The Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) has awarded the District of Muskoka the 2023 CAMA Collaboration Award with External Organizations for its work with the Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT).
It includes representatives from the six municipalities in Muskoka and five Indigenous Nations on top of having district staff.
“CAMA is pleased to recognize the municipalities and Indigenous Nations for the excellence demonstrated through their collaboration to establish a leadership table among these communities,” said Bev Hendry, CAMA President. “Through this initiative, the District of Muskoka is playing a leadership role in bringing together elected officials and senior leaders from Indigenous and municipal governments.”
According to Wayne Knorr, Communications for CAMA, the award recognizes an “exemplary partnership of an innovative, collaborative initiative where the outcome has demonstrated mutual benefits to all partners.”
Knorr explains the MAILT was launched in early 2019 as a way for the district to work hand-in-hand with Indigenous leaders to address the 94 Calls to Action, break down barriers, find opportunities for shared services and initiatives, and build bridges between communities.
Notably, the MAILT Friendship Accord was signed by all Muskoka municipalities in Nov. 2022. It was explained by district officials that the group would have at least four meetings a year and “engage in open and constructive dialogue.”
“We’re deeply honoured by this recognition,” said District Chair Jeff Lehman. “After four years of meeting often, completing joint initiatives and launching impactful projects, the District of Muskoka and MAILT members anticipate our ongoing work will grow the relationship between Indigenous communities and municipalities. There’s so much good work to be done together and MAILT is a framework for that work, across so many aspects of reconciliation.”