On February 24, 2023, Canada and the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (“MN-S”) signed an updated self-government agreement that recognizes the MN‑S as the Indigenous government with the exclusive mandate to represent the Métis collectivity in Saskatchewan, also known as the Métis Nation within Saskatchewan, and to advance the collectivity’s rights and interests under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
The agreement confirms that the MN‑S, as an Indigenous government, has jurisdiction over its core governance matters, including those pertaining to administration, citizenship, elections, and child and family services, each of which is a critical component of the Métis Nation within Saskatchewan’s right to self-determination.
The agreement commits the parties to engage in further negotiations regarding outstanding Métis claims, including Métis land claims and the Métis scrip program. The agreement also commits the parties to engage in further negotiations with a view to concluding a self-government treaty within the next two years, which treaty would be protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
The agreement is the result of the parties’ formal negotiations, which began in 2018, and it builds on the parties’ previous self-government agreement, which was signed in 2019. Along with the parties’ other agreements, the agreement represents a critical component of Canada’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
As an immediate next step, the parties are working to introduce a federal implementation legislation that will, among other objectives, codify the agreement and establish a legislative framework to give legal force and effect to the parties’ subsequent self-government treaty.
Cassels acted for the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan.