The importance of the Métis Central Registry (MNBC Citizenship Registry)

The importance of having a Métis Central Registry to identify Métis section 35 rights holders became apparent after the Powley Supreme Court of Canada decision in the summer of 2003. The inclusion of Métis in section 35 was never defined until the Powley decision came to fruition. The purpose of the section 35 is to protect practices that were a historically important feature of distinctive Métis communities and that continue in the contemporary Métis community as an integral element of Métis culture.

Prior to the Powley decision, Métis identification was community driven however, this only defined Métis membership at a community level. The Powley decision defined not only who the Métis were in section 35 but affirmed that the specific collective identified has an aboriginal right. The Powley decision spoke about the urgent need to develop a more systematic method in identifying Métis rights holders.

The Court identified three broad factors in Métis identification that must all be met for gaining Métis Citizenship:

1) Self identification
2) Ancestral connection to the historic Métis community
3) Contemporary Métis community acceptance

The Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) Central Registry was introduced in October 2004 and fully implemented in 2005. The provincial citizenship registry is responsible for compiling and maintaining a database of Métis citizens in British Columbia and is based on the process requirements identified as per the Supreme Court decision of Powley. The MNBC Central Registry is a member of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and as a member played a key role in the development of the Métis Nation Registry Operation Standards (MNROS). The MNROS ensures and protects accepted operational standards of a Métis National Council’s governing members provincial Métis Registry. (It is important to note this standard does not change or influence the National Definition of Métis, it is operational in nature only.)

The MNBC Central Registry is the only "Powley Compliant" Métis identification registry in the province of British Columbia. MNBC and its Central Registry support the collective voice of the Métis throughout the homeland.

Why it matters to hold the official MNBC Métis Citizenship card

MNBC, as one of the five governing members of Métis National Council (MNC), is responsible for issuing the only Powley compliant Métis identification card in the province of British Columbia. MNBC is the only Métis organization BC to be officially recognized by the provincial and federal governments as the official political representative of Métis people in the province.

Where We Are Today – A Snapshot

Since its implementation the MNBC Central Registry has forged new paths and standards for Métis in the province of BC. Significant challenges have been met and overcome, and numerous milestones have been achieved in the last 12 years. The Central Registry as of January 2016 has issued over 12, 000 MNBC Métis Citizenship card and receives over 1,000 new applications annually. While the MNBC Central Registry is not able to approve all applications received for Citizenship because of the requirement as laid down by the Powley decision it is important to note all Métis people residing in the province of BC are eligible to access programs and services offered by MNBC. The Central Registry encourages all Métis people to connect with their local chartered Métis community. Participation and support is welcome at grass roots community level.

MNBC Central Registry Highlights

✓ Secure dedicated Citizenship database server
✓ Regular secure data backup and data recovery system
✓ Secure electronic & hard copy file storage
✓ In-house secure Citizenship and Harvester card printing
✓ MNBC Citizens receive special Citizenship Certificates personally signed by the MNBC President
✓ Trained, knowledgeable and professional Registry staff
✓ Registry staff have over 100 years combined Métis identification and registration expertise and
skills
✓ Registry staff have over 100 years combined genealogical and historical research expertise and
skill
✓ Personal Information & Privacy Act (PIPA) trained Registry staff
✓ PIPA compliant registration process
✓ Application packages updated annually
✓ Annual policy and legislative review pertaining to the MNBC Citizenship Registry
✓ Five year Citizenship card renewal process
✓ Official Indian Registry screening process (Indigenous & Northern Affairs Canada)
✓ Address Correction and Validation software
✓ Canada Post National Change of Address software
✓ Canadian Standards Association member
✓ Canada Post Self-Managed Mail out Compliancy (Registry staff are trained to manage Canada Post
compliant mail-outs of over 10,000 pieces.)

Going Forward

The Central Registry is looking forward and anticipating a successful year in 2016. Registry staff continue to work diligently on behalf of all Citizenship applicants and Citizens to ensure applications and renewals are processed in a timely manner. The target processing time can fluctuate throughout the year due to external and internal factors but the Central Registry strives to maintain a sixteen to twenty week processing time for complete applications.

The Central Registry will be implementing a Community Membership List Initiative in the 2016- 2017 fiscal year, the purpose of the initiative is to provide MBNC Chartered Métis Communities with the capacity and resources to maintain current, accurate membership lists and community membership card printing. The MNBC Central Registry looks forward to working with the applicants, Citizens and Chartered Métis Communities in the upcoming months.

The MNBC Central Registry is the "objectively verifiable process" that supports the collective voice of the Métis throughout the homeland. Central Registry staff provides assistance to individuals wishing to obtain and submit an application for the provincially issued Métis identification card.

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