February 24, 2023—Canada and the Métis Nation of Ontario announced that the parties have signed a Métis Government Recognition and Self Government Implementation Agreement (the “Agreement”). This Agreement builds on a self-government agreement previously signed in 2019 and formal negotiations between the parties that began in 2017.
Upon signing this Agreement, Canada officially recognizes that the Métis Nation of Ontario is the Indigenous government representing its citizens and Métis communities within Ontario, and that this Métis collectivity has an inherent right to self-government recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
The Agreement recognizes that the Métis Nation of Ontario, as a Métis government, has jurisdiction over its internal and core governance matters such as citizenship, elections, and administration matters. The jurisdiction recognized in the Agreement touches upon core governance issues that are viewed as key facets of the Indigenous right to self-determination and self-government. The Agreement also recognizes that the Métis Nation of Ontario is an Indigenous governing body for the purposes of An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.
In keeping with the longstanding goal of the Métis Nation of Ontario for recognition of their unique identity, culture, and governance on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government basis, the Agreement commits the parties to ongoing negotiations towards a core self-government treaty within the next two years.
Federal implementation legislation will be introduced as soon as possible following the signing of today’s Agreement and is a priority for the parties.
This Agreement, along with other such agreements signed with Métis governments, is a key part of Canada’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“2023 marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of R. v. Powley, which is the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision on Métis rights,” said Margaret Froh, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario. “Powley was advanced by Ontario Métis to ensure we were no longer the ‘forgotten people’. It is a testament to the hard work of our citizens and communities that we now have formal recognition of our Métis government by Canada, including a clear pathway to finally put into place our nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship with the federal Crown through a modern day treaty.”
“The Agreement we have signed today will revitalize and transform our government-to-government relationship with the Métis Nation of Ontario,” said The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. “We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario to co-develop approaches that deliver on our shared priorities for reconciliation and support their vision of a better future for the citizens and communities the Métis government represents.”