Emergency vote passed. Payment by April 30, 2020

Posted on: 2020-04-19

 

 

 

FOND DU LAC FIRST NATION

OFFICE OF THE INTERIM BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

TREATY #8 BENEFITS TRUST 

P.O. Box 211, FOND DU LAC, Saskatchewan S0J 0W0 

Telephone: (306) 686-2102 Fax: (306) 686-2040 

April 19, 2020 

UPDATE TO THE MEMBERSHIP 

Dear Members: 

RE: VOTING RESULTS FOR A ONE-TIME TRUST AGREEMENT AMENDMENT 

We would like to begin this important update by addressing questions raised by members of Fond du Lac First Nation, with hopes of providing more clarity. The Treaty #8 Benefits Trust Capital Account (established after the Per Capita Distribution payments of September 2018) was designed to be protected indefinitely and to be preserved for the lasting benefit of the Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation. 

The Treaty #8 Benefits Trust Agreement permits the use of only interest, which is generated from the Capital Account. This interest forms the Revenue Account and provides assistance to the Fond du Lac First Nation and its registered members. In December 2018 as well as December 2019, Revenue Account funds were used to provide $500.00 assistance to registered members aged 18 years and older. Interest from the Revenue Account funds has also been used in 2019-2020 to support smaller projects and initiatives for the benefit of the Fond du Lac First Nation community, such as the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage, Treaty Day, a Dene Youth Gathering, a Scholarship Program, additional post-secondary funding and the recent caribou hunt. Currently, there is not enough interest earned by the Trust in 2019-2020 to fund a large project or provide another substantial payment to members, including a $1,000.00 payment to eligible members (costing over 1.4 million dollars to the Trust). 

Mindful of the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the request to provide emergency financial assistance to members, the Board of Trustees carefully reviewed the Trust Agreement. According to the terms of the Trust Agreement, the original monies contained in the Capital Account may be accessed provided that 90 percent of our membership aged 18 years and older cast a vote to amend the Trust Agreement, with a minimum of 75 percent of the voters in favour of temporarily suspending Clause 12 of the Agreement. This could allow the Capital Account to be used for a one-time payment of $1,000.00 to each eligible registered member aged 18 years or older. 

Accordingly, a payment for emergency assistance drawing on funds from the Capital Account requires a legal amendment to the terms of the Trust by a ratification vote and postpones the use of interest revenues for permitted expenditures such as housing, economic development, education, health, wellness development and cultural activities until the Capital Account is replenished. 

On March 21, 2020, registered members 18 years of age or older began to cast their votes. Voting members were asked:

 

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? 

The voting has now ended after extensions to provide eligible voters with an opportunity to cast their ballots. Due to the current state of emergency, requirements for social distancing, challenges reaching eligible members, and various other reasons, several members did not vote until recently and others were unable to vote. At the close of voting, 90.5 percent of eligible members had voted. Of the 90.5 percent who voted, 99.4 percent voted in favour of the amendment

This exceeds the minimum ratification vote requirement of 90% of our membership aged 18 years and older casting a vote and exceeds the minimum ratification vote requirement of 75 percent in favour of the one-time amendment, as per the Trust Agreement. The Trustees view this as compelling support to approve a one-time amendment to the Trust Agreement under the current state of emergency. 

Recognizing this result, the spirit and intent of the Trust Agreement, and the formally declared state of emergency, the Trustees have agreed to temporarily suspend Clause 12 and issue from the Capital Account a one-time cheque for $1,000.00 to each registered member aged 18 years and older. And as per the vote, until the funds are replenished within the Capital Account, all pending projects and permitted expenditures from the Trust to the Fond du Lac First Nation will be suspended

We anticipate direct deposits issued and cheques mailed by April 30, 2020 after the required funds are transferred from the Capital Account’s current investment portfolios.

We continue to ask members of the community to be kind to one another, to use this financial aid to take care of yourself and your families over the next few months, and to utilize the variety of local, provincial and federal financial and health resources available to you. 

Stay well and stay healthy, 

Board of Trustees 

Treaty 8 Benefits Trust Agreement

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