Engagement and Consultation

Vice-President Denise Thomas

  • Vice President of Southeast Region
  • Minister of Sixties Scoop
  • Minister of Engagement and Consultation
  • Associate Minister of Land Claims
  • Executive Committee of Cabinet
  • Chairperson on the Manitoba Métis Heritage Fund Board
  • Alternate to President Chartrand on MNC

Denise Thomas is currently serving her 33rd year on MMF Cabinet. She is the MMF Vice-President for the Southeast Region and her portfolios include Minister of Sixties Scoop, Minister of Engagement and Consultation, and the Associate Minister of Land Claims. Denise is also part of the Executive Committee of Cabinet, the Chairperson on the Manitoba Métis Heritage Fund Board, and Alternate to the President for MNC.

She is also the proud founding member of both the Louis Riel Capital Corporation and the Louis Riel Institute.

Denise grew up on a farm in the St. Laurent Municipality. Her parents are the late Edgar and Madeleine Sanderson, who were founding members of the Manitoba Métis Federation.
She presently resides in Grand Marais, Manitoba. She and her late husband Wayne Thomas have two sons Byron and Randal Thomas, a daughter-in-law, Susan Thomas, and five wonderful grandchildren.

Denise is passionate about her work and continues to fight diligently for the rights of the Métis.

Engagement and Consultation Department

The Engagement and Consultation Department works to ensure a consistent, thorough, and pragmatic approach to Engagement and Consultation with the Manitoba Métis Community. The Department, through following Resolution No. 8, mandates a "single-window" approach to all engagement and consultation files that may impact the rights, interests, and claims of the Manitoba Métis Community.
The Department works closely with internal and external Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), departmental/affiliate staff, MMF Regions, Locals, and Citizens having the responsibility to work together to ensure any decision or project contemplated, that may affect our collective Métis rights, interests and claims are effectively addressed in matters related to engagement, consultation, and accommodation with the Métis Nation's Manitoba Métis Community.

The Department plays an active role in supporting all SMEs, Ministers, and portfolios whose projects require engagement and consultation work. Specifically, the Department assists many other MMF Departments and/or Affiliates through the Resolution No. 8 process by attending technical meetings, and planning and hosting consultation meetings.

Title: Resolution No. 8 Booklet (Attached PDF)
Title: Resolution No. 8 (Attached PDF)

Engagement, Consultation, and Accommodation

History of Consultation

At the 2007 Annual General Assembly, the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) unanimously passed Resolution No. 8 which mandates a "single-window" approach for engagement & consultation with the Community through the MMF Home Office. Based on Resolution No. 8, the MMF Home Office works with the Regions and Locals to ensure that the rights and interests of all MMF Citizens, including Harvesters, are effectively represented in matters related to engagement and consultation. This applies to any project that impacts the rights, interests, and claims of the Community. The Department then liaises with the appropriate Regions and Locals potentially affected by a project.

Consultation is about respecting our constitutionally protected rights. Where rights have been established, a consultation process must be designed and implemented in a way that respects those rights and fulfills the Crown's obligations to rights holders. The government must engage in meaningful consultation to ensure Métis rights including the right to hunt, fish, trap and gather will not be infringed upon.

Engagement vs. Consultation

While similar, engagement and consultation differ in that engagement is done by the proponent, often in good faith, while consultation is the legal obligation and duty of the Crown. Despite this difference, both engagement and consultation, with the Manitoba Métis Community, are methods to respectfully ask and to record the concerns of the Community to inform their project/legislation. They can also be used to show how a project may impact the rights, interests, and claims of the Manitoba Métis Community.

What is the Crown's Duty to Consult and Accommodate?

The Crown, as per Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, has a legal duty to consult, and where appropriate, accommodate the Métis on any project which may impact Métis Rights. The duty to consult applies to federal, provincial, and territorial governments. It is designed to ensure that Métis concerns for a project or proposed change are acknowledged and is triggered if:

  1. There is proposed (Crown) conduct;
  2. The proposed conduct could have an adverse impact on [Métis] Rights; and
  3. There are potential or established [Métis] Rights in the area.

It is important to note all three triggering factors must exist.

Any real or constructive knowledge of a project triggers the Crown's duty to consult. This is also the basis of early engagement by the proponent.

Engagement and Consultation with the MMF

All engagement and consultation activity with the MMF is done following the MMF's Resolution No. 8 Framework through the Engagement and Consultation Department. To begin the engagement and/or consultation process with the MMF, please address all written project notifications to President David Chartrand, copying the Engagement and Consultation Department at consultation@mmf.mb.ca.

Distinctions-based Approach

Often, proponents and the Crown tend to use the term "Indigenous" as a blanket statement when referring to engagement and/or consultation activities with First Nations. As outlined above, this is not acceptable as the Métis Nation holds the same section 35 rights as First Nations and Inuit.

For this reason, the MMF advocates for a distinctions-based approach to every project or legislation which impacts the rights, interests, and claims of the Community. A distinctions-based approach implies that Métis are equally represented alongside other section 35 rightsholders.

Recent examples of the MMF advocating for a distinctions-based approach include advocating for equal Métis and First Nation's representation on boards and working groups and ensuring a Métis Monitor is present at construction sites and pipeline projects.

Resolution No. 8 Framework: A Summary

In summary, the MMF holds discussions with the proponent and/or Crown to ensure the Community is appropriately represented throughout the Resolution No. 8 process. All project communications go through the MMF Home Office who then reach out to Regions and Locals in order to reach Citizens to gather traditional knowledge and hear their concerns about projects which may impact their section 35 rights interests and claims.

The purpose and goal of engagement and consultation, through the Resolution No. 8 process is to respectfully seek the opinion of the Manitoba Métis Community in order to determine impacts on their rights, interests, and claims.

Every engagement and consultation is unique, but the MMF's goal remains the same: to see a project move forward in a manner that addresses or mitigates the adverse impacts to our Community's rights while partnering, where appropriate, to the benefit of the proponent and/or Crown and the Métis Nation in Manitoba.

The Resolution No. 8 Framework can be summarized into five phases:

Phase I: Notice and Response;
Phase II: Research and Capacity;
Phase III: Engagement or Consultation;
Phase IV: Partnership and Accommodation; and,
Phase V: Implementation.

Each phase is an integral part of the entire Resolution No. 8 Framework and must be successfully completed before moving into the next phase.
If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at:

Engagement and Consultation
Manitoba Métis Federation
300-150 Henry Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, R3B 0J7
Phone: 204-586-8474
E-mail: consultation@mmf.mb.ca

B300-150 Henry Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0J7

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