The Province of Saskatchewan on March 18, 2020 declared a state of emergency and imposed limits on travel to and from communities or regions of the province and directed property or equipment to be deployed to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Treaty 8 Trust has been asked by Chief and Council to provide assistance to the community to respond to this emergency and ensure sufficient supplies of food are available at Fond du Lac and that urban members receive assistance for essential services, until Federal and/or Provincial assistance is received.
- The Trust Agreement does not contemplate providing financial assistance to the First Nation and its members for a declared emergency such as the Covid-19 crisis.
- Therefore, a payment for emergency assistance requires a legal amendment or change to the terms of the Trust to allow for a payment from the Capital Account, if necessary, and to suspend distribution of revenues for permitted expenditures such as inflation, housing, economic development, education, health, wellness development and cultural activities until such time as the Capital Account is replenished.
- The Treaty 8 Benefits Trustees contemplate providing an emergency assistance payment of $1,000.00 per Eligible Member from Capital Account monies which requires approval of the membership by ratification in accordance with clause 20.1 and 20.2 of the Trust Agreement which states:
20.1 Any substantive changes or amendments to the terms of the Trust Agreement shall be effective only if approved by a vote of the Voters which will be conducted in accordance with the Voting Guidelines herein with the exception that such approval to be valid must result in 90% of the Voters voting and 75% of those Members voting in the Ratification Vote in favour of the amendments.
20.2 Notwithstanding the above, the Trustees by Trustee Board Resolution signed by a quorum, may make any amendments related to correcting grammatical or spelling errors or matters of a procedural or policy nature which do not affect the spirit and intent of this Trust Agreement and which assists them in carrying out their duties.
- The Trustees have decided by Resolution that to assist them in carrying out their duties in the spirit and intent of the Trust Agreement, and to address the emergency faced by members of the First Nation as soon as possible, they will:
1) suspend the procedural requirements of the Voting Guidelines;
2) declare a vote to be held between March 21, 2020 and April 8, 2020 with Eligible Voters allowed to register their vote online, or paper ballot to be provided to the Electoral Officer in Fond du Lac by April 8, 2020; and
3) ask of the Voters the following ballot question:
- Do you approve of amending the Treaty 8 Benefits Trust Agreement to temporarily suspend clause 12 which prohibits the distribution of Capital except for permitted investments, and direct the Trustees to allow an expenditure from the Capital Account to provide emergency assistance in the amount of $1,000.00 to each Eligible Member the age of majority, and to further release the Trustees and suspend all pending projects and further payments from the Trust until the Capital Account monies are replenished?