Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski hails from Fort Frances, Ontario, where he was born, raised and still currently resides with his wife Dianne, and daughter Rachel. President Lipinski comes from a long line of Métis commercial fishermen and traditional resource users and continues today to practice the Métis traditional way of life: hunting; fishing; and camping with his family and friends.
President Lipinski holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lakehead University, a Bachelor of Education from Queens University and, Honours in Technological Studies from the University of Western Ontario. He started teaching at Fort Frances High School in 1987 and became actively involved in the discussions that eventually led to the creation of the MNO in 1993. In 1999, President Lipinski was elected MNO chair and with his ever increasing involvement in the MNO, he left his teaching position to focus his full attention on the pursuit of Métis rights.
Shortly after being elected president in 2008, President Lipinski successfully negotiated the MNO – Ontario Framework Agreement. This agreement represented a notable turning point in Ontario-Métis relations as it recognizes the unique identity, history, culture and rights of Ontario Métis communities, in stark contrast to generations of government policy that denied the very existence of Ontario Métis. The Framework Agreement led to similar agreements with other government ministries, agencies and post-secondary institutions.
In 2011, President Lipinski secured a $30 million commitment from the Ontario government for the Métis Voyageur Development Fund (MVDF). Ontario will provide $3 million a year for ten years to provide Métis entrepreneurs and businesses with financial support.
During President Lipinski’s tenure, the MNO’s profile has increased. As a result in 2010, the Ontario Legislature declared that year “the year of the Métis,” and President Lipinski has been asked to speak at international, national and provincial conferences as well as participate in panels with renowned speakers such as Don Drummond and appear on television programs such as The Agenda with Steve Paikin.
President Lipinski was re-elected with a substantial majority in 2012 and in his new mandate has placed increased emphasis on supporting Métis children and youth to become “all they can be”. This is the reason why in 2014, when the MNO and Ontario signed a renewed Framework Agreement , an increased emphasis was placed providing opportunities for Métis youth.
President Lipinski’s outstanding leadership and achievements have been recognized on several occasions. Most notably he is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and was presented with an Eagle Feather by Bruce Dumont, the President of the Métis Nation British Columbia.