This website will change as a result of the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Consult the new Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada home page or the new Indigenous Services Canada home page.
This website will change as a result of the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Consult the new Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada home page or the new Indigenous Services Canada home page.
Date: September 2013
Revised: September 2014
Project Number: 1570-7/12024
PDF Version (430 Kb, 75 Pages)
This evaluation was conducted by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch with support from Stiles Associates Inc. It fulfills the requirement of the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation for an evaluation of the Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program (FICP) and the Powley Initiative prior to the renewal of its Terms and Conditions, currently due to expire March 2015. The FICP funds the following project-based initiatives: bilateral discussions with the Métis National Council and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; tripartite relations with provincial representative Métis and non-status Indian organizations; capacity building; Métis Contribution to Canada and funding for the Powley initiative, which is available to Métis organizations with substantial Métis memberships to identify Métis harvester and members.
From 2008-2013, the FICP supported the strategic outcome of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, to "improve the socio-economic conditions of Métis, non-status Indians and urban Aboriginal people. In late 2012, the FICP as a program was resituated under Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) Policy and Strategic Direction division and under the strategic outcome of "The Government, with the ultimate outcome of "good governance and co-operative relationships for First Nations, Métis, non-status Indians, Inuit and Northerners.
This evaluation assesses the issues of relevance (continued need, alignment with government priorities and alignment with federal roles and responsibilities) and performance (achievement of expected outcomes and demonstration of efficiency and economy) in order to inform decisions on resource allocation and reallocation.
The evaluation methodology included a review of key sources of literature, a review of program documents and files, 17 key informant interviews and four case studies. Despite best efforts, the evaluators encountered significant challenges in procuring the participation of Aboriginal organizations, and in obtaining consistent and reliable information and documentation to support the evaluation.
The evaluation was, however, able to articulate a series of key findings and recommendations. The evaluation and its associated Management Response and Action Plan were approved at the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee meeting of September 19, 2013.
With respect to relevance:
With respect to performance:
With respect to efficiency and economy:
It is therefore recommended that AANDC:
Project Title: Evaluation of the Federal Interlocutor’s Contribution Program and Powley
Project #: 1570-7/12024
|Recommendations||Actions||Responsible Manager (Title / Sector)||Planned Implementation and Completion Dates|
|1. Work with Métis and non-status Indians and federal and provincial partners to establish a clear set of objectives for the FICP moving forward that clearly delineates roles and responsibilities and expectations of stakeholders.||
Moving forward, AANDC will work with Métis and non-status Indians, federal and provincial partners to both review and establish a clear set of objectives for the FICP that clearly delineates the roles and responsibilities and expectations of stakeholders.
AANDC will provide leadership to coordinate a process to set clear objectives and to better delineates respective stakeholder roles and responsibilities.
The changing fiscal realities of the new departmental approach to working with Aboriginal Relations Offices will be central factors in this work.
|Director General, Aboriginal and External Relations.||September 30, 2014.|
|2. Develop a comprehensive Performance Measurement Strategy specific to the FICP and Powley Initiative.||
AANDC will develop a comprehensive Performance Measurement Strategy specific to the FICP and Powley Initiative that will articulate clear and measurable outcomes.
AANDC will take steps to ensure that FICP and Powley Initiative objectives and outcomes are communicated and accessible to all stakeholders and compliant to new fiscal realities of the departmental approach of Aboriginal Relations Offices project funding.
|Director General, Aboriginal and External Relations.||Date to accord with the approved AANDC Performance Measurement Strategy Portfolio Action Plan to be tabled at EPMRC September 19, 2013.|
I recommend this Management Response and Action Plan for approval by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee
Original signed by:
Director, Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch
I approve the above Management Response / Action Plan
Original signed by:
Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Strategic Direction
The Management Response / Action Plan for the Evaluation of the Federal Interlocutor’s Contribution Program and Powley were approved by the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee.
The evaluation of the Federal Interlocutor’s Contribution Program (FICP), including the bilateral and tripartite processes and the Powley Initiative, covers the period from 2008–09 to 2012-13. It responds to the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Evaluation (2009), requiring a neutral assessment of relevance and performance to inform resource allocation and reallocation decisions. In the case of the authorities related to FICP, this evaluation is intended to inform decisions in advance of the expiry of authorities in March 2015. The evaluation was conducted by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s (AANDC) Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch with the assistance of the consulting firm Stiles Associates Inc. conducting a series of case studies.
The previous evaluationFootnote 1, completed in 2008, found that discussions between different representatives were facilitated, various activities took place thanks to capacity-building funds, and the Powley Initiative made it possible to develop member registration systems. Despite these successes, however, the evaluation noted limitations caused by the vulnerability of the Métis and non-status Indian organizations, the lack of strategic priorities identified by the groups and access to multi-year funding, claims of inadequate core funding from AANDC, and a lack of clarity with respect to the capacity-building initiatives’ target outcomes.
The 2008 evaluation, thus, recommended that AANDC:
The Management Response and Action Plan Follow up presented to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee on March 31, 2010, reported that all the recommendations were implemented.
The role of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians was established in 1985 in the context of the Aboriginal Constitutional Conferences (1983-1987). In creating the role, it was the Government's view that it was necessary to identify a Minister who could act as a point of first contact to facilitate the participation of these groups in the Aboriginal constitutional process.
The title and role of Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians was assigned to a senior Minister in addition to other titles and roles, and until 2004, the role was kept separate and apart from that of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
Over the intervening 20-plus years, the mandate evolved and expanded to include bilateral relations between the federal government and national Métis and non-status Indian organizations (MNSIs); tripartite self-government processes with off-reserve Aboriginal groups and the provinces; advocacy of Métis, non-status Indian, and urban Aboriginal people issues within Cabinet and Government; lead Minister for the Government of Canada's Urban Aboriginal Strategy; and, practical steps to improve the socio-economic conditions of Métis, non-status Indian, and urban Aboriginal people.
In 2004, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development was also named Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, a practice that continued until 2011, when the Minister's title was changed to Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
Also in 2004 the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat was transferred to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Program authorities were also transferred. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development established a new sector, named Office of the Federal Interlocutor (OFI). The staff, programs, funding of the former Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat work were assigned to this new sector.
The Department created a new branch within the Policy and Strategic Direction Sector to handle relations and funding agreements with Aboriginal representative organizations and be the direct focal point for both Métis relations and Inuit relations. The part of OFI that dealt with Métis and Non Status Indians was merged into this branch.
FICP has its roots in two mid-1990s Government of Canada Aboriginal policy initiatives, the Federal Policy Guide on Aboriginal Self-Government and Gathering Strength: Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan (response to the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples). In the almost 20 years since the program was initiated, it has undergone considerable evolution. The objective of the FICP is to help to build capacity and to maintain a relationship based on trust and respect between Métis and non-status Indian people and the Government of Canada. This is to be achieved by: maintaining political relations with their representative organizations; acting as the point of contact within the federal government; acting as an advocate for MNSI issues; entering into contribution agreements to help to build organizational and institutional capacity; and, building stronger linkages with provincial governments.
From 2008-2013, the FICP supported the strategic outcome of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, which was to "improve the socio-economic conditions of Métis, non-status Indians and urban Aboriginal people. From 2013 onwards, the FICP is situated under "The Government sector with the ultimate outcome of "good governance and co-operative relationships for First Nations, Métis, Non-Status Indians, Inuit and Northerners. The Government's recognition of the need to better include all Aboriginal peoples in its broader mandate was reflected in the name change of the department from Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada, to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Specifically with respect to the FICP, the Government recognised the need to approach Aboriginal issues more holistically and thus, rather than having Métis and non-status issues under a stand-alone strategic objective (the Office of the Federal Interlocutor), it was incorporated into "The Government strategic objective, focussing on good governance and co-operative relationships. Challenges in the changing focus of the program as well as interpreting the various articulations of the programs expected outcomes are discussed in Section 4.3.3.
The Office of the Federal Interlocutor, when it managed the FICP, and currently the Métis and non-status Indian Relations (MNSI) Branch, annually receives proposals and work plans from Métis and non-status Indian organizationsFootnote 2, in keeping with the Federal Interlocutor's main priorities and objectives. These organizations can be either political or service-delivery organizations. The MNSI reviews these proposals against departmental criteria and priorities, and makes recommendations to the Minister. Upon the authorization of the Minister, contribution agreements with these organizations, outlining the agreed upon terms and conditions for the project, are executed.
In addition, consistent with Treasury Board policies, the MNSI partnersFootnote 3 on specific projects when opportunities to work together arise with other federal or provincial departments, or private organizations to support socio-economic-type initiatives that will benefit Métis and non-status Indians.
In the case of tripartite self-government negotiation processes and capacity building projects that support cultural, economic and social governance institutions, joint priorities are set by the three parties, and where funding is involved, the MNSI seeks matching provincial efforts.
In the case of the horizontal initiatives undertaken to manage Métis rights and assertions, the MNSI works closely with other federal departments (Department of Justice, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, Department of Fisheries and Oceans) to align initiatives and coordinate research efforts. Additionally, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor works closely with provincial governments, where appropriate, to build common understandings in areas that are of mutual interest.
In September 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance on Métis rights in R v. Powley. This is a hunting prosecution. In October 1993, two residents of the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, who were charged under the provincial Game and Fish Act with unlawfully killing a bull moose, asserted that the provincial legislation infringed their Section 35 right to hunt for food. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Métis community in Sault St. Marie and the environs had an Aboriginal right to hunt for food. This decision developed a test for proving Métis Aboriginal rights protected under s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. It also established parameters around who might exercise these rights.
The Court found that an historic Métis community existed in Sault Ste. Marie and continues to exist today. The Court also accepted that the practice of hunting for food was an important feature of the Sault Ste. Marie Métis community. Accordingly, the Court recognized that "Members of the Métis community in and around Sault Ste. Marie have an Aboriginal right to hunt for food".
The Court also noted that "the term 'Métis' in s. 35 does not encompass all individuals with mixed Indian and European heritage." Indeed, the Court identified three criteria for determining if an individual may be said to belong to a Métis Aboriginal community: 1) the individual must self-identify as a Métis person; 2) there must be community acceptance by a present-day Métis community; and 3) the individual must have an ancestral connection to a historic Métis community. FICP (the Powley Initiative) was developed as a policy response to this decision. The federal government, through AANDC, provided funding to the Métis National Council to develop Métis registration databases.
As of September 4, 2012, the FICP is operated under the Métis and non-status Indian Relations Directorate of the Aboriginal and External Relations Branch, which is situated under the Department's Government Strategic Outcome, focusing on supporting the federal government's commitment to good governance and co-operative relationships for First Nations, Métis, non-status Indians, Inuit and Northerners.
