Ontario was the first government in the Métis Homeland to successfully complete negotiations on Métis harvesting. An interim agreement between the MNO and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), which recognizes the MNO's Harvester Card system, was reached in 2004. The interim agreement is short and set out in four points. The essence of the agreement is that MNR will apply its Interim Enforcement Policy (IEP) to each MNO Harvester's Certificate holder who is harvesting for food within his or her traditional territory. This means that MNO Harvester's Certificate holders, engaged in traditional Métis harvest activities will not be charged unless they are in violation of conservation or safety standards.
The Four Points of the Interim Harvesting Agreement are:
- The MNO will issue a maximum of 1250 Harvester's Certificates for this year (2004). The original intent was that the number of Certificates issued (1250) would be for one year only and that a mutually agreeable process for changing this number would be developed subject to research and evaluation of the Harvester's Certificate system. To date, the work on developing that process has not been completed and the 1250 cap remains.
- The MNR Interim Enforcement Policy (IEP) will be applied to valid Harvester’s Certificate holders who are harvesting for food, within their traditional territories, pursuant to the safety and conservation values set out in the IEP in a manner identical to its application to First Nations.
- Originally, the Interim Agreement was for two years with the intention that it would be extended by mutual consent until a final agreement was put in place. The two year time frame was to allow both sides to carry out the research needed to clear up uncertainties that have arisen due to a lack of historical information with respect to the existence and continuity of Métis communities in some parts of Ontario - most particularly in the south and east of the province. Research will provide the historical facts necessary to support what MNO citizens assert - that there are old and continuing Métis communities throughout Ontario. The efforts to complete this research is ongoing, both on the part of the MNO and the government.
- Both sides agree that an independent evaluation of the MNO Harvester's Certificate system will be performed based on mutually agreeable terms of reference. The MNO has long asserted that its Registry is a unique and rich source of genealogical and historical information on Métis individuals, families and communities in Ontario. While the MNO has made many assertions over the years about the validity of the Registry, no government authority has been allowed to examine the Registry files. The government however, requires certainty with respect to the Registry.
Click here to view the Four Point Agreement.
Métis Harvesting Agreement - Coming Soon
MNO Harvesting Policy
Harvester's Certificate Application [PDF]
Map of Traditional Métis Harvesting Territories