SEPTEMBER 19, 2003


The Powleys, father & son, were charged in 1993 with possession of a moose they’d shot out of season and without a license.  They pleaded not guilty claiming that, as Métis, they had Aboriginal rights to hunt not subject to Ontario game laws.  The trial court agreed dismissing the charges.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal followed suit.  Ontario then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which, by a unanimous decision upheld the lower courts.  It also established a 10-step test, known as “the Powley Test,” for determining Métis rights, based on its prior Aboriginal rights decisions in R. v. Sparrow and R. v. Van der Peet.  To exercise Aboriginal hunting & fishing rights, Métis must show such activities were part of a rights-bearing Métis community prior to European political & legal control and that they are members of the corresponding modern Métis community by both self-identification and community acceptance. This was the Court’s 1st major decision concerning Métis rights.  

Sources:  “Powley Case,”  Retrieved 7/12/2020, R. v. Powley, 2003 SCC 43 (CanLII), [2003] 2 SCR 207, CanLII.  Retrieved 7/12/2020,
Photo:  NewYork 1956 at English Wikipedia, 3/12/2012. Released into Public Domain by the author for any purpose and with no limitations. 

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