Message from the CEO
I am humbled and honoured to serve as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rupertsland Institute (RLI) and to have been given this opportunity to lead this great institution founded by the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Provincial Council in 2010. I look forward to working with the MNA and the RLI team to deliver high-quality programs and services to the Métis people under the diligent oversight of the RLI Board of Governors.
With sincere gratitude for his hard work and dedication, I wish my predecessor, Lorne Gladu heartfelt congratulations. His 25-year legacy includes building the Métis Nation of Alberta Labour Market Development Program from its inception to its eventual transition as an affiliate in 2010. I look forward to building off his work and will consider myself fortunate if I can have even half the impact Lorne did. On behalf of RLI, thank you Lorne.
Who We Are
RLI’s sole shareholder is the Métis people of Alberta – as represented by the MNA Provincial Council. RLI owes its foundation and tremendous growth to the many partnerships and agreements negotiated by the MNA government with funding partners that include the federal and provincial governments. Agreements are in place to support Métis students from pre-school to post-graduate studies. The MNA Provincial Council has assigned three mandates to RLI in the areas of education, training and research. RLI executes these mandates from its 10 Métis Education, Training, and Information Services (METIS) Centres, a head office located in Edmonton, Alberta and mobile units that travel to rural communities throughout the province. As CEO, my role is to ensure that we deliver on each mandate with quality and commitment to the Métis community to meet the needs, aspirations, and dreams of the people we serve.
Through our work, RLI creates programs and provides services that support its vision for a “skilled, knowledgeable and self-reliant Métis Nation”. Every program and service that we develop reinforces our responsibility to:
- Labour market self-sufficiency
- Informed decision-making
- Strategic partnerships
- Lifelong learning
- Enhanced accountability
In each of our areas of responsibility and mandates, there are many exciting things happening. Here are a few of the highlights from each area and I would highly encourage you to visit our website to learn more about each of our mandates:
- Our Post-Secondary Education (PSE) program is one of our most popular programs and is made possible by a funding agreement between the Government of Canada and the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA).
- MNA citizens are prioritized in accessing PSE funds for broad supports provided for tuition and other fees
- Over 1,700 Métis citizens have utilized this program since its inception in 2020.
- Through another agreement between Canada and the MNA for Early Learning and Child Care, a new Métis Pre-School Early Learning Program has been piloted. Based on significant demand, I am proud to say that the program will be continued.
Thanks to an agreement between the Government of Alberta and the MNA, Métis high school students are being empowered to pursue a post-secondary education through the Métis Access to Post-Secondary (MAPS) Program. RLI ambassadors comprising of RLI clients in post-secondary programs provide demonstrations and presentations on their educational journey and career path. They tell their story of perseverance in pursuing their post secondary dreams while sharing insights into career pathways that are possible with hard work and support from Rupertsland.
- At Rupertsland Institute, we know that Métis youth who are connected to their culture are the thriving future of our community. By providing cultural education, learning tools, and resources for students in K-12, we can help influence that future. One of the initiatives we are most proud of is our social media platform, the Rupertsland Education Community Connection (RECC Room). The RECC Room provides youth with virtual classroom field trips and a variety of programs and events through a familiar medium that puts RLI resources in their hands through the ubiquitous iPhones and devices ever present in today’s e-world. I would encourage you to check it out as there is always something fun happening in the RECC room.
- The MNA unveiled the Métis Memories Mural at its permanent home in Métis Crossing in September 2022. This RLI project sponsored by a grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage was inspired by the personal stories of residential school survivors such as Grande Prairie Métis Elder Angie Crerar, who travelled to Rome to meet the Pope with MNA President Audrey Poitras and Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron.
- A great source of pride has been our Métis Foundational Knowledge Themes teaching and learning series developed entirely by the Métis community through years of meetings and engagements with past and present Métis leaders, Elders, knowledge-keepers, academics, and youths guided by dedicated Rupertsland educators. Impressively, more than 20 percent of Alberta educators have completed professional development based on the Métis themes covering foundational subjects such as Métis history, language, and culture. This is an important relationship with an influential profession that shapes public opinion starting at a young age.
- More than 300 Métis graduate each year with a degree or diploma from a post-secondary thanks to the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program (ISETP) Agreement. This cornerstone agreement with Canada and its earlier iterations have been in place with the MNA for more than 25 years. Under the agreement, RLI can support up to the final two semesters of post-secondary, and funding is available for Métis students seeking a degree, diploma, one-year certificate or apprenticeship. Projects to train and prepare Métis people for high demand occupations are also sponsored through ISETP.
- Women in Microbusiness: This new program is also funded under ISETP and was created through a partnership with Apeetogosan Métis Development Corporation. The program creates an economic stimulus for Métis women by offering loans and grant services to start a microbusiness. Many clients who have taken the program have found success managing the smaller loan sizes supplemented by grants from RLI, and I am thrilled to say the program will continue due to high demand and impressive results.
- Our Métis Training to Employment (MTE) Program links training with employment, and we continue to find new ways to assist and prepare Métis individuals in finding meaningful employment. From job searches, to resume writing, and industry safety tickets to job fairs and summer student programs, we work with Métis people to navigate the labour market and close the employment/skills gap between Métis and non-Indigenous Canadians.
- The Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research (RCMR) was created in 2011 to serve as an academic research entity designed specifically for concerns related to Métis people.
- Research continues to be a foundation for our growth and in May 2021, the MNA, RLI and the University of Alberta renewed their relationship by signing an agreement to continue support for the RCMR. This partnership demonstrates how the Métis Nation and a post-secondary school can collaborate to create research through a Métis lens that can inform policy makers and influence leaders in government, academia, business, and many sectors.
In the years ahead, the need for skilled trade workers will be in high demand in Alberta and Rupertsland is pleased to launch a new program that targets 150 first-year Red Seal apprentices annually. The Apprenticeship Services Program launched this fall was made possible by an agreement between the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada and the MNA. Employers are offered incentives to hire the apprentices while RLI provides funding and counseling to identify needs with students and ensure they are ready, willing, and able to complete training. With the goal of creating welcoming workplaces, culturally informed diversity training for employers will support recruitment, onboarding, and retainment of Métis apprentices.
We are excited about a ground-breaking partnership with NorQuest College that will see Rupertsland open the first Métis Students Services (MSS) Centre located on a post-secondary campus anywhere in the Métis homeland. This will increase access to MSS supports designed to provide funding for ongoing individual needs of Métis students while they’re in school to help them stay in school. The centre will be a home away from home on campus for Métis students to find support while showcasing Métis culture in a respectful way.
Additionally, the recent signings of new pioneering Métis Nation Education Services Agreements with three Alberta school districts and the MNA will enable Rupertsland to enhance its K to 12 teaching and learning resources for Métis students in the districts. The milestone agreements couldn’t have happened without strategic groundwork that began several years ago through RLI’s involvement with the College of Alberta School Superintendents and the Alberta Teachers Association at stakeholder events and meetings of Indigenous working groups connected to CASS and the ATA.
Finally, with the decisive and overwhelming support MNA citizens demonstrated for the Otipemisiwak Métis Constitution, we are all excited at Rupertsland about what a future under the new Otipemisiwak Métis Government will look like now that Métis people are in control of creating new laws with their citizen’s best interests in their hearts and minds.
I am grateful to the Métis community for welcoming me into the position as CEO and for entrusting me with this leadership role. I believe that together with our strong management team, we will continue to provide access to quality education, training, and research. Through these foundational pillars, we will enhance the self-sufficiency and well-being of all Alberta Métis people.