The Federal Interlocutor Program supports this objective by engaging in the following core activities:
The Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program engages in these activities by providing funding through five funding streams:
AANDC sought renewal of the authorities for FICP and Powley mandate from 2010 to 2015 with the stated purpose "[of] reaffirm[ing] a pro-active reconciliation and management approach for Métis Aboriginal rights that is in keeping with the Government's intent to maintain calm and order by managing Aboriginal rights issues, avoid litigation and the court process, and to transfer the Métis and non-status Indian litigation portfolio to Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In order to achieve this objective, AANDC and federal partners are engaging in the following activities:
According to the 2008 FICP Results-based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF), the objective of AANDC's FICP specifically are "to help to build capacity and to build and maintain a relationship based on trust and respect between the Government of Canada and Métis and non-status Indian people, through their respective organizations. Similarly, keeping in mind that this is a very small program, and attainment of results will always be in proportion to the size of the program, the expected results were to help improve the socio-economic conditions (and thereby, the life chances) of Métis and non-status Indian people by working towards:
2008 Immediate Expected Outcomes:
2008 Intermediate Expected Outcomes:
2008 Ultimate Expected Outcomes:
AANDC leads discussions and work plan development with each of the two national Aboriginal organizations, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Métis National Council, on joint key policy initiatives and facilitates meetings and initiatives with other government departments where required.
AANDC is responsible for:
The national Aboriginal organizations are responsible for:
The AANDC is responsible for:
The provincial government is responsible for:
The Métis or off-reserve Aboriginal organization is responsible for:
Following Powley, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor has led the federal approach to work with provinces, territories and Métis organizations to manage the direct implications of the decision.
A Working Group comprised of AANDC, Department of Justice, RCMP, Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (although Department of Fisheries and Oceans does not administer any related funding).
The Interdepartmental Working Group is responsible for:
AANDC is responsible for:
The Métis organisationsare responsible for identifying rights-bearing Métis.
The RCMP is responsible for:
Parks Canada Agency is responsible for:
Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service and Wildlife Enforcement Directorate) is responsible for:
While AANDC responds to litigation, the Department of Justice is responsible for the management of Métis and non-status Indian litigation.
Stakeholders and Beneficiaries
The primary beneficiaries of FICP funding are Métis and non-status Indian organizations at the national provincial and municipal levels. Stakeholders include the Métis and non-status Indians of Canada, provinces, territories, the public sector and the Canadian public. An increased ability of Métis and non-status Indian organizations to better represent their memberships by having the internal governance structures to be accountable, both to their membership and the Government for public funding received, may lead to opportunities to improve Métis and non-status Indian participation in the Canadian economy. In addition, due to the Constitutional issues involved in managing Métis rights, the people of Canada benefit through the strategy to maintain calm and order on-the-ground, which may help to establish a safe investment climate for the private sector and partnership opportunities for Métis and non-status Indian organizations.
Between 2008-09 and 2012-13, there were a total of 58 funding recipients.
Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the Government of Canada invested a total of over $93 million in Métis and non-status Indian activities, including specific projects under FICP and Powley (see Table 1).
|Total Salary and Operation and Maintenance||1,468,289||747,975||2,361,169||2,311,341||2,814,409||2,770,194||1,727,345||1,670,320||1,274,215||1,088,063|
|Contributions - FICP||6,350,326||6,127,976||14,058,976||13,640,823||13,900,125||13,793,744||13,311,010||13,156,461||10,969,248||10,802,592|
|Contributions - Powley||7,178,144||6,557,384||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Contributions - Basic Organisational Capacity||5,721,477||5,717,960||5,760,000||5,693,690||5,908,000||5,904,304||5,836,900||5,800,900||5,881,000||5,881,000|
Funding for salaries was increased in 2011-12 to address a structural deficit. As a result of Budget 2012, funding for salaries will be reduced over a three year period.
Basic Organizational Capacity funding that is provided outside of the FICP but is used to support representative organizations, including the organizations funded through FICP capacity building activities, is reducing its contributions amounts. Similarly, in June 2013, additional reductions in contribution amounts were announced for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, as can be seen in the above table.
Powley entails additional funds to Environment Canada ($1.12 million per year, including $235,000 per year in Grants and Contributions); Parks Canada ($1.15 million per year) and the RCMP ($740,000 per year).
The FICP and Powley Initiative are aspects of the broader pro-active reconciliation and management of Métis Aboriginal rights and the management of Métis and non-status Indian litigation. This evaluation focuses specifically on the FICP and Powley-related activities of AANDC, the RCMP, Environment Canada and Parks Canada. It is not within the scope of this study to examine the funding for litigation transferred to the Department of Justice. The evaluation examined FICP program activities undertaken between 2009-2010 and 2013-2014. Terms of Reference were approved by AANDC's Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee in September 2012. Field work was conducted between February 2013 and June 2013.
In line with the Terms of Reference, the evaluation focused on the following issues:
Performance (Effectiveness; Efficiency and Economy)
The evaluation's findings and conclusions are based on the analysis and triangulation of the following lines of evidence.
Fifty-two sources were consulted on the topics of harvesting, fishing and hunting rights; Métis economic development; developing Métis policy; Powley and other relevant court cases and their implications. Additional publications, presentations and court case briefing notes were also incorporated from the Daniels and Manitoba Métis Federation Decisions: Recognition of Métis Rights conference.
Thirty-two Government of Canada and recipient core documents were consulted.
Seventeen interviews were conducted with academic experts, federal partners, AANDC program representatives and provincial government representatives. The key-informant interview guide is included in Appendix D.
Stiles Associates Inc. conducted four case studies. The participating organizations for the case studies were selected in cooperation with the AANDC Evaluation Working Group and AANDC evaluation team. The selection of organizations was intended to account for regional distribution across Canada and strive for representativeness with respect to level of organizational capacity. It was assumed that the two national organizations—Métis National Council and Congress of Aboriginal Peoples—would be among the cases, but in the end only Congress of Aboriginal Peoples agreed to participate. The other organizations selected, and which agreed to participate, were the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg, and the Métis Nation of Ontario. Thus, the sample included one small national Aboriginal organization (Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, with about 16 staff), a large provincial Métis organization (Manitoba Métis Federation, with over 600 staff), a medium-sized provincial Métis organization (Métis Nation of Ontario, with about 160 staff), and a small local organization serving the Aboriginal population of Winnipeg (Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg, with only 2.5 staff).
Site visits to organizations and interviews were conducted in April and May. In total, across the four organizations, the findings represent the views of 27 individuals who participated in interviews and focus group sessions, or responded in writing to evaluation questions.
Participation and Engagement
The process for selecting the case studies was challenging and time-consuming, partially due to the evaluation being conducted roughly at the same time as the finalization of the Daniels Case litigation process. As a result, it was extremely difficult to obtain the buy-in for participation among Métis and non-Status Indian organizations for interviews or case studies. Once the organizations were selected, there were further challenges in organizing site visits and interviews for at least two of the organizations. There were also issues of trust given the suspected cuts to program funding.
As a corporate function, Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch does not necessarily have a relationship with Métis and non-Status Indian organizations or other Aboriginal organizations, and thus, it was difficult to establish the trust and buy-in from organizations without significant assistance from the Métis and non-Status Indian Branch and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (Congress of Aboriginal Peoples) (which was represented on the Evaluation Working Group), which at times had competing priorities.
Assessment of Outcomes and Attribution
The impacts of proactive reconciliation are difficult to measure concretely. As currently stated, the outcomes stemming from the bilateral and tripartite processes focus heavily on broad concepts, such as improvements in "ability", "understanding", and "coordination", influence, and management of public affairs. There are little data available specific to program outcomes, as most of the data is transactional and activity-based.
With respect to attribution, the Powley Initiative has among its stated outcomes an improvement in participation in the economy, but any change or lack thereof in this indicator could hardly be attributed to harvester rights, particularly considering these rights only apply to federal lands and do not extend to commercial hunting rights.
The Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch of AANDC's Audit and Evaluation Sector was the project authority responsible for completing the evaluation with the assistance of Stiles Associates Inc. a consulting firm that conducted the case study component.
Quality assurance activities were put in place to preserve the quality of the data and ensure that the methodology selected was appropriate. These mechanisms included:
The current legal and constitutional environment for Métis and non-status Indians remains uncertain and highly contentious. The growing climate of litigation around Métis and non-status Indians "rights" demonstrates that there is a need for the federal government, and specifically AANDC, to be engaged in activities that support reducing tensions and building a relationship based on trust and respect. To that end, interview participants suggested that there was a significant gap between the two main elements of FICP; namely the proactive reconciliation versus the litigation aspect, and in effect, proactive reconciliation and litigation were seen as an odd combination of priorities, particularly given the stated outcomes.
The legal questions are not about whether or not the Métis exist, but whether under Section 91(24) of the Constitution Act of 1867 the Métis are included as "Indians" and thus, whether the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over Métis. Métis people allege that the area known as the "historic Métis Nation Homeland" includes the three prairie provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. The Métis Nation is comprised of descendants of people born of relations between Aboriginal women and European men when distinct Métis settlements emerged as an outgrowth of the fur trade along freighting waterways and watersheds. However, since the resistance movements lead by Louis Riel against the Government of Canada in support of Métis rights during confederation, the relationship has continued to be highly tense and often only resolvable in the court systems. Various court cases have sought to answer the questions of: Who are the Métis? Do they have rights? What are their rights? And which government has exclusive jurisdiction over the Métis?
This need for reconciliation is now further reinforced by Justice Michael Phelan in the 2013 Federal Court decision where the Métis were deemed to qualify as being "Indians" under the 1867 Constitution Act. The court declined to articulate whether the federal government is obligated to provide services similar to Indians registered under the Indian Act, otherwise known as "status Indians"Footnote 4 such as health, education and land. The federal government is appealing the decision. According to a prominent Métis lawyer, the implications of the case are that "It comes down to a question of whose door the Métis go knocking on... It's a classic Canadian dilemma: Are the Métis a federal or a provincial responsibility?"Footnote 5 The court case, if upheld, means that the federal government has jurisdiction over the Métis, but how it exercises that jurisdiction remains to be identified.
At this point, it is important to note that having law-making jurisdiction does not compel a government to act. It has been the longstanding position of the federal government that programming off reserve for Métis and non-status Indians have been policy choices and not legal obligations. However, in light of these debates of jurisdiction and the heightening expectations to recognise Métis rights, provincial governments continue to take the position that the off-reserve population falls within federal jurisdiction and are thus, slow to develop policy and programming.
Despite the jurisdictional debate and the potential overturning of the Daniels Case, Métis rights are gradually being affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. Therefore, reconciling the existence of these rights within the federation in a responsible and pragmatic fashion will be an ongoing responsibility of AANDC in managing federal interests as well as maintaining federal relations with the Métis and non-status Indians.
