Council Meeting Report – March 23 2024

Council Meeting Report March 2024_edited

Meeting of Chief and Council

The Qalipu Chief and Council met on Saturday, March 23 for their regular meeting.  Originally scheduled for Corner Brook, the meeting went ahead virtually due to winter storm warnings on the west coast of Newfoundland.

All members of the Council were in attendance except for Jasen Benwah, Ward Councilor for Port au Port and Bobby White, Ward Councilor for Flat Bay.

2024-25 Budget Approval

The main objective of this meeting was to review and approve Annual Operating Plans (AOPs) for all Departments and associated prepared budgets for the upcoming 2024-25 fiscal year.  Council approved the budgets with the condition that typos be corrected, and more specific details be provided on the allocated spending for two new projects in the Health and Wellness Department.

Band members can listen to the discussion around the new budget and its particulars on spending by logging in to their KINU membership profile (recordings of meetings can be found under the “Communications” tab and clicking on “Previous Live Streams”)

Highlights from QFN Annual Operating Plans:

Health and Wellness Department

  • Increase staffing and resources required to deliver Non-Insured Health Benefits.
  • Marketing and outreach to increase awareness of mental health counselling services that are available to Band members.
  • Finalize the five-year strategic plan.
  • Grow the Housing division and pursue additional housing support for Band members.

Education and Training Department

  • Continue delivery of funding programs for students.
  • Develop a Youth Strategy focused on assisting young people with career exploration opportunities, finding jobs, creating businesses, and gaining workplace skills.
  • Pursue partnerships and targeted training opportunities that help Band members gain employment.
  • Support small businesses hiring Indigenous students through the Youth Summer Employment Program.

Environment and Natural Resources

  • Patrols on St. George’s Bay, Bay of Islands, Glenwood and Gand Bay areas under the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy program.
  • Participate in consultation related to Environmental Impact Assessments.
  • Continue research and monitoring around several species at risk including piping plover, pine marten and little brown bats.
  • Work with provincial working groups focused on species and habitat conservation.

Culture, Tourism and Community Development Department

  • Support tourism businesses entering the industry.
  • Explore potential retail and wholesale opportunities for Indigenous artisans.
  • Develop a digital resource manual for Entrepreneurial Support Program.
  • Host a Qalipu Business Forum.


  • Implement new payroll software.
  • Work with staff to train on new policies under Financial Administration Law.
  • Regular meetings with the Finance and Audit Committee to provide financial reports on all QFN expenditures.
  • Identify budget and funding to develop and issue a Request for Proposals for a salary review.

Operations Department

  • Cybersecurity training plan for staff at QFN.
  • Work with the infrastructure team to map out needs for 2024-25.
  • Provide in-person assistance in key locations to help assist members with SCIS applications and renewals.
  • Provide passport-style photo service for SCIS applications and renewals.

Change to Finance Policy – Credit Card for the Chief

Management, including all the Directors and the Band Manager, at Qalipu First Nation have band-issued credit cards to cover the costs associated with business expenses or travel on band business.   Directors have a limit of $5000 while the Band Manager has a $25,000 credit cap.

Band-issued cards eliminate the need for the individual to bear a burden on their personal credit cards and make it easier for the Finance Department to reconcile expenses and match charges to appropriate budgets.

The Finance and Audit Committee brought forward a recommendation to amend the finance policy to improve efficiencies and remove unnecessary barriers by also making a credit card available to the Chief at the Senior Management level.

A committee member explained, “Sometimes there are multiple nights stay at a place where the band doesn’t have direct billing, and it’s all going on her own card.  Charges like this along with taxis, meals and incidentals…before an expense claim can be made and settled to recoup the costs…these charges can add up to a large sum very quickly.  It’s inefficient and unnecessary.”

The Council voted to accept the recommendation of the Finance and Audit Committee.

Election Update

2024 is an election year for Qalipu First Nation and in October, Band members will have the opportunity to vote for their leaders for the next four years.

A tentative schedule for the election was tabled.

The call for nomination of candidates will occur on September 27 and close on October 4.  The voting window is expected to open on October 19 and close on October 25.

Voting will be conducted online or over the phone and members should be sure to list their email with the Band to receive their secure voter PIN.

The details and dates surrounding the election will officially be announced and set into motion with the appointment of an Elector Officer later this year.

Next Meeting of Council

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Chief and Council will be on May 25, 2024.