métis People – Métis Health

Métis People of British Columbia,

I am writing this letter addressed to Métis people in British Columbia in response to a number of inquiries about the position of the BC Métis Federation in response to the MNBC health survey being conduct at this time entitled the Métis Public Health Surveillance Project.

The BC Métis Federation strongly recommends that Métis individuals provided this MNBC request for more personal information carefully weigh the MNBC indicators as follows:

  1. MNBC has not been transparent or accountable on a variety of issues for years.
  2. MNBC is now requesting more of your personal information so “MNBC can inform the development of programs and policies.”
  3. MNBC suggests they will ensure your privacy but MNBC continues to fail in this regard. I am aware of MNBC citizenship card holders that terminated their MNBC citizenship cards months ago. MNBC was provided clear instructions to immediately remove these individuals from the MNBC central registry. MNBC did not, sent these individuals this last survey and clearly has shown they will disregard the request to immediately return their personal information. This has breached federal privacy legislation by not removing or returning their personal information as directed. I am aware complaints will be filed with the federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada as a result.
  4. Who is the MNBC Ethics Committee, what is their term of reference?
  5. Much of the language is ambiguous and almost contradicts itself. For example on point #9 suggests the data will be destroyed at the end of the project. However, the point #10 states the data will be used beyond the project.
  6. Plus so much more.

The other major issue in the latest MNBC approach to this important project once again focuses on the lack of Métis community consultation by MNBC and their staff. The MNBC documentation suggests clearly that MNBC will take the results of this data to sign agreements with the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Cancer Agency. The question is why? Will communities be consulted if MNBC is signing agreements on information for your families? There is no clarity on the process before any MNBC signings and how MNBC would ensure your input into that process.

The issue of consultation regarding Métis health rears its head this weekend in Vancouver. MNBC has organized a health conference this weekend for the Vancouver Coastal Health region. This health region impacts Vancouver and much of the coast on the mainland. Once more MNBC has had little involvement or consultation with any of the Métis organizations locally and has proceeded without any upfront consultation or meaningful participation. Many of us know MNBC and the Vancouver Métis Cultural Society have separated for a variety of reasons in 2011. However, the hundreds of members in the Vancouver Métis Cultural Society must be consulted as they live and breathe and utilize local health services. It is quite clear MNBC will use this as a leverage to politicize the issues in Vancouver and have likely initiated conversations with individuals to start up a new organization.

Given these dynamics I urge Métis people to reconsider submitting any such personal information to this project and more importantly not to attend the MNBC function this weekend. By attending and participating you endorse these ongoing MNBC governance and program dysfunctional actions.

We respect this is a personal choice but the BC Métis Federation strongly urges you to consider these points given the mounting evidence on gross incompetence.

Thank you,

Keith Henry
British Columbia Métis Federation


Click here to download this letter in PDF format. Click here to download the MNBC Health Survey Package in PDF format.


10 Responses to Open Letter to Métis People – Métis Health

  1. Richard Hallett January 26, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    When I received the request I carefully read the release. It was broader than needed for the purpose they described. I chose to not release my info. I don’t trust MNBC.

  2. Keith Henry January 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Thanks Richard,

    Great to have you post for the first time.

    I have already been contacted by many people following BC Metis Federation. Many are not signing up.

    I guess now Metis health is the new way to try and make it look like MNBC is working for you.

    My last point to all is that tis event was originally scheduled in October and had to be cancelled due to low registration as admitted by MNBC.

    I wonder how much this will cost? What is the point?

    Another empty MNBC forum and waste of money, assuming the recent $1.6 million is providing the cash flow for this event as well. I would have used the money to assist Metis families or elders in the Vancouver health region who cannot afford medical care such as diabetes, cancer treatments, transportation to appointments, homecare, etc. I am sure 10,000 – $20,000 could have helded a lot of people.


  3. Angie Iesha Steel January 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    I too chose not to release any information in fact I will be sending back to them with my cut up membership card

  4. Tim St. Denis January 27, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    This Metis Health Surveillance Program has been in the works for a number of years and Dr. Hutchinson and Tanya Devoren have put in a lot of hours to make this work. Unfortunately the accusations against MNBC’s Registry that have gone seemingly unchecked have comprimised their efforts.
    I have no problems with point #9 which refers to “personal information” which will be destroyed by Dr. Hutchinson and point #10 the refers to “anonymous data” which can be used as needed.
    I have no problem with the integrity of the Health Surveillance team but much less confidence in MNBC’s Registry.