Similarly, although the federal government may not have a legal obligation to provide the Métis and non-status Aboriginal peoples with programming and services, the Manitoba Métis Federation Supreme Court decision in 2013 reinforces the need for pro-active reconciliation. Specifically, there is a need for strategies that address the historical tensions and disagreements that began with confederation. At the time of the passing of the British North America Act in 1876, the Red River Settlement in Manitoba had 12,000 people, about 10,000 of whom were Métis. Today, there are approximately 420,000 self-identified Métis (though it is unknown how many meet the criteria set out in Powley) in Canada comprising 30 percent of the total Aboriginal population of 1.4 million. Western Canada and Ontario are home to the majority of the Métis population (86 percent) with the vast majority (71 percent) living in urban centres. Métis representatives continue to look to the federal and provincial governments through the court systems to uphold their "rights" and provide specialized programming and services.
To summarize, "what is at issue is a constitutional grievance going back almost a century and a half. So long as the issue remains outstanding, the goal of reconciliation and constitutional harmony, recognized in s.35 of the Charter and underlying s.31 of the Manitoba Act, remains unachieved. The unfinished business of reconciliation of the Métis people with Canadian sovereignty is a matter of national and constitutional importance."Footnote 6.
To respond practically to the assertions of rights by Aboriginal groups, there is a need for regular and formal communication between these key players to articulate how the federal government and provincial and territorial governments will manage communities' demands to harvest when claimants are outside of treaty obligations.
According to representatives at the negotiation tables, AANDC develops policies and programs for Métis and non-status Indians within an unclear legal reality, and the forums provide an outlet for understanding who are the Métis, where they are located and how the federal and provincial governments can respond to demands in a coordinated manner. For example, in July 2013, the Métis National Council and Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, along with other National Aboriginal Organizations leaders, met with Canadian premiers to discuss issues that face Aboriginal peoples living off reserve. The priorities discussed included a call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, availability of affordable housing for off-reserve Aboriginal peoples, and the participation of federal and provincial governments, and the Métis National Council in development of a long-term Métis economic development strategy. The leaders of both Métis National Council and Congress of Aboriginal Peoples expressed the benefits of being able to openly discuss these issues, and that "it will help create a solid foundation for moving forward"Footnote 7.
The forums provide a mechanism for building a relationship between all the players - despite divergent opinions about jurisdictions - to foster trust. Additionally, there is the opportunity to focus on practical discussions and to establish mechanisms of self-governance in institutions. They are process tables that help to build relationships and identify practical solutions in a murky and often highly political and emotional environment. The need for these process tables is also supported by the fact that those self-identifying as Métis are growing dramatically, having increased 16 percent between the 2006 and 2011 censuses.
Case studies also revealed that Métis and non-status Indians have often felt overlooked at the provincial and national levels. Forums thus provide a political focus on Métis issues allowing for a partnership relationship between the federal government, the provinces and the Métis and non-status populations. The National Chief of Congress of Aboriginal Peoples stated in June 2013, in response to the Daniels case, her belief "that the recognition given by the Court with respect to the identity question has provided [Congress of Aboriginal Peoples] with a unique opportunity to begin a new era of collaboration rather than following a never ending and expensive course of litigation. However, this can only be accomplished if we are willing to set aside the past, and begin by recognizing that the current Urban Aboriginal Strategy does not meet the needs of the over 70 percent of Aboriginal Peoples now living off reserve. Furthermore, our Aboriginal youth is the fastest growing demographic in Canada…To start, we need to have an honest and open dialogue about Aboriginal-specific policies and programs that confront the issues facing the growing Aboriginal migration off reserve… Where are the targeted off-reserve policies and programs in the areas of child and family services, funding for community economic development strategies, job training and skills development, justice services, and health services? This is what we need to talk about as they are of great importance and concern to Aboriginal people… Footnote 8
According to a lawyer working for a provincial government at a discussion table, there are two key reasons that discussion forums and negotiations forums should take place: 1) they establish clear and formal constitutional relationships through agreements; and 2) they address immediate pressures on the relationship. Similarly, forums can be used for a wide scope of discussions, including:
In absence of such forums, interviewees believed that the federal government will face challenges and even violence such as in the development of national and provincial parks in contested Métis territory.
According to interviewees, meaningful bilateral and tripartite forums cannot take place without Métis and non-Status Indian organisations that are able to represent the priorities of their members. However, the ability of these organisations to do this is largely dependent on funds from FICP as Basic Organizational Capacity Funding was not sufficient for addressing the development of adequate organizational policies, procedures, governance structures and program designs. The capacity building mechanisms supported by FICP funding were considered necessary to allow organizations to provide input and feedback to the federal government, agencies and departments on policy issues and programs that affect Métis and non-status Indians.
As this population continues to grow, extensive capacity building support is a priority for representative organizations as they seek self-governance objectives. Currently, organizations are struggling with governance issues that are interfering with meeting their program and representation objectives. Some national organizations and their affiliates face various governance and internal management issues, including carrying significant financial debt and/or monies owed to the crown, weak financial controls, and internal division between eastern and western affiliates, which threaten their overall sustainability over the long term. The credibility of affiliates has also been seen to be a challenge. Footnote 9
Case study participants cited incongruence between the priority and attention given to First Nations compared to Métis and non-Status Indians, both from the perspective of rights recognition to support for capacity for representation and social programming. Capacity support was seen by these organizations as essential to peaceful and productive relations with governments.
Strong capacity was also seen as essential to enable Métis and non-Status Indian organisations to deliver targeted and practical socio-economic programming to their members in order to improve education, health and employment outcomes. Additionally, a recent study by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce identified the unique opportunities and challenges offered by Métis people in addressing the private sector's labour market needs: "The Métis are young, urban and highly mobile. Relative to the broader Aboriginal population, the Métis have better economic, social and health outcomes, making them an ideal source of labour for long-term engagement… However, Métis education and labour market outcomes are less positive than those of the non-Aboriginal population"Footnote 10.
The current academic debate on who are the Métis, where are they located and what are their historical "rights" is an intense discourse that highlights the difficult context in which AANDC crafts policy and program responses. The historic legal contentions are illustrated by Jean Teillet of Pape Salter Barristers and Solicitors:
Métis collectives were only permitted to take treaty if they agreed to become "Indians". At other times, Métis were told they had to choose. The available choices were to identify as 'Indian' or 'white.' If they chose to identify as Métis collectives, they were generally denied participation in treaty. The treaty process was used not only to contain and define Indians it was also used as a mechanism to eradicate any possibility of the Métis as a people. After 1870, this process was continued when Canada decided to implement a scrip process to extinguish any Indian title individual Métis might possess. This process finally was implemented beginning in 1885. It is notable because even though Canada created no bureaucracy comparable to the Department of Indian Affairs to regulate the Métis as a people, the scrip record contains a thorough record of the Métis who lived in, used and occupied the Northwest. After the scrip process was completed, the Métis virtually disappear from the historic record. In the eyes of the state, the Métis people were henceforth invisible.Footnote 11
Prior to the 2003 Powley Decision, the concept of Métis Aboriginal harvesting rights was not recognized by federal or provincial governments. Following the Powley decision, AANDC took the initiative of assisting Metis organizations in identifying and enumerating their members. The Supreme Court noted in Powley that it is not the role of the courts to identify Métis rights holders case by case – rather, that "a more systematic method of identifying Métis rights-holders for the purpose of enforcing hunting regulations is an urgent priority" as to avoid extensive litigation where it is not wholly necessary.Footnote 12
Although it is a priority to identify who exactly has harvesting rights, Métis organizations and their members argue that traditionally the Métis were and continue to be a highly mobile population. Spatial issues regarding the extent of traditional territory belonging to Métis communities continue to be addressed in case law.Footnote 13 This poses significant identification issues as the Métis migrate from province to province; for example, transferability of legitimate harvesting cards between provinces as well establishing what is the historic Métis harvesting territory. Additionally, although registration systems have been established in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, some Métis political organizations argue that the Métis right to harvest can be proven in other provinces and territories as well.Footnote 14 Furthermore, since the Powley decision, commercial harvesting rights have not been awarded in litigation, though this issue may be raised in future litigation.Footnote 15
Not only are there complex policy decision to be made by the federal government, other federal departments – particularly the RCMP and Environment Canada, look to AANDC specifically to provide leadership in identifying and clarifying Métis harvesting rights and to provide membership information to enable them to enact the appropriate approach to Métis harvesting rights from a law enforcement and conservation perspective.
AANDC developed an approach of supporting the Métis National Council to develop provincially-based lists of Powley-qualified Métis in order to disseminate harvesting cards to vetted members of the community. Approximately 57,238 Métis have been identified so far on the five provincial registration systems. For Environment Canada, tracking Métis with harvesting rights is necessary for sustainable harvesting of migratory birds - which are a federal responsibility and is also of importance to the United States and Greenland - and protecting wildlife biodiversity.
For Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service), understanding the harvests of migratory birds by right bearing Métis communities is important for sustainable harvesting of migratory birds and their continental management. Canadian Wildlife Service provides funding support to Métis organizations in order to build their capacity in tracking the harvesting of migratory birds through surveys. Most of the organizations rely on AANDC supported registries for generating the harvester and harvest related information. Further, Environment Canada (Wildlife Enforcement Directorate) also acknowledges the importance of maintaining the registries for providing national consistency of standards across the country and the accuracy of the information.
For the RCMP, the list and subsequent harvesting cards provided by some of the provinces facilitates law enforcement activities.Footnote 16 Although the registries are limited to providing vetted identification, they have been useful in negotiating Métis harvesting Memorandums of Understanding in Ontario (1,250 provincial harvesting cards disseminated) and in Manitoba (5,157 provincial harvesting cards disseminated). Similarly, in Alberta, the case studies found that the Alberta registry has been useful for placing Métis children in Métis foster homes. Federal partners indicated that they are dependent on AANDC supporting the registry.
For the purposes of engaging in accommodation negotiations, the registries may also be useful for the federal government. Although all federal acts, regulations and policies take steps to accommodate the possible existence of Aboriginal rights to harvest, and to ensure that such a right is not unjustifiably infringed upon, it has been determined that prior to the Métis registration systems there were "little to no tools to identify a Métis individual on-the-ground for the purposes of implementing these regulatory mechanisms"Footnote 17 as it is up to the Aboriginal collective to provide the proof of an Aboriginal right, if they so assert one. The Métis registries, thus, provide for a tool to identify members of potential right bearing communities with whom AANDC may have a duty to consult when planning to act in a way that could infringe their Section 35 proven or asserted right.
It is important to note that although there is an arguable need for identifying Métis members in order to accommodate harvesting rights, to engage in targeted consultations, and to potentially aid in facilitating negotiations at the provincial level, some interviewees found the concept of a list to be offensive as it again places the federal government and the courts in the position of deciding who are "the Métis". Jean Teillet, a prominent Métis lawyer writes, "Métis identity is confusing to everyone". According to her assessment, there are two types of individuals claiming Métis identity: those who consider themselves to be of mixed ancestry and originate anywhere in Canada - including the non-historic Métis area of Atlantic Canada - while others specifically trace their ancestry to the historic Red River community. For some identifying as Métis, it is a culturally formulated identity while for others, "it is the default definition for those not permitted to be status Indian and who were rejected as white".Footnote 18 Thus, while there is an obvious need for a Métis registrations system for the purpose of harvesting, there are contentious issues with the notion of identification.
