Ontario recognizes Métis Nation of Ontario harvest cards

Archived Release

Ontario recognizes Métis Nation of Ontario harvest cards

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Métis Nation Of Ontario Cardholders Able To Harvest For Food In Areas North Of Sudbury TORONTO, Oct. 7 - Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay today announced that Ontario will recognize Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) harvest cards in areas north of Sudbury. "I stand firmly behind the points of agreement we reached with the Métis Nation of Ontario, on July 7," said Ramsay. "In the absence of an agreement on how to implement those points, the Ministry of Natural Resources is prepared to recognize Métis Nation of Ontario harvest cards issued in areas north of Sudbury. This will allow Métis people who are MNO harvest card holders in those areas, to harvest for food." On September 19, 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. v. Powley, that Métis may exercise Aboriginal rights to hunt for food. The ministry has discussed the implications of the court decision with three Ontario Métis organizations including the Métis Nation of Ontario. In July this year, discussions with the MNO resulted in agreement on basic points toward an interim harvesting agreement. Further discussions have not resulted in agreement on how to implement those points. "I have always said that any agreement the Ministry of Natural Resources enters into with the Métis Nation of Ontario must be legally defensible, and consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in the Powley decision," said Ramsay. Among other things, the Supreme Court of Court of Canada recognized that Métis aboriginal harvesting rights belong to historically- based, geographically-specific communities, and have geographic limits. The ministry is recognizing the likely geographic limits of historic communities and their harvesting areas. The ministry is prepared to work with the Métis Nation of Ontario to gather information and conduct research. Fact Sheet ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ministry of Natural Resources October 6, 2004 IMPLEMENTING AN INTERIM HARVESTING AGREEMENT WITH THE METIS NATION OF ONTARIO On September 19, 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. v. Powley, that Métis may exercise Aboriginal rights to hunt for food. The ministry has discussed the implications of the court decision with three Ontario Métis organizations including the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO). Discussions with the MNO have resulted in agreement on basic points leading toward an interim harvesting agreement. Both parties then needed to reach agreement on how these basic points would be implemented. The four points of agreement, reached on July 7, 2004 between Métis Nation of Ontario and the ministry, were intended to lead toward an Interim Harvesting Agreement. They are: - MNO and the ministry agree that MNO will issue a maximum of 1250 Harvester's Cards for 2004. A mutually agreeable process for an increase in this number will be developed subject to research and evaluation of the MNO registry system as it pertains to the Harvest Card holders. - MNR will apply the Interim Enforcement Policy (IEP) to those valid Harvest Card holders who are hunting or fishing for food within the traditional territories pursuant to safety and conservation values set out in the IEP in a manner that is identical with the application to First Nation communities. - The interim agreement with the MNO will be for two years with an intention that it be extended by mutual consent until a final agreement is in place. - Both sides agree that an independent evaluation of the MNO Harvest Card system will be performed based on mutually agreed upon terms of reference. MNO and the ministry have not been able to build on these four basic points of agreement. In order to facilitate discussions, the ministry hired a mutually agreed-upon facilitator with the intent that this would assist the parties to move forward with the discussions. Since July 7, 2004, MNO has released detailed information about how the four points were to be implemented across Ontario. The ministry has not agreed to the details MNO has provided and has consistently said that further discussions were needed to reach an interim harvesting agreement. Among other things in the Powley decision, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that Métis aboriginal harvesting rights belong to historically based, geographically specific communities, and have geographic limitations. The Ministry of Natural Resources remains committed to the four points leading toward an Interim Harvesting Agreement. The ministry has used these along with its understanding of the Powley decision to develop direction for field staff. Accordingly, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay today announced that Ontario will recognize Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) harvest cards in areas north of Sudbury. The ministry is prepared to work with the Métis Nation of Ontario to gather information and conduct research. Disponible en français www.mnr.gov.on.caFor further information: Media Calls Only: Ginette Albert, Minister's Office, (416) 314-2212; Steve Payne, Communications Services, (416) 314-2103