About MNO Harvesting

The Métis Nation of Ontario was the first Métis government in the Métis Nation Homeland to successfully complete negotiations with their provincial government regarding Métis harvesting. An interim agreement between the MNO and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), which recognized the MNO’s Harvester Card system, was reached in 2004. On April 30, 2018 the MNO and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry signed a new Framework Agreement on Métis Harvesting (the “Framework Agreement”) that advanced the recognition of Métis rights in the province.

The Framework Agreement replaces a previous MNO-MNRF interim agreement from July 2004 as well as consolidates the collaborative work that the MNO and the Government of Ontario have undertaken over the last decade. This includes advancing the recognition of Métis rights, including the identification of seven historic Métis communities in August 2017, and the completion of an independent review of the MNO Harvester Card system in January 2018 (the “Independent Review”). This confirmed that the MNO has a reliable system to identify Métis rights-holders.

The Framework Agreement continues to provide for the MNRF’s recognition of the MNO Harvesting Policy, along with MNO Harvesters Cards that are issued under this policy within the MNO’s identified Harvesting Areas based on the collaborative work outlined above, as well as the parties ongoing participation in the processes and negotiations established under the Framework Agreement. The MNO Harvesting Policy has been in place since 1995 and is rooted in Métis law and traditions that value conservation, safety, and sustainable harvesting.

Unlike the 2004 MNO-MNRF interim agreement, the Framework Agreement does not include a cap on the number of Harvester Cards that can be issued by the MNO. However, the Framework Agreement confirms that MNO citizens who are issued a Harvesters Card must meet the criteria set out in the MNO Harvesting Policy, which is consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada’s criteria for the identification of Métis rights-holders in R. v. Powley. As referenced above, the Independent Review of the MNO Harvesters Card system confirmed that the MNO has a reliable system to identify Métis rights-holders.

Significantly, the Framework Agreement commits the MNO to sharing data collected about the Métis harvest with the MNRF in order to assist and improve provincial management of natural resources. This unique information and data sharing protocol is the ‘first-of-its-kind’ with an Indigenous community in Ontario and is consistent with the MNO’s longstanding recognition that with rights come responsibilities to protect natural resources for the generations to come.

The Framework Agreement also sets out various collaborative processes and timelines for future discussions and negotiations on issues of priority for the MNO and its harvesters, including arriving at a new mutually agreeable map identifying the Métis harvesting territories; and dealing with Métis harvester mobility between the MNO’s Harvesting Areas. In addition, the Framework Agreement signals the arrival of a long-term and substantive agreement between the parties.

Important Documents

To apply for a Harvesting Application or to renew a Harvesting Application please fill out and submit the following form: Harvester’s Certificate Application or Apply Online. (PLEASE NOTE: During the period of COVID-19, you can send your harvester application directly to the MNO Registry or to your COTH. MNO Registry can contact the COTH on your behalf to request COTH approval.)