The objectives of the FICP are situated within the Program Alignment Architecture under the "Government" strategic outcome, contributing to: "Good governance and co-operative relationships for First Nations, Métis, non-status Indians, Inuit and Northerners".Footnote 19 The FICP is the primary vehicle for the Government to proactively manage Métis and non-status Indians rights in a spirit of achieving reconciliation consistent with the direction stipulated by the Supreme Court of Canada through a balanced, pragmatic and responsible approach. Of key importance, however, is that while the program has some clearly stated objectives with respect to Métis registration systems and reconciliation activities, there are no clearly stated tangible outcomes and no performance measurement strategy. It is thus not possible to assess the alignment of outcomes with Government priorities.
Given the general objectives of the FICP and Powley activities, the evidence suggests that the general roles and responsibilities of each of the federal departments involved are appropriate. The leadership role of the federal government, and specifically AANDC, was found to be appropriate for five key reasons:
(1) The constitution agreement negotiations of the 1980s created the need for tripartite forums. Seven tripartite processes in six provinces are currently underway, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and two in Manitoba. These processes cost a total of $2,820, 000 annually, which is 50 percent cost shared with the six provincial governments. The negotiations focus predominantly on socio-economic issues and the coordination of Métis-specific services. As AANDC is the lead department dealing with issues of Aboriginal rights, its leadership role was seen as appropriate in this regard.
(2) The 2003 Powley Decision to develop more clearly articulated policies and programs, and other similar court cases as indicated above, have provided AANDC with a clear mandate for Métis. Recent Federal and Supreme Court cases have heightened the expectations of Métis and non-status Indians for programs and services.
(3) The recent Department's Reports on Plans and Priorities state a commitment to Métis and non-status Indians organization capacity development. Also, in response to the 2003 Supreme Court Powley decision, the Department is also committed to Métis rights management, and "works with non-profit representative Aboriginal organizations that have substantial Métis membership to develop objectively verifiable member systems for Métis members and harvesters in accordance with the Powley decision"Footnote 20 The Department stated in its Reports on Plans and Priorities that its efforts to meet these priorities will involve tripartite and bilateral relationships, providing funding through both the Basic Organizational Capacity Program and the FICP. The Department committed to strengthening federal-provincial relationships and improving communications to develop a greater understanding and a harmonizing federal-provincial approach to Métis Aboriginal rights.Footnote 21 It also committed to increasing the economic development capacity within Métis and non-Status Indian and Aboriginal organizations by implementing trilateral economic development strategies. In the 2012-2013 Reports on Plans and Priorities, the Department also stated that it will continue to provide constitutional reform, electoral and governance support to Métis and non-Status Indian organizations so they are better able to take advantage of programs and services and better represent their members. The Department will continue to support the development and maintenance of objectively verifiable membership systems. This will include working with the Canadian Standards Association to develop approaches and standards to evaluate the systems.Footnote 22 Finally, AANDC committed to meeting its responsibility as the Federal Interlocutor by advocating within government on behalf of Métis and non-status Indians and Aboriginal organizations to ensure that their interests are reflected in consultation and accommodation matters.Footnote 23 In the 2011 Speech from the Throne, the Government made the public commitment to work with Aboriginal communities, provinces, and territories to meet the challenge of addressing barriers to social and economic participation that many Aboriginal Canadians face.Footnote 24
(4) The role has evolved from being the point of first contact between Métis and non-status Indians and the federal government (the bilateral political relationship with the Métis National Council and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples) to advocating in Cabinet for consideration of Métis and non-Status Indian issues and concerns (1985) for the purposes of working towards achieving practical ways of improving Métis and non-Status Indian socio-economic conditions. According to interviewees, a well-coordinated single point of entry is necessary for these groups to work with the federal government in the management of rights demands.
(5) The heightening expectations of the Métis and non-status Indians for programs and services to be provided at the federal or provincial levels reinforce the importance of having a federal representative working with provincial representations to manage expectations in a coordinated fashion.
Interviews with federal partners illustrated that Métis and non-Status Indian organisations are dependent on AANDC to provide a list of Powley-qualifed Métis with which they will conduct their business. The federal partners are waiting on AANDC to provide further indications of whether or not and how additional programs and services could be incorporated into existing programming. According to one interviewee, "The Métis will continue to use the courts until [AANDC] addresses how business is to be conducted with Aboriginal People". Similarly, interviewees suggested AANDC decisions were reactive to legal outcomes instead of resulting from a comprehensive understanding of needs and reconciliation priorities. The evaluators did, however, find anecdotal evidence of the pro-active role of the RCMP through the approach of funding a community liaison position that allows their department to move away from just maintaining law and order to being able to raise awareness, build relationships in the community and conduct outreach and engagement activities.
Even with an established federal responsibility to manage the relationship with Métis and non-status Indians, there are still many questions surrounding the scope of Métis rights such as: could Métis rights be found elsewhere in Canada? Could the nature of Métis Aboriginal rights extend beyond harvesting for food? Could there be Métis groups who may be able to bring credible claims to both commercial harvesting rights and Aboriginal title? And will Métis rights claims receive the same importance by the courts to those of First Nation or Inuit Aboriginal rights? This demonstrates that there is a need for an avenue through which Métis and non-status Indians can work with the Government to address these uncertainties. Otherwise, these issues may be left to court decision-making processes.
Several organizations noted that restrictive or inadequate funding impedes good alignment with their priorities. For example, one organization described the scope of activities that can be funded under Powley as too restrictive and the basic organizational capacity program as inadequate and too rigid to meet its needs. Another organization said the FICP mechanisms fail to provide adequate funding for administrative costs, including a comprehensive human resources function, severance pay, legal fees in the case of lawsuits, and other support functions: "There is no real consideration of what the costs are for the functions they are supposed to be supporting".
Some organizations expressed the view that the mechanisms do not align because they are implemented in ways that impose heavy government oversight and discourage ownership by the recipient organizations of their own development priorities. One organization said the level of government oversight is such that a funding proposal virtually becomes the Government's document rather than the organization's own document: "The things we propose are considered too controversial. There are constant revisions and ten levels of approval. It is not an arm's length relationship, it is too controlling… We always have to make sure our bilateral program is meeting current government priorities." It should be noted thatalthough national and international academic literature points to the necessity of having long-term work plans and consistent funding for achieving those plans in order to make substantial gains in socio-economic well-being of communities, the representative organizations that AANDC supports are primarily political entities. Thus, the organizational views and desires for activities are often at odds with the priorities of the federal government in areas such as supporting rights lobbying activities. This inherent misalignment requires substantial negotiations between the Department and the funded recipients to ensure activities will achieve practical gains for community members.
One organization connected the lack of alignment between FICP and development priorities in Métis and non-Status Indian communities to an absence of infrastructure in the federal government for the Métis. This organization noted that such infrastructure exists for First Nations, citing the examples of registries, Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and more generous funding for elections.
Only one organization recognized some alignment with Métis and non-Status Indian priorities, noting that the tripartite process gave Aboriginal people more voice and addressed employment priorities. However, the same organization noted that priorities raised through the tripartite process did not always translate to action and services on the ground.
Overall, the funding of Bilateral and Tripartite Forums, cultural celebrations/commemorative/ reconciliation events, community engagement of RCMP officers, organizational capacity building for representative organizations and the development of registration systems has produced some considerable gains: (1) the Métis have gained rights to harvest freely without regulation, including ability to harvest all year round, on federal territory; (2) the Métis have gained free federal park entrance, including abilities to perform spiritual/ceremonial traditions; (3) over the past five years, the Métis have gradually been recognized as another key group in Canada that should be awarded rights and as such, are being engaged on the co-management of the environment along with First Nations and Inuit; (4) practical socio-economic work plans have been established at the provincial levels to address Métis and non-Status Indians needs; (5) representative organizations have built their capacity to better represent and provide services to their members; and (6) by providing additional harvesting access, the federal government has validated the Métis existence – an important step for fostering reconciliation.
Section Note: Although the previous evaluation was able to identify key successes and challenges from the bilateral and tripartite forums, this evaluation struggled to gain access to the representative organizations due to a heightened level of mistrust of the federal government because of recent AANDC funding cuts and the federal government's appeal of Daniels case. Despite these limitations, the evaluation was able to make some general observations based on case studies with four representative bodies, interviews with federal and provincial partners, and annual forum reports.
The previous evaluation found that the Canada-Métis Nation Framework Agreement between the Métis National Council and the Government of Canada signed in 2005 and the Accord on Cooperative Policy Development, signed in 2005 between Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Government of Canada, marked major progress in those organizations' relationship with the Crown. Additionally, the previous evaluation concluded that:
Office of the Federal Interlocutor was pivotal in successfully leading the federal government's response to the Powley decision. Office of the Federal Interlocutor brought a single point within the federal system for dealing with the management of Métis Aboriginal rights, both externally and as a point of cohesion within the federal family. When asked whether the Powley Initiative had succeeded in developing and implementing a coordinated whole-of-government approach to managing Métis Aboriginal rights, officials of the federal departments interviewed uniformly attested 'yes.' One senior enforcement official stated that the initiative marked "probably the best practice in a long, long time in terms of integrating the federal departments."
The previous evaluation provided evidence of a coordinated federal approach, which was found to remain strong in the current evaluation. Interviewees indicated that the federal partners are well engaged at the bilateral and tripartite forums, that AANDC was seen as "a good partner at the discussion tables" and that the federal interdepartmental working group is useful for information sharing. The coordinated approach at the forums was found to be extremely useful for the federal and provincial government representatives to understand the desires of the Métis and Non-status Indian communities and to develop stronger relationships with the Aboriginal representative bodies: "because we are at the table or on the phone weekly with the organizations, this gives us a good idea of what their needs are and what issues they are struggling with."
Program documentation indicates that tripartite processes have supported the creation of institutions of self-governance in the areas of education, economic development, child welfare and justice:
|Province||Education||Economic Development||Child and Family Welfare||Justice||Other|
|Alberta||Rupertsland Institute||Apetogosan||Métis Urban Housing Corporation|
|Manitoba||Louis Riel Institute||Métis Economic Development Organization||Métis Child, Family andCommunity Services Agency Métis Generation Fund for Resource and Energy Development||Métis Justice Institute||Pemmican Publications-to promote Métis authors|
|Saskatchewan||Gabriel Dumont Institute||Clarence Campeau Saskatchewan Métis Development Corp|
The forums have had several key accomplishments (see Appendix A), which have advanced the issues.
