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Monumental Ruling Gives Rights to Metis and Non-Status Indians. What Could This Mean?

14/04/2016


The Supreme Court of Canada issued a ruling today that Metis and non-status Indians are now considered “Indians” by the 1867 Constitution Act. This is one of the most significant rulings in respect to Aboriginal people in Canada.

The ruling confirms that the federal government has always had the fiduciary duty to consult and negotiate with Metis and non-status Indians. Whether a particular individual or community is considered Metis or non-status Indian, is a question of fact and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

While the victory for Metis and non-status Indians are immediate, the actual impact may take some time. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency will need to provide guidance or rulings on the income tax and indirect tax implications of these communities, which can often be quite time consuming.

This is likely to have significant a significant effect on the tax status of Metis communities, along with non-status Indians, potentially going back several years. With that being said, determining who exactly falls into the category of “Metis and non-status Indian”, both on an individual and community basis, will be a complex process.

If you or your community have any questions in respect of the implications of the Supreme Court decision, contact Angela Chang, CPA, CGA with MNP’s Indirect Taxation Services team at 778.374.2121 or [email protected]​.