1. What is the OMFRC?
The Ontario Métis Family Records Center is an organization dedicated to the research and preservation of records relating to aboriginal and Métis families. We are offering the Certificate of Aboriginal Status cards as a service to the Métis community. One of the goals of the OMFRC is to promote pride in people’s native ancestry and we feel that the cards are an important part of that goal.
2. What is the definition of Metis?
Every organization seems to have its own definition of Métis. When the federal government added Métis to our Constitution they failed to provide an official definition. That failure has led to a great deal of confusion and debate. We feel that many of the definitions are unduly restrictive and unfair. Our definition is simple – anyone with an aboriginal ancestor. Please refer to the Canadian Constitution for a broader explanation.
3. Who can join the OMFRC?
Membership is open to anyone with an aboriginal ancestor. We place no restrictions on how long ago that ancestor lived or where they lived. We also offer Associate memberships for others who want to support our work.
4. What is unique about your organization?
Most Métis organizations require that you provide proof of your aboriginal ancestry. While such proof makes our job far easier, if you don’t have it we will try to match your information to our files to prove your descent. The OMFRC has an extensive database of First Nations and Métis family histories, and tries to match what you provide against our files. We are very successful at this. Part of your family history could potentially already be on file.
5. Do you only have records for Ontario?
While Ontario is our primary focus, we gather information from sources throughout Canada and the United States. People associated with the fur trade often traveled extensively and left traces of themselves in various places. The American War of Independence caused huge upheavals in native populations and again you can find references to various individuals in both Canada and the United States. There are also many people who can trace their aboriginal ancestry back to links to the American Colonies. History dictates that our research encompasses all of North America.
6. Where does the OMFRC get its information?
We gather our information from a vast variety of sources including various government records, census records, land grants, cemetery records, local history books, genealogies, church records, military records, and many, many other sources. Information provided by our members is a vital part of our research.
7. How far back do your records go?
Our records date back to the early 1400s. Most span the last two to three hundred years.
8. What if I know very little about my family history?
If you believe that you have a native ancestor but don’t have all the detailed information, call us at 613-332-4789 and we can discuss it with you. Give us every fact and every family tradition known to you. We will try to match your information to our extensive files. If we are unable to do so, your membership fee will be returned to you in full.
9. If I have a great deal of my family’s history, should I include it?
Most definitely. Information is the most valuable thing you can give us. What you provide us with might well confirm the native ancestry of countless other people. Everything we document will be available to future generations. Information kept to yourself may well be lost someday if another family member isn’t interested in retaining that knowledge.
10. What is unique about your verification process?
There are many organizations that deal with different aspects of aboriginal history. What makes us unique is that we are dedicated to documenting all the genealogical information from all sources into one place. Our methods are unique as well. We are working backwards from living individuals to find their ancestors. At the same time we are starting in the past with historical records and documenting aboriginal descendants.
11. How do I join?
Our friendly staff is ready to take your application right over the phone. You can reach our offices weekdays from 9am-9pm at 613-332-4789, or email us your application at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for the printable form or click HERE to apply for your Metis status online.
12. What does membership cost?
Please see Membership Pricing Page for full details. Costs vary based on the type of membership you choose and the length of your membership.
13. What type of photo is required?
Your photo should be a head and shoulders shot that shows your face clearly on a light background is preferable, similar to that of a Drivers License, Health Card or Passport Identification Photo. You shouldn’t be wearing head coverings or glasses. Photos that include others are not acceptable and will be rejected.
Digital images should be in JPG or GIF format only ranging in size from 125k to no more than 500k. Please do not alter the image in any way or apply any digital filters, remember this photo is for the purposes of identification.
14. What happens if I apply for membership and my application isn’t accepted?
If we are unable to approve your application your payment will be returned to you in full.
15. I belonged to another Métis Organization and my membership expired, do I need to fill out a new application?
Yes, we need a new application and photo. We are a separate organization and we don’t have access to other communities membership records.
16. What is an Associate membership?
Associate memberships are for those people who want to support our work but don’t qualify for regular membership.
17. Why should I apply for membership for my children?
As I’m sure you know there are very few forms of photo ID for children. In our increasingly troubled world their membership card may provide needed identification. We have also found that children take pride in their cards and that pride in their heritage stays with them in later life. Promoting pride in aboriginal ancestry is one of the goals of the OMFRC.
18. After I apply, how long will it be before I receive my card?
The entire application process for Métis Status Cards takes 6-8 weeks providing we have recieved all pertinent requested information, as well as your ID photo. (see application for details). When your application is processed and accepted, your card will be sent to the printer and returned to us when completed. Once recieved, we then mail it directly to you from our office.
19. Can I get a replacement card if mine is lost?
Lost cards can be easily replaced at a nominal fee by contacting our office. Life memberships are replaced at no charge.
20. What is the primary goal of the OMFRC?
Our primary goal is researching and documenting the aboriginal and Métis families. Our secondary goal is promoting pride in Aboriginal ancestry. Eventually there will be a number of resources produced to aid in aboriginal family research. While we are not primarily a political organization we will be undertaking various projects based on what is important to our members. Your suggestions are always welcome and will be given careful consideration.
21. Can I use my card for Tax Exemptions?
Indigenous people in Canada are required to pay taxes on the same basis as other Canadians. Only under the circumstances described under Section 87 of the Indian Act Applies is a tax exemption applicable. It states, “The personal property of an Indian band situated on a reserve” is tax exempt. Inuit and Metis people are not eligible for this exemption, and generally do not live on reserves.
From the CRA Website, “The 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Daniels v. Canada, 2016 SCC 12, declared that Métis and non-status Indians are “Indians” for the purpose of federal Parliament’s law-making jurisdiction under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. However, this decision did not change who is an “Indian” in the Indian Act.
The tax exemption available under the Indian Act only applies to an individual who is an “Indian” as defined in the Indian Act. Therefore, the Daniels decision does not change the group of individuals currently eligible for the tax exemption. We will continue to apply and administer the Indian Act tax exemption in the same way as prior to the Daniels decision.”
For more information, check out the Canada Revenue Agency page on Indigenous peoples here.
22. Does my Status Card grant me hunting and fishing (harvesting) rights?
No. Only a few organizations with government ties are allowed harvesting rights. Because of confusion created after the Daniel’s case, some assume that this means that their rights to hunt and fish have been established. The Daniel’s decision simply established the government’s fiduciary responsibility for the Métis people, and did nothing with regards to the establishment of such rights. This is something that all Métis continue to fight for. If in doubt, check with your local Ministry of Natural Resources or other Government Organizations that administrate hunting and fishing in your area. It’s always safest to have the proper licensing to hunt and fish in your territory.
Read the OCAP statement regarding hunting and fishing rights here.