Additional impacts of the forums have been the conceptualization and coordination of the Métis Economic Development Symposia held in 2009 and 2010 and partnership work on developing culturally appropriate curriculum to reduce school drop-outs rates.
The first multi-stakeholder economic development strategy process was initiated by the Government of Manitoba who invited Minister Chuck Strahl to participate in the process with the Manitoba Métis Federation. A Métis Economic Development Table was established to oversee and provide direction for the preparation of the Strategy. Recognizing that this Manitoba model was useful and necessary for Métis organizations, the Office of the Federal Interlocutor initiated discussions to develop similar economic development strategies with the assistance of provincial governments and Métis National Council affiliates in Ontario and British Columbia. Strategies have now been completed with the following:
These initiatives led to the first Métis Economic Development Symposium being hosted in Calgary in 2009 by the Honourable Chuck Strahl and then by Honourable John Duncan in Vancouver in 2011. The meetings of ministers and Métis leaders stem in part from the Métis Nation Protocol that was first signed in 2008 between AANDC and the Métis National Council (Métis National Council), committing the two parties to work on a range of issues, and the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, which represents a fundamental change in how the Government of Canada supports Aboriginal economic development. Since the launch of the Framework, the Government has contributed over $45 million annually to support Aboriginal business development, Aboriginal participation in large scale resource and energy development projects, and Aboriginal access to capital for business development opportunities.
In terms of curriculum development, four of the forums (Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia) are actively working to develop appropriate education strategies through after school programming, mentoring support and providing incentives for enrolling in post-secondary education. The FICP is specifically helping to fund initiatives such as the Pathways to Education programming and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit High School Graduation Coach Program to target urban Aboriginal students.
Key challenges to achieving practical gains in the forums included:
This evaluation was unable to assess the extent of the practical gains at the community level as a result of the seven tripartite forums and the two bilateral forums. However, provincial representatives sitting within these forums did express that despite many of the jurisdictional issues that continue to prevent more concrete activities, AANDC is seen to be a good partner at the table and that it has been important for all stakeholders to see federal faces represented so as to build trust and respect "and see that the Government is in fact ordinary people". Interviewees also noted that the forums are operating in a similar manner with the goal of achieving practical gains. Templates are used to guide discussions that include identifying priority areas where the representative organizations will choose priorities, and then together negotiate long-term objectives, activities, expected results, budget, and expected date of completion. Additionally, the services delivered by the institutions created by the tripartite process are seen by participants to be of great value and importance to constituents as well as having significant symbolic value. According to the case studies, however, recipient organizations identified a lack of funding for new initiatives as a challenge in achieving their goals.
One of the FICP activities is to organize commemorative events and engage in gestures of reconciliation across Canada in order to recognize Métis contributions and increase understanding of Métis history and culture within Canada. (Appendix B identifies completed activities since 2008)
The Parks Canada Agency also holds the mandate of increasing awareness of Métis history and culture and does so through storytelling activities within federal parks. Parks Canada’s role of storytelling was found to be appropriate as they are uniquely placed to support the Métis to interact with and tell their story to the Canadian population. This was found to be especially important when explaining why Métis have harvesting rights in the parks, as interviewees indicated that there is a need for a common understanding that FICP is providing historically-based rights instead of providing race-based rights. However, interviews with provincial representatives demonstrated that there is a lot of public discourse about who are the Métis and their place in Canada as a result of court cases occurring across the country and that media coverage is displaying a lack of understanding on behalf of the general public. Some provincial representatives discussed backlashes due to a lack of empathy in the general public.
The previous evaluation found that:
The membership registry element of the Powley Initiative was critical in complying with the Supreme Court instructions. "As Métis communities continue to organize themselves more formally and to assert their constitutional rights," the Powley decision stated, "it is imperative that membership requirements become more standardized so that legitimate rights-holders can be identified." The evaluation results indicate progress in this regard—although the membership registries are now at varying stages of completion and rigour across the provinces.
From a legal perspective, the previous evaluation also noted that, "federal litigation experts suggested that registries will prove important in future cases. If properly developed and maintained, such registries will provide invaluable evidence indicating who are rights-holders."
This evaluation has found that Powley registration databases have been developed and are functioning in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, with approximately 57,238 Powley qualified members now registered at a cost to AANDC of approximately $1 million per organization per year ($40 million over nine years) or $700 per registrant. The membership systems allow for five outcomes:
Interviews and case studies confirmed that although functional systems have been developed, there is a need to develop a more standard, credible, and practical system. The case studies also revealed that there may be difficult relationships between the Métis National Council and its affiliates managing the databases. As a result, efficiency gains may be made if AANDC were to work directly with those affiliates in standardizing and maintaining those systems.
To be registered as Métis, one must apply to the Métis Registry operated by the Métis National Council Governing Member in the province in which that person resides. Each Registry has its own application forms and application process. Application forms can usually be downloaded from the Registry's website or can be obtained in person at the provincial office or regional offices of the Governing Member in question or can be mailed to the applicant. However, current application processes differ between provinces and are not verifiable, and the new registries sometimes conflict with the pre-existing non-Powley membership registration systems in the same organizations, as well as with the registries maintained by other non Métis National Council affiliated Métis and non-status Indians and other Aboriginal representative organizations operating in the same areas (for example, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples' affiliates' membership registries).
At the moment, the registries: (1) allow the members to participate in the governance process of the representative organization; (2) provide a starting point for negotiations at the provincial level to determine harvesting rights; and (3) they provide proof of ancestry for access to various regional and federal programs and services. Agreements have been signed with Ontario and Manitoba, thus providing 1,250 harvesting cards in Ontario since 1999 and 5,157 in Manitoba since 2004. Additionally, other federal departments will potentially use the list to understand the scope and demographic information of Métis communities in order to design more targeted policies and programs. Provinces have started to explore other uses for the list. For example, in Alberta, the province is using the system to place children during child intervention and apprehension with Métis foster families.
The process for establishing the registries was led by AANDC providing funding to each of the Métis National Council affiliates who were then responsible for vetting membership applications based on the Powley established criteria. Although this approach was seen by interviewees to be more efficient than the federal government holding a centralized registry and that it provides the Métis with more autonomy, interviewees with provinces and the federal departments indicated that there are concerns about how membership assessments were carried out and that an external evaluation of each system will be necessary in order for the provinces to feel comfortable in using the list for further negotiation purposes. AANDC is currently looking to fund such an assessment of the system, with the goal to have membership cards that are verifiable and can be used like status cards with solid proof of background attached to them.
In 2008, the Institute of Governance and the Office of the Federal Interlocutor conducted an initial review of the Métis membership systems, analyzing five Métis National Council regional affiliates: Métis Nation of British Columbia, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Métis Federation, and Labrador Métis Nation (now the NunatukaVut Community Council, which is no longer being funded under this stream as a result of revisions to its membership criteria making it no longer eligible). This assessment scored each registry system based on indicators for six key elements of an objectively verifiable membership or harvester system: 1. Coherent and standardized membership codes; 2. Effective and transparent registration process; 3. Accessible, independent review and appeals; 4. secure information; 5. Secure identification; and 6. Adequate resourcing and review of procedures. With the exception of Métis Nation British Columbia, which scored high, the Métis organizations scored adequate or lower on their conformance to the assessment standards. The general conclusions of this assessment were that those registry systems, which have matured more quickly than others, possessed superior internal capacities such as early and strong support of political leadership, sustained attention of registrars to establish policies and procedures to guide the registration process, early attention to securing the required staff to manage the registry, and an abiding sense of the further uses and larger purpose of the registry as the foundation of the organization.Footnote 25
Since this Initial Assessment, AANDC has continued to work with Métis organizations to develop harmonized registry standards across provinces. Additionally, the Canadian Standards Association is working with the Government and with funded Métis groups to design a method for verifying the quality and integrity of membership systems. AANDC is working towards having the five Métis registration systems objectively verifiable by a target date in 2017.Footnote 26 However, interviewees pointed out that the assessment may lead to the need to establish a more standardized approach that could result in the need to revoke some memberships, which would cause further tensions amongst Métis members. Similarly, tension is already being felt within these organizations that have pre-established members that do not meet the Powley test and are thus offended by the implication that they are not truly "Métis". In response to this challenge, representative organizations have created separate lists of members that are not Powley-qualified members so as to not alienate these individuals claiming Métis status. These processes thus carry a risk of de-stabilizing AANDC's intentions to build stronger relationships. As such, the Department needs to be prepared to engage Métis and non-Status Indian organizations to mitigate this risk. Challenges are also being faced due to opposition from the Métis National Council, which has resulted in time delays.
An additional challenge of the established registries is their limitations in geographic accessibility. As one academic writes, "The evidence suggests that the Métis who lived in, used and occupied this vast area, the Northwest, were connected and formed one large historic society founded on kinship, a shared economy and a common way of life. Mobility, one of the primary characteristics of this Métis community, was the glue that kept the people connected throughout this vast territory."Footnote 27 However, the registries are limited by provincial boundaries. One must go to their originating territory to apply for membership. According to Arsenault & Sharp writing on the subject, "The growth in the Métis population since 1996 (nearly doubling by 2006) suggests that this disaffected group of Métis is large and growing. Although increased Métis self-identification can be interpreted as encouraging in that it means that Métis people feel increasingly secure and justified in self identifying, it poses significant statistical challenges to the accurate tracking of Métis socio-economic progress"Footnote 28 Similarly, a lot of background information is needed to verify a Métis individual, and membership requests are increasing substantially as a perceived result of the very public Federal and Supreme Court cases. Proof of identity was found to be a barrier for many individuals but was seen as the only way to prevent over-registration and fraudulent use of harvesting rights.
Organizations stated that they do not have the funding and human resources to keep up with the number of new applicants resulting in extremely long waiting times for applicants to receive membership confirmation. Similarly, documents reviewed demonstrate that registry systems require a long term financial commitment to be verifiable in order to appropriately inform policy. Given the infancy of the systems, the funding mechanisms, and year-to-year capacity issues - the implementation of systems, processes and keeping trained personnel has been a challenging task. To date, developing objective membership systems of this complexity has been funded at just under $1 million per year per organization ($30 million over seven years). An objectively verifiable process requires many steps in the process for each application, with checks and balances, competent staff, and a requirement for rigorous data collection. Applicants often are challenged to, or do not have the means to, provide the information required by the organization, thereby delaying the processing of the application.
On the other hand, without a clearly defined legal and policy framework for Métis identification, the Department, as well as Métis organizations, run the risk of high influxes of applications as well as multiple upstart organizations, where there is a high degree of contention over the definition of what constitutes a rights-bearing Métis person.
According to a lawyer working on Métis litigation, "After the Daniels case, all of a sudden people are remembering that they are Métis."Footnote 29 These events, combined with overwhelmed registration systems, create a high risk environment for managing harvesting activities. Similarly, although there have been approximately 12 unsuccessful cases in the east coast for individuals claiming Métis rights in the courtsFootnote 30, the Daniels case may heighten the desire of individuals to try to seek rights through organizations or through the courts.
