Frequently Asked Questions
In early 2008, the MNO undertook province-wide community consultations on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate. The resulting ‘What We Heard’ report outlined the input received from Métis citizens, and made a series of related recommendations. One of the recommendations was for the MNO to work with its Community Councils to put Regional Consultation Protocols in place as a way of helping to ensure the Crown fulfills its duty to regional rights-bearing Métis communities. In November 2008, the MNO Annual General Assembly/Special President’s Meeting endorsed the report and its recommendations, which included a plan for the signing of Regional Consultation Protocols throughout the province.
What are Regional Consultation Protocols?
Consultation Protocols set out how regional rights-bearing Métis communities in Ontario want the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate to be fulfilled. Because the Crown’s duty is new, the MNO’s existing governance structures did not yet include a mechanism for addressing this new constitutional duty. The Consultation Protocols do this, including to whom government and industry should talk, who does what, how Community Councils can work together, etc.
Why are the Protocols regional?
Métis communities are not limited to small dots on a map or individual villages, towns or cities. Historically, Métis were mobile and continue to be. As a result, Métis communities span large regional territories. All Aboriginal rights are collective rights and Métis rights are Aboriginal rights. Métis rights do not belong to one family, a few individuals or one Community Council. The right is held by the regional rights-bearing Métis community and all members of the community have the right to exercise and benefit from the collective’s right, and be consulted when this right is potentially affected. Therefore, a regional consultation approach is required.
A regional approach ensures that Métis citizens who may not currently be represented by a MNO Community Council, but who have an equal right to be consulted as a member of the regional rights-bearing Métis community, also have an opportunity to participate and become engaged in consultation and accommodation processes.
Who makes decisions under the Protocol?
The Protocols ensure that all decision-making remains at the community level and encourages a consensus based approach. The Community Council Presidents from the region and the Regional Councillor sit on the Committee. These individuals are democratically elected, report back to MNO citizens and are ultimately accountable to the regional rights-bearing Métis community through the MNO’s governance structures. The MNO’s Natural Resources, Environment and Community Relations Branch provides support and assists the Committees in getting the legal, technical and environmental expertise they need, however ultimate decision-making lies at the community level.
Why are these Protocols important?
These Protocols set out a clear roadmap for government and industry about how to engage Métis in effective, transparent and predictable consultation. The Protocols will help to stop potential situations where a few Métis individuals, one Métis family or an incorporated “Métis group” claims to consult, negotiate or secure personal benefits in the name of the regional rights-bearing Métis community.