Consultation is a Constitutional Obligation

The “Duty to Consult” is a defined legal process established by the courts and an obligation of the Crown to Indigenous peoples in protecting their rights, claims, and interests, including those of the Métis. The Crown may delegate the responsibility to the proponent (e.g. industry, municipality, provincial regulator, etc.) who must administer and facilitate the consultation process.

Section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982 states:

  • (1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
  • (2) In this Act, “aboriginal peoples of Canada” includes the Indian, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada.

The Government of Canada has a duty to consult, and where appropriate, accommodate Indigenous groups when it considers conduct that might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights.


Do I Need to Consult?

Consultation and accommodation of Indigenous groups must occur when “conduct might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights.

Examples where Consultation would be required:

  • Trying to pass legislation or policy that could affect Indigenous peoples. This includes implementing fees to use Crown land or regulating hunting and fishing.
  • Issuing a permit allowing a project to proceed. For example, land developments like municipal infrastructure, or natural resource projects like pipelines, oil wells, or logging.
  • Taking up Crown lands for development or protection, such as creating new Reserves under the Indian Act, and designation of parks and protected areas.

If you are unsure if you need to consult, please reach out to our Provincial Consultation Office.


How to Consult with the MNA

To initiate the consultation process with us on a project, policy, or contemplated activity, please follow these steps:

  1. Review our Regional Map showing the boundaries of the six MNA Regions. The location of the project’s footprint will inform the Consultation Office(s) that must be contacted.
  2. Based on the location of the project, send the to the appropriate Consultation Office(s). Send via email using our Consultation Office Contact List.
  3. If your project or policy has the potential to impact Métis throughout Alberta, please send the notification to our Provincial Office email.
  4. After notifying the relevant Consultation Office(s), our Consultation Department will reach out to set up a meeting to establish timelines, capacity funding, and appropriate mechanisms of the project or policy being consulted on.

To facilitate the MNA consultation process, the MNA, and each of its six administrative Regions have entered into Regional Consultation Protocol Agreements. These agreements facilitate a “One-Window Approach” to consultation with the MNA and provide consistency and clarity for both the proponent (industry) and the Crown. This approach to consultation was agreed to by the Government of Canada on behalf of all its departments.

The Consultation Agreement acknowledges the MNA’s Regional Consultation Protocol Agreements and its processes as by which to conduct consultation with the Métis Nation within Alberta.

It is to everyone’s benefit (saving both time and money) to notify the appropriate Consultation Office(s) and set up a meeting with our team as close as possible to starting the proposed project, policy, or activity. We welcome you to reach out.


Métis Nation of Alberta: Canada Consultation Agreement (2018)

The Consultation Agreement between the MNA and the Government of Canada outlines formal rights-based Consultation processes and commitments. These have been agreed to by both Canada and the Nation.

The agreement requires meaningful engagement with the MNA and should aim to secure the Nation’s free, prior, and informed consent when Canada proposes to take actions impacting Métis Albertans.

If any rights are potentially impacted, the Government of Canada must:

  • Consider ways to mitigate any potential adverse impacts the contemplated Crown conduct might have on the rights, claims, and interests of the Métis Nation within Alberta
  • Accommodate the MNA’s concerns.