The case studies found that the FICP processes and the Powley Initiative have helped organizations be more effective in key functions. At the same time, lesser successes were found in helping organizations set objectives and priorities and improving accountability. Yet, in a few cases, such as tripartite negotiations with the Manitoba Métis Federation, organizations are increasingly displaying improved governance and are able to provide comprehensive and tailored services to their members. As one of the oldest tripartite tables, the Manitoba Métis Federation table created the Louis Riel Institute in 1995 and oversaw the devolution of Child and Family Services from the province of Manitoba to the Métis Child and Family Services Authority from 2004 to 2006. The Saskatchewan tripartite table, however, continues to be challenged by regional politics as was the case in the previous evaluation. Overall, organizational capacity trends were as follows:
Authoritative studies on capacity development suggest that organizational capacity is best developed when driven by the organization itself, rather than by external actors (See, for example, Baser and Morgan , Capacity, Change and Performance. The Baser and Morgan study and others (see for example, Boesen and Therkildsen , A Results-Oriented Approach to Capacity Change, available at The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark) suggest that organizational capacity development of the kind FICP is intended to foster requires timelines of 10 years or more. In international development circles, capacity development is recognized as a long-term process that is not amenable to rigid delivery pressures, quick fixes and short-term results seeking.
A growing body of literature points to the success of alternative models in tackling deep-seated social and economic problems faced by marginalized groups, such as Aboriginal youth. Collective Impact, one such model, contends that large-scale social change requires broad, cross-sectoral, coordinated interventions rather than isolated initiatives by individual organizations (see Kania and Kramer "Collective Impact," Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter, 2011).Footnote 31 Best practices for the FICP to consider include the development of long-term capacity building plans for each supported organization that includes the ability to track the capacity gains being made for each organization.Footnote 32
The FICP has regularly supported the funding of university professors and their students, as well as representative organizations and consulting firms to conduct relevant research in order to provide evidence for policy making. However, the research funding recipients interviewed were critical of the timelines imposed on contracts and of how the research is disseminated and stored once completed. Funded research topics have included the following:
Interviewees stated that AANDC has "been really proactive in pursing research and establishing an intellectual scholarly approach" but it was unclear as to why AANDC is funding the research. There were questions about what AANDC is trying to accomplish with the research and if their work is actually making a difference. The evaluation team could not find evidence of where the research was applied in a systematic fashion to the development of policies or programs.
As a result of Powley, individuals are gaining pride and enthusiasm about their Métis heritage: According to provincial representatives, it is unclear at this time if hunting practices have actually increased with the dissemination of harvesting cards. However, there was general consensus through anecdotal information that people are more open about talking about their heritage and being excited about their heritage.
RCMP coordinators that are funded by the authority for the pro-active reconciliation and management of Métis Aboriginal rights and that are placed in communities allow for better community engagement instead of punitive measures: Officers situated within the communities, and some having offices within the representative organizations' buildings, is allowing for better understanding and collaboration on a variety of community safety issues.
Funding research projects has provided an outlet for engaged communities to learn about and connect with their own history: The original intention of funding research was to provide the federal government with the information necessary to make informed policy decisions. However, academics being funded by the FICP are striving to include community members in their research by also hosting community information sharing workshops and including community members where possible in assisting in the data collection work. It was recommended by some of the funded academics interviewed that this should be a best practice that could be regular practice if the research timelines could be extended. A major challenge in conducting research for the FICP was the often unpredictable and late timelines of funding contracts as well as short turn-around times that were at inconvenient times of the school year. It was also noted that a lot more could be done by the FICP to amalgamate and disseminate the research conducted so that it could be more useful for communities, the federal and provincial governments and for the academic community at large.
One notable negative unintended outcome is the concern that some representative organizations are dependent on FICP funding for core operations. According to the case studies and interviews, organizations were thought to be vulnerable to closure given the pending federal funding cuts. One interviewee stated that "organizations were encouraged in the beginning to create a governing structure that may not be sustainable without permanent federal government [support]."
Interviewees noted areas in which research activities, commemorative events and the activities of the federal partner organizations could be better interconnected and collaborative to achieve additional program performance gains. It was suggested that an annual research findings symposium that includes Métis communities as well as a centralized online platform would be helpful as it could allow for the dissemination of research, court case updates, overviews of bilateral and tripartite work plans and their progress, discussion forums, and for stakeholders to connect.
A challenge noted by interviewees for the continuation of a coordinated approach was the dissolution of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor and the subsequent moving of FICP to the Policy and Strategic Direction directorate of AANDC. Federal partners, AANDC staff, provincial representatives and representative organizations felt that the role of the Federal Interlocutor is diminished as it has moved from a perceived prominent and politically-engaged position at the Privy Council Office to now a sub-program at AANDC. It was stated that when the branch was within the Privy Council Office, the office reported directly to the Minister with a minister’s liaison. This was useful to have the direct line of communication, especially when negotiating among several parties. The liaison remained intact when it became a part of AANDC, however, with the dissolution of Office of the Federal Interlocutor, interviewees found that the Federal Interlocutor’s role has been hindered by added levels of bureaucracy in that it has been increasingly more challenging to work with the FICP and to get updates on how the federal partners should be moving forward on the horizontal mandate.
Some interviewees believe that a centralized program allows for strategic policy making and the nurturing of fragile relationships, while on the other hand, it was felt that if more practical gains are to be made on the socio-economic well-being of individuals, the regions would be better placed to expand some of their current programs and services. The policy debate is as follows: The FICP is unique in comparison to how AANDC typically conducts its activities. The centralized program develops policy, engages in advocacy, conducts negotiations and delivers capacity building programs and services to representative organizations who theoretically may then deliver specialized programs and services to their membership. Normally, each of these program activities would be conducted in a different sector or branch. For the FICP, it was seen as a "one stop shop for Métis and non-status Indians." This approach was believed by some to be necessary for maintaining a high-level and strategic relationship with representative organizations in order to build trust. However, others expressed that the Department should consider expanding targeted regional programs and services to Métis and non-status Indians instead of having a centralized program. This approach would focus less on maintaining higher level relationships with representative bodies and engaging in forums that are often extremely political and more on providing identified community members with some of the programs and services accessed by on reserve and Inuit communities.
Additionally, the priority of focus for Aboriginal organizations is somewhat unclear, as there are simultaneous pressures to advocate and litigate for rights recognition, while at the same time focusing on programming intended to improve socio-economic well-being. At the moment, the case studies revealed that not all organizations are able to be highly active in providing programs and services as they are mainly preoccupied with supporting litigation cases, being advocates at the provincial/territorial and national level, and providing feedback to various levels of government on existing or proposed governmental policies and programs.
AANDC along with Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency and RCMP jointly established a mandate to carry out "a pro-active reconciliation and management approach for Métis Aboriginal rights that is in keeping with the Government's intent to maintain calm and order by managing Aboriginal rights issues, avoid litigation and the court process. However, the various articulations of objectives, activities and expected outcomes for all federal partners and AANDC's FICP specifically, indicate that there is a need to review and consolidate the program's core performance measurement documentation."
With the FICP no longer within the purview of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor, there is no longer a political relationship specific to this program, and there is unlikely a strong link to Cabinet. There remains a focus on improving socio-economic conditions, increasing self-reliance and reducing dependency; however, according to interviewees, organizations are dependent on AANDC for funding core operations, and the availability of targeted socio-economic programs. Given the recent move of Office of the Federal Interlocutor sunder Social Programming, AANDC has not yet articulated how it may support MNSI organizations to improve socio-economic well-being. There remain tensions between the various activities of the program to avoid litigation, engage in litigation, build the capacity of Métis and non-Status Indian organizations (which also results in an improved ability of Métis and non-Status Indian organizations to litigate against AANDC), represent Métis and non-Status Indian organizations interests, conduct research to support litigation, build co-operative relationships , support a registry and to then ultimately see better socio-economic outcomes for these populations.
An Integrated Results-Based Management and Accountability Framework and Risk-Based Audit Framework was developed in 2008, however, the evaluation found little evidence that the program is tracking, monitoring and assessing its activities and performance in a routine and organized fashion. The various stated objectives and expected outcomes of the FICP and the Federal Interlocutor's Mandate are as follows:
Various Program Objectives:
Various Expected Outcomes:
Various Activities of FICP:
Given the relative lack of clarity in objectives, a comprehensive performance measurement strategy is needed. Additionally, interviews and case studies found that the program's objectives regarding reducing litigation and improving socio-economic well-being may be too lofty of expectations.
While conducting the case studies, the organizations interviewed were not aware of the FICP's expected outcomes. One organization said AANDC should make organizations aware of these objectives so they can work toward them and measure their own progress.
The subject matter surrounding the issue of Métis and non-Status Indians rights is often highly political and contentious. There is a lot of tension and mistrust between multiple stakeholders, and even between the representative organizations. The relationship between the federal government and representative organizations is extremely fragile. (Appendix C outlines notable national and regional court cases around questions of Métis rights.)
The case studies revealed that there is a lot of mistrust of government officials. The additional impact of funding cuts also fueled suspicions and feelings of the federal government conspiring to close down representative organizations. It was evident that the relationship between AANDC and representative organizations deteriorated severely as a result of the cuts and how they were informed about the cuts. AANDC was also criticized by externals for poor communication.
The Métis National Council, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and their provincial affiliates have a highly coordinated litigation strategy where they are testing the following arguments in various court systems:
The reason for the high volume of litigation is that the Métis feel that they have been excluded in the past and now see litigation as the only available mechanism to pressure governments to take their issues seriously.Footnote 34
In the Federal Court Manitoba Métis Federation case, the Court provided a decision without specifically instructing the Crown on a recommended course of action. The Crown is only required to apply the decision in-general leaving the practicalities of developing policies and programming in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats. The FICP, thus, operates in an environment with many stakeholders that have divergent perspectives on who are the Métis, whether they have rights and what those rights may entail, resulting in several points of conflict:
When discussing the FICP with the provinces, overall, AANDC is seen as a good partner at the table but sometimes it just is not possible to overcome jurisdictional arguments, to agree on what are the "rights" of the Métis, and to come to consensus on the way forward. The following table illustrates the divergence in Métis recognition and collaboration in each region: Footnote 36
|Alberta||The Alberta-Métis Settlements Accord (1989) was a political agreement between Alberta and the Federation of Métis Settlement Associations (now called the Métis Settlements General Council), which described both parties' intentions to develop a new land-based governance model for the Métis Settlements. Eight Settlements were established by the Métis Settlements Act. Outside of these settlements, the province does not acknowledge the existence of other Métis communities.|
|British Columbia||Several cases that have found insufficient evidence to establish a rights-bearing Métis community in the province (i.e.,Howse, Nunn, Willison cases)|
|Atlantic Canada and Quebec||
There is no recognition by courts of Métis right-bearing communities; Vautour (NB) and Babin (NS) (both at appeal stage), Corneau (QC - early stage of trial)
Quebec historically does not recognize the existence of Métis.
Maritimes have declared thePowley decision has no application in their provinces.
Pressure continues to build in Quebec (Parks), the Atlantic (Fisheries), and Labrador (Claims).
There is a lot of litigation where provinces are waiting for court decisions before recognizing the existence of Métis Aboriginal rights. The lower courts are finding rights in Manitoba and Saskatchewan with an important case before the courts in Alberta.
There is the willingness to discuss how to address assertions of Métis Aboriginal rights and there is a spirit of co-operation and willingness to involve the federal government.
Tensions and harvesting pressures are low.
Has addressed identification of Métis harvesters with Métis National Council affiliate.
Is conducting joint research with federal government and Métis.
|Territories||North of 60th parallel is under a different policy approach. Métis and non-status Indians are included in land claim processes.|
As the above table illustrates, creating a common federal/provincial approach is sometimes challenging as provinces do not generally recognize Métis rights in the same way as the federal government. Federal and provincial partners also find it challenging to know with whom exactly the Crown has an obligation to consult and may disagree on who needs to be at the forums.
Office of the Federal Interlocutor was designed to be the first point of contact and to work with the Federal Interlocutor and as such the program has remained the single window of entry for the Métis and non-status Aboriginal communities. The Urban Aboriginal Strategy also delivered by AANDC and also once delivered through the Office of the Federal Interlocutor was found to be working with Métis and non-Status Indians in their targeted cities. Although interviewees thought that their activities do not overlap, it will be necessary to ensure that both programs’ activities continue to be well coordinated, especially now that they are located in different areas of the Department.
The case studies revealed that some organizations regularly take a loan through lines of credit and that they will pay interest on when funding from AANDC is late. One organization also stated that it is spending money on Human Resources court cases as they hired someone based on expected funding levels from AANDC and were subsequently forced to let the new employee go once the funding cuts were announced. For organizations that have taken on debt in preparation for 2013-14, the funding cut announcement may make it difficult for them to pay off their current debt levels. The previous evaluation similarly stated that:
Almost all Aboriginal organizations interviewed stated that they had difficulty obtaining funds from the Office of the Federal Interlocutor on time. Throughout the country, Aboriginal organizations reported the same scenario: long delays in signing agreements and processing funds, which led in some cases to overdrafts and interest on overdrafts due to financing by banks. In cases where the organization had no bank to turn to, they simply did not achieve planned work. In some instances, the delays incurred threats to the organization’s stability and credibility — such difficulties as missed payrolls and bad credit with banks.
Although the previous evaluation and this evaluation attribute some of the delays to challenges with recipients’ reports, the fact that this remains a problem and that one of the key activities of FICP is to support the capacity development of these organizations points to major challenges to the effectiveness and efficiency of the program. Organizations found it challenging to complete all the required evaluation, auditing and financial reporting. FICP program staff often identified inconsistencies in the reporting. Additionally, the negotiations to establish a work plan were thought to be onerous. Although AANDC has supported organizations in developing their financial management and auditing functions, organizations suggested that the support has not been enough to increase efficiencies and that AANDC should consider funding internal evaluation activities as most are able to report solely on their activities with their members (transactional) and not on their results (impacts).
As shown in Table 1, the relative proportion of all funding for the Métis/non-status portfolio used for salary and operations and maintenance, relative to that used for contributions increased steadily from four percent to 13 percent from 2009 to 2012, but has since decreased in 2012-13 and 2013-14 to eight percent and six percent, respectively. While there have been no indicators for cost-effectiveness developed for these programs, it is clear that as the mandate of Métis and non-status Indian Relations Branch has evolved, a steadily increasing proportion of their total costs has shifted to contributions to the Métis and non-status Indian organizations. Additionally, the current proportion of funds for operations and maintenance relative to contributions is on par with other contributions-based programs in the Department.
Powley funds for Parks Canada, the RCMP and Environment Canada are largely used for operations and maintenance, which seems appropriate given their roles in the process.
The need for ongoing support of pro-active reconciliation and management of Métis rights and the management of Métis and non-status Indian litigation is amply demonstrated. Additionally, it is clear that achieving this depends on the ability to have open dialogue and practical work plans, which are theoretically facilitated in part by bilateral and tripartite discussions. In order for Métis and non-status Indians to be represented in such discussions, they need representation and thus, there is a need for organizational capacity for Métis and non-Status Indian organizations. While there has been evidence of capacity improvements, concerns persist that they are vulnerable due to a high degree of dependence on federal funding, and some face considerable challenges with respect to debt and financial management.
Based on the Powley decision and the need to maintain calm and order among affected peoples, there is also a need for a Métis registration system. While there has been some success in this regard, registration systems are not currently standardized and lack the capacity to accommodate the expected volumes and the ongoing and evolving issues of Métis status and rights recognition. This is particularly pertinent with respect to recent legal decisions, the position of Métis organizations, the positions of provincial governments, and the position of the Government of Canada.
As a program, which is part of the Government’s broader reconciliation efforts and litigation, the purpose of FICP needs to be better articulated; particularly in light of the move from the Office of the Federal Interlocutor to AANDC’s Policy and Strategic Direction, and the resultant change in its strategic outcome to governance. There is a plethora of purpose and outcome statements on FICP and the program generally lacks focus in terms of clearly identifying a specific set out objectives and outcomes. There is a need for AANDC, with the engagement of its federal and Aboriginal partners, to clearly articulate the purpose and objectives of FICP in its current form under Policy and Strategic Direction, and to develop a comprehensive Performance Measurement Strategy to reflect this.
It is therefore recommended that AANDC:
|Province||Organizations||Dates||Current amount of Tripartite||Key Areas of Focus||Key Accomplishments|
|BC||Métis Nation British Columbia||1996 to present||250k||Governance, Economic the Development, Financial Reform||Developed a strong governance structure. Key pieces of Métis Nation British Columbia legislation developed: Citizenship Act, Senate Act, Governing Assembly Act, Electoral Act and Natural Resources Act. Long term strategic plan based on input from all their chartered communities. Policy pieces on economic development, education (e.g. Métis curricula) and child welfare all for Métis people. 2006 Métis Nation Relationship Accord signed by the Government of BC and the Métis Nation of British Columbia committing them to work on matters of importance to the Métis people in BC.|
|United Native Nations (Tripartite Process Suspended in 2010)||1996- 2010||0||Governance, Membership (prior to relationship being suspended).||Economic strategy, including Aboriginal tourism. Development of training materials for United Native Nations board. Development of policy and procedure manuals. Development of long-term strategic plan. Development of a Youth and Women’s council.|
|Alberta||Métis Settlements General Council (Tripartite Process suspended in 2011)||1997-2011||0||Economic Development, Education, Child and Family, Long-Term Strategic Planning (Prior to process being suspended).||
|Métis Nation Alberta||1992 to present||300k||Economic Development, Health, Governance, Child and Family Services||
|Saskatchewan||Métis Nation-Saskatchewan||1993 to present||285k||Governance Reform (internal and external), Internal Capacity, Community Engagement||
|Manitoba||Manitoba Métis Federation||1987 to present||290k||Education, Housing, Economic Development, Consultation, MB Métis Policy||
|Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg||1997 to present||100k||Women, Economic Development, Education, Training and Employment; Youth, Justice, Culture||
|Ontario||Métis Nation Ontario (Métis Nation of Ontario)||2004 to present||150k||Governance, Economic Development.||
|PEI||Native Council Prince Edward Island||1987 to present||35K||Education, Economic Development, Housing, Health||
|Métis south of 60º|
|September 5, 2008||Métis Nation Protocol was signed by the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non-status Indians and Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and the Métis National Council and its governing members. In April 2013, a renewal of the Métis Nation Protocol was signed by the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non-status Indians and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and the Métis National council and its governing members||AANDC|
|April 2009||Government of Canada partnered with the Métis National Council to launch a new Métis Veterans Portal.||AANDC and Veterans Affairs Canada|
|November 11, 2009||The Honourable Chuck Strahl joined Métis Veterans at Juno Beach to unveil a traditional Red River Cart and exhibit, which will stand as a lasting tribute to Métis veterans.||AANDC|
|December 9, 2009||Parliamentarians unanimously declared 2010 "Year of the Métis."||AANDC|
|December 16, 2009||Métis Economic Development Symposium (Calgary)||AANDC|
|November 14, 2010||The Government of Canada unveiled a commemorative medallion to mark 2010 as Year of the Métis, at a special cultural ceremony at the Aboriginal Historic site known as The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.||AANDC|
|July 18, 2010||The Honourable John Duncan, in his former role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, participated in the unveiling of a Memorial Gate leading to the cemetery located at the Batoche National Historic Site, Saskatchewan, in honour of those who fought and died during the Battles of Batoche, Duck Lake and Fish Creek 125 years ago.||AANDC|
|January 20, 2011||Métis Economic Development Symposium II (Vancouver)||AANDC|
|July 22, 2011||AANDC joined in the "Back to Batoche" celebrations to pay tribute to Métis ancestors, culture and history.||AANDC|
|October 25, 2012||The Honourable John Duncan attended the National Recognition Ceremony for First Nations and Métis communities with a heritage linked to the War of 1812 held at Rideau Hall to commemorate the brave actions of Aboriginal warriors involved in these battles.||AANDC|
|2011-2012 fiscal year||Métis National Council canvassed the views and perceptions of its members on issues relating to registration, membership and citizenship under the Exploratory Process on Indian Registration, Band Membership and Citizenship.||AANDC|
|June 21, 2013||Wembley, AB: President Chartier signed an agreement with the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum on behalf of the Métis Local 1990, pledging its support in creating the Métis display that provides cultural content that recognizes the Métis Nation and its contributions to Canada.Footnote 37||Métis National Council|
|Métis in the North (Yukon, NWT )|
|June 26, 2011||In the Northwest Territories, Métis are part of regional claims (i.e. Gwich’in, Tlicho and Sahtu). The Northwest Territories Métis Nation is nearing completion of their land and resource Agreement-in-Principle of a Lands and Resources agreement and is beginning a Phase 2, self-government tripartite negotiation.||AANDC and Government of Northwest Territories|
|Since 2006-2007 fiscal year||The Northwest Territory Métis Nation has received negotiations and project funding, while its five community-based Métis Councils have received interim core organizational funding while involved in lands and resources negotiation processes.||AANDC|
|March 11, 2013||Prime Minister Harper announced the conclusion of Northwest Territories devolution negotiations and that a consensus agreement on devolution had been reached. There was a joint signing ceremony on agreement to conclude Devolution signed by the Government of Canada, Government of Northwest Territories, and participating Northwest Territories Aboriginal groups/government including the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Tlicho Government.||AANDC and Government of Northwest Territories|
