OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday on a major case involving the federal government’s responsibilities to Metis and non-status Indians. Here’s a chronology of the case:
1999: Harry Daniels, Gabriel Daniels, Leah Gardner, Terry Joudrey and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples file suit against the federal government to resolve the question of which level of government has jurisdiction over Metis and non-status Indians.
2004: Harry Daniels, former president of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, dies as the case makes it way through the courts.
2005: Gabriel Daniels, Harry’s son, is added as a party.
2013: Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan offers the plaintiffs a partial victory, ruling that Metis and non-status Indians are “Indians” under a section of the 1867 Constitution Act. He declines to rule that the federal government owes a fiduciary duty to Metis and non-status Indians as aboriginal people or that they have a right to be consulted by the government on their rights and needs as aboriginals.
2014: A three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeal grants a federal appeal in part by deleting the reference to non-status Indians in Phelan’s ruling. The justices also decline to find the fiduciary duty or a right to consultation.
2014: The Supreme Court of Canada agrees to hear an appeal of the appeal court ruling.
2016: The Supreme Court rules 9-0 that Metis and non-status Indians are Indians under the Constitution and that the federal government’s fiduciary responsibility to the country’s Aboriginal Peoples is well established under existing law.