OTTAWA, April 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, issued the following statement on the Supreme Court of Canada's CAP/Daniels decision:
"I thank the Supreme Court of Canada for this historic ruling on such an important matter, bringing much needed clarity to an issue that has lingered for too long.
The Government of Canada welcomes and respects this decision, which will guide our work with Indigenous peoples to advance real reconciliation and renew the relationship, based on recognition of rights, respect, and partnership. Today's decision speaks to a renewed relationship with Métis and non-Status Indians, one the Government of Canada has already been actively pursuing.
There is much work to be done. We are committed to working in partnership with Métis and non-Status Indians on a nation-to-nation basis, along with other partners, to ensure we are following the court's direction in implementing this decision.
Making progress will require real co-operation and genuine partnership in order to advance this important dialogue and map the way forward together. This is both the right thing to do and a key path to economic growth for all Canadians."
The Supreme Court of Canada CAP/Daniels Decision
This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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Qs and As
Q.1. What does the declaration that Métis and non-Status Indians are "Indians" under s. 91(24) actually mean? Are they now eligible for the same programs and services as Status Indians?
The Supreme Court has declared that Métis and non-Status Indians are "Indians" for the purpose of federal Parliament's law-making jurisdiction under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. We will be working in genuine partnership with Métis and non-Status Indians - based on recognition of rights, respect, and partnership - in order to meaningfully advance the work of reconciliation.
The ruling does not impact on Métis and non-Status Indian eligibility for programs and services currently targeted to Status Indians.
Q.2. In practical terms, what now is the difference between a Status Indian and a person who is Métis? What is a non-Status Indian?
A Status Indian is a person who is registered under section 6 of the Indian Act. While there is no legal or legislative definition of "Métis," they are recognized as one of three Aboriginal Peoples under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
The Supreme Court of Canada concluded in Daniels that the term "Indian" for purposes of Canada's law-making powers under section 91(24) includes all Aboriginal peoples including Métis and non-Status Indians and there is no need to delineate which mixed ancestry communities are Métis and which are non-Status Indians. It held that determining whether particular individuals or communities are non-Status Indians or Métis and therefore "Indians" under s. 91(24), is a fact-driven question to be decided on a case-by-case basis in the future.
Q.3. What will this decision cost the federal government?
We are studying the decision to determine next steps. We will be working in genuine partnership with Métis and non-Status Indians - based on recognition of rights, respect, and partnership - in order to meaningfully advance the work of reconciliation.
Q.4. Do Métis need to form into bands like First Nations?
The Supreme Court of Canada decision has no impact on band creation or band membership, which falls within the purview of the Indian Act. There is no requirement for Métis to "form into bands."
Q.5. Are all individuals who self-identify as Métis entitled to rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act? Are they now entitled to federal programs and services?
Not all Canadians who self-identify as Métis are section 35 rights-holders. There is a distinction between Métis self-identification and Métis Aboriginal rights. The 2003 Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Powley outlines the test to prove Métis Aboriginal rights, and Métis self-identification is only one component of a broader objectively verifiable process that is required in order to meet the Powley test.
SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
For further information: please contact: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160