|April 1, 2014 (Implementation Date)||The Northwest Territories Métis Nation is one of the 5 regional Aboriginal organizations/governments who are signatories to the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement-in-Principle with the Government of Northwest Territories and AANDC. Devolution will move administration and control of Crown (public) lands, resources and water in the Northwest Territories from the Government of Canada to Government of Northwest Territories. The territorial government will also receive a financial benefit from resource development after devolution. The Government of Northwest Territories has agreed to share up to 25 percent of its share of resource revenues to Northwest Territories Aboriginal governments.||AANDC and Government of Northwest Territories|
|Nationally: Advocacy and Public Information Program|
|Since 2007-2008||Métis National Council received Advocacy and Public Information Program funding to conduct outreach and to inform Métis former students, their families and communities about the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.||AANDC|
|Since 2011||Métis National Council has been promoting reconciliation and raising awareness about the intergenerational impacts of residential schools through the Youth Leadership Workshops that have been held in Batoche, Saskatchewan. Publications from these workshops are available on the Manitoba National Council website through the Healing Portal.||AANDC|
|2011-2012 fiscal year||The Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended Métis National Council’s proposal for commemoration funding to hold a Métis Nation Survivors’ Conference, providing a vehicle of expression for those individuals impacted by the legacy of residential schools. As well, Manitoba National Council will develop a documentary using video interviews with Métis former students about their unique experiences in residential/day/industrial schools for use as an educational tool and as a lasting commemorative piece to honour and pay tribute to Métis former students. Some of these interviews are currently available through The Manitoba National Council Healing Portal. The final documentary will be broadcast on television in Canada and available on the Healing Portal.||AANDC and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission|
|2012-2013 and 2013-2014 fiscal years||Commemoration funding will be provided to two additional Métis recipients: Fishing Lake Métis Settlement (Alberta) and the Norman Wells Métis Women’s Society (Northwest Territories).||AANDC and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission|
|November 2012||Following the Prime Minister’s 2008 Apology to survivors of Indian Residential Schools, their families and communities, a commemorative stained glass window was inaugurated in Centre Block. The window is a visible reminder of the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, a gesture of reconciliation and respect. It was designed by a Métis artist (Christi Belcourt).||AANDC and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission|
|Date||Name of Case||Outcome|
|December 1996||R. v. Morin & Daigneault||The Court recognized the constitutional right of Métis in northwest Saskatchewan to harvest for food. The Province appealed this decision in September 1997, however, the appeal was dismissed.|
|March 2003||R. V. Blais||Manitoba Métis man was charged for hunting in violation of provincial regulations. It was held that the Métis were not "Indians" under the NRT, and that the Métis had been historically treated differently than Indians in the region. The Court also held that Métis hunting rights are not dependent on the existence of title.|
|December 2004 - January 2007||Kelley v. Alberta||In 2004, Kelley (Métis) was teaching his children to hunt and was convicted of hunting without a license under theAlberta Wildlife Act, though he had relied on the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement. However, in 2007, the Alberta Court of the Queen’s Bench reversed the lower court’s decision and over-turned the conviction stating that Métis harvesters could rely on the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement as a defense against charges.|
|October 2004 - January, 2009||Manitoba v. Goodon||Goodon was charged with hunting without a license, even while holding a Manitoba Métis Federation harvester card. The judge rule in Goodon’s favour after five years of litigation and determined the rights-bearing community is much larger within Manitoba than previously established. This has implications for the Crown’s duty to consult for future investments in the added region of hunting territory.|
|2004||Canada v. Misquadis||Federal Court ruled that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has discriminated against the urban Aboriginal community. This decision was upheld on appeal. It was determined that Aboriginal political organizations can represent urban Aboriginal interests and that the Human Resources Skills Development Canada must provide funding for the infrastructure required to deliver services and establish representative governance.|
|2005-BC||Blackwater v. Plint||This case involved four actions by 27 former students of Alberni Indian Residential school who claimed damages based on sexual abuse and other harms. The Court ordered 75% of the damages from the Canadian government, and 25% from the Church.|
|July 2005||R. v. Laviolette||The courts confirmed that Saskatchewan’s use of the Northern Administration District was arbitrary and it could not be relied upon to define Métis harvesting rights. The Court also reconfirmed that Métis throughout northwest Saskatchewan have a right to harvest for food, and this includes areas south of the Northern Administration District.|
|2005||Métis National Council of Women v. Canada||The Métis National Council of Women challenged the decision of the federal government not to permit Métis National Council of Women to become a party to the Human Resourced Development Canada program. The trial judge denied the claim. It was appealed to the Supreme Court where it was denied.|
|June 2007||R. v. Laurin and Lemieux||In fall 2004, Ontario began to breach the Four Point Agreement whereby Ontario agreed to recognize the Métis Nation of Ontario’s Harvester’s Certificates in all of the Métis Nation of Ontario’s identified harvesting territories. The Court ruled against Ontario and upheld the Agreement. Ontario did not appeal the decision.|
|October, 2007||R. v. Belhumeur||The courts affirmed that Métis in southern Saskatchewan also have Métis harvesting rights. Specifically, the court found a rights-bearing Métis community spans the Qu’Appelle Valley and includes Regina.|
|2007||Newfoundland and Labrador vs. Labrador Métis Nation||The provincial Court of Appeal ruled that all 24 Labrador Métis Nation communities did not have to ethnically identify themselves as either Métis or Inuit before the Crown could be compelled to consult and accommodate them.|
|January 2009||R. v. Goodon||The courts affirmed that Métis in Manitoba have a Métis right to hunt for food.|
|2009-2011: QC||Corneau v. Crown||The Québec Superior Court to merge 17 cases of petitions for dispossession of lands occupied without rights in which the respondents were claiming Aboriginal rights. Fifteen of the defendants claimed Métis rights and two claimed rights as non-treaty Indians. The Court granted the petitioners an advanced costs order after assessing the claims againstPowley andVan de Peet.|
|December 2010||R. v. Hirsekorn||This was a test case for all Métis in Alberta, with a particular focus on central and southern Alberta. The courts found that there was an historical Métis community in central Alberta, however, there was not a historical Métis community in southern Alberta. Due to the fact that there was no site-specific harvesting and hunting lands for Métis, the court ruled that the Alberta Métis claims did not satisfy the framework set by Powley. This decision was appealed in 2011. The appeal was dismissed, July 2013.|
|2012||Bellrose v. Alberta||This was an appeal by Bellrose from the dismissal of his income tax reassessment appeals. Bellrose served as an elected official of Métis Nation Alberta from 1996-2011, during which time he claimed an income tax exemption on the basis that his role was equivalent to that of an elected officer of a municipality. The Tax Court judge dismissed Bellrose’s appeal|
|March 2013||Manitoba Métis Federation. vs. Canada (Attorney General)||The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Manitoba Queen’s Bench and Manitoba Court of Appeal to dismiss the claim of the Manitoba Métis Federation that Canada had breached its fiduciary duty to the Métis when land was misdistributed to Métis descendents. The Court ruled that the government of Canada had a duty of diligence in fulfilling its obligations under theManitoba Act.|
|2013 (ongoing)||Daniels v. Canada||The Plaintiffs asked the Court to declare: 1) that Métis and non-status Indians are "Indians" as the term is used in s 91(24) of theConstitution Act, 1867; 2) that the Queen owes a fiduciary duty to them as such; 3) and that they have the right to be consulted by the federal government on a collective basis, respecting their Aboriginal rights and interests. The Court agreed to the first declaration. The Government of Canada appealed the decision.|
INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW - QUESTIONS BY ISSUE
Is there a need that justifies the bilateral and tripartite processes and the Powley initiative? Can you elaborate?
What government priorities and responsibilities do the BILATERAL AND TRIPARTITE processes and the Powley initiative help to achieve? Can you refer to official documents?
How do your activities of providing advice, raising awareness, building relationships, and building the capacity of Aboriginal organizations enable the government to achieve these priorities and responsibilities?
How does the funding via the FICP enable the government to achieve these priorities?
Are the Government of Canada’s existing roles in these bilateral and tripartite processes appropriate? Why or why not?
What impact, if any, will the recent Federal Court ruling (implicating the addition 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status Indians to jurisdiction under the Indian Act) have on this role and programming/services provided? What other changes do you anticipate?
Over the past five years, have the bilateral and tripartite processes contributed to a better understanding of the needs of the Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve Aboriginal people by the federal government? The provincial governments? How so, or why not?
According to Métis National Council, Tripartite Negotiations are intended to give Métis representative bodies greater capacity in the form of legal authorities to deliver programs and services with the goal of implementing the Métis Nation’s right to self-government within the Canadian federation. To what extent are Tripartite negotiations facilitating this?
Over the past five years, has Office of the Federal Interlocutor effectively represented the Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve First Nations within the federal government? How so, or why not?
Have the bilateral and tripartite processes helped Aboriginal organizations (1) increase their ability to set objectives and priorities; (2) perform financial functions; (3) strengthen organizational governance; (4) be accountable to their membership and to the federal government for any funding received? How so, or why not?? Is the federal government more responsive to the needs of the Métis and non-status Indians than they were five years ago? The provincial governments? How so, or why not? Can you give examples? How much of the change would you attribute to the BILATERAL AND TRIPARTITE PROCESSES?
Have there been improvements in the coordination and delivery of services among the Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve Aboriginal people resulting from bilateral and tripartite processes? How so, or why not? Can you give examples?
Has the participation in elections by the Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve First Nations increased over the past five years? How so, or why not? To what extent would you attribute that change to BILATERAL AND TRIPARTITE PROCESSES?
Are there any internal or external factors that may have facilitated or hindered the achievement of these results? What are these factors, and what are their specific effects?
Has the Powley initiative established an approach to the management of Métis rights that is applied consistently across the federal government? Please elaborate.
To what extent are the objectives of the Powley Initiative facilitated or hindered by policies and practices of other agencies/departments? Other levels of government?
Is there an operational system for identifying Métis members and harvesters in each region? If not, why not? If so, who is responsible for it? How effective is it? Is there a data validation mechanism?
Is there a database that is operational? Should there be? Please elaborate.
Are there any internal or external factors that may have facilitated or hindered the achievement of these results? What are these factors, and what are their specific effects?
Are the four key activities of the program ultimately supporting the federal government’s commitment to improving the socio-economic conditions of Aboriginal peoples within Canada? How so or why not?
Do you believe Métis contributions are well-recognised in Canada?
Has the funding provided through the FICP effectively supported:
To your knowledge, have the BILATERAL AND TRIPARTITE PROCESSES and the Powley initiative produced any unforeseen positive or negative results?
Is there overlap or duplication in the Government of Canada’s current roles and activities
Are there opportunities to achieve the intended results more efficiently and/or economically? Have you seen any examples of this among Métis or other Aboriginal organizations?
Are there any lessons learned or best practices observed over the past five years that you feel should be considered in future policy development?