TORONTO, June 20, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, 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 are attached.  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.

Quick Facts:

  • 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.

Board of Directors

June 2011

Paul J. DeVillers, PC, LLB
Board Chair

Paul served as Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Simcoe North from 1993 to 2005.  He was first elected to parliament for the Liberal Party of Canada in the Canadian federal election, 1993 and re-elected in 1997, 2000, and 2004 before retiring from office prior to the 2006 election.  During his political career, he has served as the Secretary of State for Physical Activity and Sport and Deputy House Leader in the Chretien Cabinet as well as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations, and the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment. He chaired the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the Justice Subcommittee that reviewed the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), the Justice Subcommittee on Organized Crime. Before entering politics, he studied at the University of Ottawa and practiced municipal law.  Paul is Métis from the well-known Métis community around Georgian Bay.  He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife and family.

Karen Drake, BA, MA, JD
Board Vice-Chair

Karen practises in the area of civil litigation with a focus on commercial litigation, Aboriginal legal issues, human rights, and labour and employment. She has a record of success before various tribunals and courts, including the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Divisional Court.  Prior to joining Erickson & Partners, Karen articled at Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP. She subsequently completed a clerkship at the Ontario Court of Appeal, where she served as a law clerk to Mr. Justice Stephen Borins, Madam Justice Susan Lang, Mr. Justice Harry LaForme, and Madam Justice Gloria Epstein.  Karen is Métis and lives in Thunder Bay with her husband.

Clint Davis, BBA, LLB, MPA

Clint is the President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB).  He is an Inuk from Nunatsiavut, and was the National Director of Aboriginal Banking at BMO Bank of Montreal before joining CCAB. Prior to that, he held senior positions with the Government of Canada. Clint holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Acadia University, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University. He is a Canada/US Fulbright scholar and a recipient of two scholarships from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Clint is also the Chair of the Labrador Inuit Capital Strategy Trust for the Nunatsiavut Government.  Clint lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter.


For further information:

Mike Fedyk
Director of Communications
Métis Nation of Ontario 
500 Old St. Patrick Street, Unit D
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 9G4
Ph: 613-798-1488 Ext. 108
Fx: 613-722-4225
E-mail: mikef@metisnation.org
Web: www.metisnation.org

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