Government Avoids Jurisdictional Responsibility for Métis

The Constitution Act of 1867 outlined that "the Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians” would be under the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada. This act did not take into account the presence of Métis people and their access to land and traditional territories.

Other Note

The Métis were ultimately included in section 35 (1) of the 1982 Constitution Act. Section 31 of the Manitoba Act (1870) provides a definitive statement indicating that scrip was issued to extinguish the Indian title of the Métis. ------------------- In April 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada declared that when used in section 91(24) of the Constitution, "Indians" was intended to include Métis and those who were 'non-status'. The decision however, does not make Métis and non-status peoples "Indians" under the Indian Act. Thus, the decision did not immediately demand any action on the behalf of the Canadian government. According to the Court, the federal government’s and the provinces’ disagreement over legislative authority over Indigenous peoples without 'status' has resulted in restricted access to services and compensation. The Court concluded that granting the declaration would create certainty and accountability as to which level of government Indigenous peoples without 'status' should turn to for policies addressing their historical disadvantages — ie: they should turn to the federal government. However, it still remains unclear as to if and how the Canadian Government will address the historical failings of the government through improved services and funding. It remains unclear at the time of writing what the actual implications of this decision are, since the declaration does not declare Métis to be considered "Indians" under the Indian Act. Further court proceedings regarding this decision will undoubtedly ensue.

This ambiguity has resulted in the Métis population in Canada being in “political and legal limbo.” As neither federal or provincial governments have taken responsibility to determine Métis—such as hunting, fishing, trapping, and land rights.
Rural or Urban
Start Date
Sub Event
Métis Status in Canada defined by 1867 Constitution Act Section 91(24)