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The Government of Manitoba recognizes it has a duty to consult in a meaningful way with Aboriginal communities when any proposed provincial law, regulation, decision or action may infringe upon or adversely affect the exercise of a treaty or Aboriginal right of that Aboriginal community.
Aboriginal peoples are defined in Subsection 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, as the Indian (First Nations), Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
Subsection 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, provides that "the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed."
Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, have made judgments clarifying the meaning of section 35. One element of these judgments is the recognition that the Crown has a legal duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples about any action or decision (including enacting a law or regulation) that might adversely affect the exercise of an Aboriginal or treaty right, before taking that action or making that decision. The Crown must also reasonably accommodate concerns about the effects of the decision or action raised in the consultation by the Aboriginal peoples, by attempting to substantially address those concerns. This duty of consultation and accommodation arises out of the principle of the "honour of the Crown"; the Crown is to act honourably and in good faith in its relationships with Aboriginal peoples.
One of the main goals of the Crown-Aboriginal relationship is to further the reconciliation of the pre-existence of Aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown.
The Government of Manitoba has undertaken the following to facilitate Crown- Aboriginal consultations and fulfill the Crown's Constitutional obligation to Aboriginal peoples:
Aboriginal Consultation Unit
Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat
Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs
Government of Manitoba
Telephone: 1-800-282-8069 or 204-945-5236
200 - 500 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB | R3C 3X1