  5. Richard Lucier-larson January 27, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Re- arranging deck chairs on the Titanic anyone ?

  6. BC Metis January 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    BC Metis Federation Board Meeting is NOW LIVE 1 PM
    Go to or click directly on the link

  7. Beth Goulet-Hillier January 30, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    In all the years of having my MNBC membership, I have never had MNBC ever send anything to me, or have had them notify me of upcoming events in or around our local area.
    When I received the survey I read it and then shredded it.

    IMO ~ I don’t believe MNBC deserves to have any more of my personal information. (Period) to use for any reasons.

    My citizen card is going back to them shortly *Cut in two* with (revoke of permission) request that they stop using any information that they do currently hold about me, my father, grand children & family.

    I believe this Métis Public Health Surveillance Project by MNBC is more so a grab at funding they never really plan to use for any of us. After reading it, it appears it was developed quickly and without much thought. Or maybe it was with thought but appearing more of deceit ?

  8. Peter Hutchinson February 21, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Thank you Tim for supporting us. It is unfortunate that politics gets in the way of people trying to help people. As for the Members that revoked their MNBC Citizen Card, I apologize for sending you this information on the CDSP. I set a date a number of Months ago, before july 2011, to create the mailing list for the mail out so that we could get a number of quotes for printing and mailing of all the consent forms. Between that time and the mail out I was unable to change the mailing list. I will apologize in advance as well that you may receive a reminder post card.
    I wish that some people would call me with their questions on the CDSP, as i don’t think anyone at BCMF could answer them as well as I can, seeing how this project has been in the works for a number of years.
    There is no grand conspiracy nor is there any money grab.
    It is broad in scope so that future data matching projects may occur and improve services and programs for Metis people in BC.
    The only information that would be shared is that you are Metis, if you are proud of that fact why would you not let the BC government know that you are Metis? MNBC does not receive any of your personal Health information.
    This is an age of evidenced based program and policy development. Fiscally responsible governments recognize that they need data before developing programs so that they can measure the success of the program. Without the information that the CDSP is currently gathering there is little hope to improve services for Metis people in BC.
    The Terms of reference for the ethics committee can be found online at the MNBC CDSP web page.
    The services suggested in place of the health forum would be great, too bad no agency would provide such funding until we have the numbers to support the demonstrated need.
    I am an independent contractor and the views and opinions here are my own.

  9. BC 1234 February 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Although you are trying to rationalize that no conspiracies are going on you are not on th other end of Joe Gereluks slap suits. The very collection of our health numbers is for what reason?

  10. Peter Hutchinson March 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    I do not understand the reference to MNBC’s legal counsel, i refer only to the program that i work on for all Metis people, there is no conspiracy within this project.

    We collect personal health numbers to share with the BC Ministry of Health so that they can identify the Metis within their Administrative Health Records. If you feel that MNBC should not hold your personal health number you do not have to include it, but you can still consent. In such an instance we will use your name, address, and date of birth to to Identify Metis in the MoH Records.

    It is preferable to have a health number so that we can be absolutely positive that we are identifying the right person. Using name, address and birth date reduces the accuracy by approximately 2-5%.

    If you are referring to health numbers, the actual percentages of how many Metis have specific health issues, then I apologize for the above description of Personal Health Numbers. The reason why this information is crucial is to inform those that work with Metis communities and people, including those Metis that work within their own community. Metis service providers have been asking for a description of Metis health status for decades. Health service providers have been relying on surveys – surveys are not collected frequently enough and personal responses are inaccurate.

    Having this health information supports a healthy and growing Metis community. I hope that if you receive a consent form to participate you thoughtfully consider the impact that your current participation could have on future generations of young Metis.

    Most Metis people know what the health of their community is and what makes their community strong. We need to demonstrate this to those who do not participate in our communities to illustrate how to become healthy, for our own people and for people around the world.
    Thanks for the opportunity to share!
    All My Relations

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