Governance is the system or framework of agreements, procedures, conventions, processes and policies that define who has authority, how decisions are made and how accountability ensured.
- The principles of governance can be applied to any group—from communities, not-for-profit organizations to the United Nations. So, the scope of governance varies widely from local to global collectives.
- Governance typically involves making and acting upon decisions on behalf of a group, community or organization – e.g., Who makes decisions? What is the decision-making process? Who has a voice in decision-making? How are decision-makers held accountable?
A Community Constitution provides a documented framework for governance by setting out the relationship between citizens and their community’s governing authority. Effective community constitutions define who has what authority, rights and responsibilities, how laws will be developed, and how disputes will be resolved.
Other notable elements of a Community Constitution are as follows:
- Is a system of beliefs and laws by which a community is governed;
- Makes declarations about the values, history, and identity of the community;
- Creates, empowers, and regulates a governing authority through the development of organizational structures and processes; and
- Sets out the basic principles that a governing authority must adapt to which includes the fundamental rights of citizens.
For Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens, it will be important for us to have a proactive and solid foundation for how we collectively want to live and how we want to govern ourselves. Therefore, a Community Constitution is a statement of who we are as Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens, how we are governed, how citizens have input into governance, key roles and responsibilities of our governing authority to make laws for the betterment of the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini community and the broader Algonquins of Ontario Nation.
Though not a “one size fits all”, a Community Constitution generally consists of the following sections:
- Purpose and community’s values
- Description of who is governed
- Outline of the rights and freedoms of citizens
- What is governed (e.g., jurisdiction over lands, resources, and citizens)
- Institutions or structures of a governing authority
- Roles, responsibilities, and limits of a governing authority
- How leaders and officials will be selected (e.g., elections/appointments)
- Relationships between a governing authority and citizens
- Law making processes
- Dispute resolution processes
- Mechanisms for input by citizens
- Amendment procedures