Métis Employment Student Allowances in Jeopardy

(Vancouver, BC) The BC Métis Federation continues to call on governments to be accountable for supporting the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) while calls for accountability to Métis people in BC have been ignored. MNBC has continued to mislead government partners, Métis communities, and individual Métis people about the state of the financial crisis the MNBC leadership and management have created. As such governments have continued their contracts that provide cash flow for programs administered by MNBC. This cash flow has enabled MNBC to continue their mismanagement while the MNBC organizational debt consistently increases each month. Today the BC Métis Federation believes MNBC has yet to accurately present the true MNBC organizational debt and the tipping point appears to have surfaced this week.

MNBC administers the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS), plus several other programs for Métis communities. BC Métis Federation is aware that youth project funding has yet to be paid for many of the youth project approved in 2011-2012. Furthermore, MNBC is contracted by Service Canada to delivered employment and training services worth an estimated $6.5 million to support Métis individuals with their education and training needs. This includes tuition, living allowances, etc. and is used to assist Métis people enter or reenter the workforce in BC. According to the MNBC Annual Reports they have employment and training offices located throughout BC to support about 800 individuals each year. Therefore the ASETS is a very important program for those most in need to reenter the workforce.

BCMF President Keith Henry stated; “I have been contacted by Métis families this week who are upset about new delays in living allowance cheques to be paid by the MNBC. I assume MNBC would inform their clients about why their living allowance cheques are suddenly delayed. Remember this past May I was informed about late tuition payments from last year and we made this issue public to ensure MNBC took responsibility and did not embarrass the students any further. However if this is true this is yet another tell tale sign of MNBC’s mismanagement and lack of transparency about the seriousness of the financial issues.”

BCMF President Henry added; “It is unfortunate that families are contacting BC Métis Federation directly this week to ask how we can assist. Where is their community leadership? I hope some of the Métis community leaders remaining who support MNBC realize BC Métis Federation predicted that MNBC would not be able to cash manage their debt load and at some point this would impact the programs. These community leaders need to hold MNBC leadership and management accountable when their community members are impacted by MNBC mismanagement, especially those most in need. ”

BCMF President Keith Henry further added; “BC Métis Federation made governments aware of this eventual MNBC financial demise and immediately to implement third party management to ensure programs, such as the ASETS, were not negatively impacted. Where was Service Canada to ensure their funds are protected for clients and delivered on time? I assume Service Canada provided MNBC an advance so why the apparent delay? I understand this is yet to be confirmed by the MNBC but why are living allowances usually paid on a regular basis suddenly late. In fact I have been informed by individuals today that MNBC staff has stated to some clients that the living allowances might be delayed for another week or so. MNBC needs to explain what is exactly going on here as this is impacting those most in need.”

BCMF President Henry concluded; “The BC Métis Federation will continue our contact with the families who have updated us about the situation. Delays are not acceptable when you are dealing with those most in need. What preventative steps have been taken to protect the programs and services in these cases by governments? We hope the ongoing MNBC mismanagement and financial crisis is not the cause, but then again BC Métis Federation has been correct about MNBC’s fiscal situation every time.”

Media Inquiries:

Keith Henry


BC Métis Federation

#300-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2

Office 1-604-638-7220

Cell 1-778-388-5013

Email k.henry@bcmetis.com


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