- Programs and Services
Working with the MNO Lands, Resources and Consultations Branch
In 2004, in the Haida and Taku cases, the Supreme Court of Canada set out a new legal framework – the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate. This duty flows from the honor of the Crown and s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. This new duty requires governments to consult Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples and accommodate their interests whenever a Crown actor considers conduct that might adversely affect Aboriginal rights or interests. The duty applies when the Crown has real or constructive knowledge of the potential existence of Aboriginal rights or title that may be at risk from a course of action being contemplated by a Crown. The duty demands that all governments work with Aboriginal peoples to understand their interests and concerns prior to authorizing or proceeding with a plan, policy, development or activity that has the potential to affect Aboriginal rights. The purpose of the duty is achieved when government addresses, modifies or reconciles its actions with Aboriginal interests in a real and substantive way. Overall, the duty is designed to promote the transformation of the existing relationship between the Crown and Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples to a new relationship based on consultation, accommodation, just settlements and reconciliation. The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) has negotiated and executed nine Regional Consultation Protocols, including one for Temiskaming.
Frequently Asked Questions on Lands and Resources Consultation
What has the MNO done in response to the Crown’s Duty to Consult and Accommodate?
In early 2008, the MNO undertook province-wide community consultations on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate. The resulting ‘What We Heard’ report outlined the input received from Métis citizens, and made a series of related recommendations. One of the recommendations was for the MNO to work with its Community Councils to put Regional Consultation Protocols in place as a way of helping to ensure the Crown fulfills its duty to regional rights-bearing Métis communities. In November 2008, the MNO Annual General Assembly/Special President’s Meeting endorsed the report and its recommendations, which included a plan for the signing of Regional Consultation Protocols throughout the province.
What are Regional Consultation Protocols?
Consultation Protocols set out how regional rights-bearing Métis communities in Ontario want the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate to be fulfilled. Because the Crown’s duty is new, the MNO’s existing governance structures did not yet include a mechanism for addressing this new constitutional duty. The Consultation Protocols do this, including to whom government and industry should talk, who does what, how Community Councils can work together, etc.
Why are the Protocols regional?
Métis communities are not limited to small dots on a map or individual villages, towns or cities. Historically, Métis were mobile and continue to be. As a result, Métis communities span large regional territories. All Aboriginal rights are collective rights and Métis rights are Aboriginal rights. Métis rights do not belong to one family, a few individuals or one Community Council. The right is held by the regional rights-bearing Métis community and all members of the community have the right to exercise and benefit from the collective’s right, and be consulted when this right is potentially affected. Therefore, a regional consultation approach is required.
A regional approach ensures that Métis citizens who may not currently be represented by a MNO Community Council, but who have an equal right to be consulted as a member of the regional rights-bearing Métis community, also have an opportunity to participate and become engaged in consultation and accommodation processes.
Who makes decisions under the Protocol?
The Protocols ensure that all decision-making remains at the community level and encourages a consensus based approach. The Community Council Presidents from the region and the Regional Councillor sit on the Committee. These individuals are democratically elected, report back to MNO citizens and are ultimately accountable to the regional rights-bearing Métis community through the MNO’s governance structures. The MNO’s Natural Resources, Environment and Community Relations Branch provides support and assists the Committees in getting the legal, technical and environmental expertise they need, however ultimate decision-making lies at the community level.
Why are these Protocols important?
These Protocols set out a clear roadmap for government and industry about how to engage Métis in effective, transparent and predictable consultation. The Protocols will help to stop potential situations where a few Métis individuals, one Métis family or an incorporated “Métis group” claims to consult, negotiate or secure personal benefits in the name of the regional rights-bearing Métis community.
Current Consultation Project Partners in the Timiskaming district
Trans Canada Pipelines
Nuclear Waste Management Organization