Métis Commercial Fishing: A Legal and Historical Overview of Métis Involvement in the Commercial Fishing Industry





Metis Rights, Indigenous Rights, Metis Fishing Rights, Metis History, Northern Saskatchewan, Hudson's Bay Company History


The Métis freshwater, or inland, fishery has been a contentious issue in the Canadian courts for decades, with little progress from the Métis perspective. This report begins by documenting the long history of the Métis as commercial fishers through their employment contracts with the Hudson’s Bay Company (1823–1888), and then discusses the challenges the Métis have faced in acquiring rights to a commercial fishery through numerous legal cases since the 1993 Supreme Court of Canada decision R v. Powley. A pathway to resolving the Métis commercial fisheries impasse is probably best found at the negotiation table between Canada, the provinces, and the Métis Nations.

Author Biographies

Ken Coates, Yukon University

Chair, Indigenous Governance, Yukon University (from July 2023); Professor and Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan (to June 2023); Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Greg Finnegan, University of Saskatchewan, University of Limerick

Tutor, Geography, University of Limerick; previously CEO of the Na-cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation, Yukon.