Indigenous Hunting and Fishing in Alberta


The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada referenced in the Constitution, in addition to First Nations (referred to in law as Indians), and Inuit. Alberta’s Métis have played an integral role in Alberta’s history, society and economy even before Alberta became a province.

Métis Harvesters

Currently there are about 1,300 recognized Métis harvesters in Alberta. In 2016, there were about 137,500 licensed recreational hunters active in Alberta; recognized Métis harvesters equate to less than one per cent of said licensed hunters.

Métis Harvesting Policy Review

The Government of Alberta is conducting a review of the Métis Harvesting in Alberta policy, which follows the principles outlined by the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Powley (2003). The policy, written in 2007 and revised in 2010, has provided the framework for recognizing Métis individuals who may have rights to harvest game and fish for food in Alberta.

Alberta is reviewing the Métis Harvesting in Alberta policy to ensure the policy is consistent with case law, while considering the needs of Métis Harvesters. Alberta will inform First Nations as well as recreational users and other stakeholders throughout this process.

What are Métis Harvesting Rights?

The 2003 Supreme Court of Canada decision, R. v. Powley, found that a Métis collective in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario has an Aboriginal right to hunt for food and is recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, in the Sault Ste. Marie area. In that case, the Supreme Court of Canada set out the test to be applied to determine whether a Métis collective has an aboriginal right to harvest. This test forms the basis of Alberta’s current Métis Harvesting in Alberta policy.

To view the current policy, see:

What is the objective of the policy review?

The objective of the Métis Harvesting policy review is to gather perspectives of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Metis Settlements and individual Métis harvesters to create a policy that is effective and ensures ongoing consistency with case law.

The review also considers how Alberta may improve its relationship with Métis peoples to manage provincial conservation efforts.

What is out of scope for the policy review?

Alberta is not considering reviewing or changing the eligibility requirements to become a registered Métis harvester. The Métis Harvesting policy will continue to respect both the harvesting practices of Métis in Alberta and existing case law.

How does the policy review contribute to conservation?

Engagement on the policy is intended to facilitate greater collaboration between Alberta and Métis peoples to allow for the collection of subsistence harvest information, while respecting the cultural interests and privacy of Métis Harvesters.

This review will allow an opportunity to collaborate with Métis peoples so that subsistence harvest is better understood and incorporated into wildlife conservation and management decisions. Through this process, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) can make more informed wildlife and fisheries management decisions, and improve conservation of Alberta’s fish and wildlife populations.

How may I participate?

If you would like to provide written feedback for the Métis Harvesting Policy Review, please email:

First Nations People with Harvesting Rights

This short summary covers the basics on Treaty Indian hunting rights and responsibilities in Alberta, and pertains to First Nations’ people in the province who are defined as Indians under the federal Indian Act and who hunt game for food.

Related Legislation

Government of Alberta

All Indigenous people require a domestic fishing license to fish in Alberta on provincial lands, please see the documents below for more information.

The list of eligible waters for domestic fishing licences may be updated at any time. For more information on these waterbodies, please contact the nearest Alberta Environment and Parks office.

Government of Canada

Further Questions

If you have further questions regarding these subjects, please speak with a fish and Wildlife Officer


Page Information

Updated: Aug 16, 2018