Specific Claims Policy Reform

For decades, First Nations have advocated for the creation of a fully independent specific claims process to facilitate the resolution of claims.

Currently, the Government of Canada is the defendant yet controls funding, the review and acceptance of claims, access to negotiations, and evidence.

The Draft Specific Claims Reform Proposal represents a First Nations perspective on fundamental reform of the specific claims process and will support and guide ongoing engagement with the Government of Canada

Help us shape the draft proposal

Until August 9, 2021, we’re inviting input from First Nations on the Draft Specific Claims Reform Proposal.  Complete our online comment form:

Comment Form

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) received input from First Nations on the Draft Specific Claims Reform Proposal from May to October 2021.

The AFN will review all responses and publish a summary of input received from First Nations. The AFN will then revise the draft proposal and publish a final version. Watch for updates on this webpage.

Provide your input

Comment Form

Proposed claims process

The AFN’s Draft Specific Claims Reform Proposal envisions an Independent Centre for the Resolution of Specific Claims (ICRSC). The ICRSC will incorporate the adjudicative function of the existing Specific Claims Tribunal.

The ICRSC will also house a:

  • Commission, providing First Nations with a venue for facilitated negotiations
  • Resource Hub, supporting First Nations in developing their claims
  • Funding Division, providing First Nations with financial resources to resolve their claims
  • Registrar, managing the ICRSC’s operations

The ICRSC will provide First Nations with a fair, independent, flexible, and efficient process to resolve their claims. It will be fully independent, uphold the Honour of the Crown, reflect legal pluralism via the integration of Indigenous laws, and be free from arbitrary limits on financial compensation.

About the draft proposal

The AFN hosted regional dialogue sessions for First Nations and their technicians in the fall of 2019. These sessions provided First Nations an important opportunity to share their ideas on how to create a fully independent specific claims process.

Review the Specific Claims Dialogue: Summary Report for a comprehensive overview of what we heard.

Following the release of the Summary Report, Chiefs-in-Assembly passed AFN Resolution 09/2020, identifying the core principles that must be included in a new independent specific claims process. The AFN and its First Nations technical representatives developed the Draft Specific Claims Reform Proposal based on the input received through the 2019 dialogue sessions and consistent with AFN resolution 09/2020.

Review additional information about the 2019 dialogue process below or contact the AFN directly.

Review AFN Resolution 09/2020

About the 2019 dialogue process

Following the completion of a 2019 AFN Dialogue Process and the release of a Summary Report, Chiefs-in-Assembly passed AFN Resolution 09/2020 “Jointly Develop a Fully Independent Specific Claims Process” which calls on Canada to work directly with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Chiefs Committee on Lands, Territories and Resources (CCoLTR) to develop a fully independent specific claims process consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and based on the following principles identified by First Nations during the 2019 AFN dialogue process:

  • The Honour of the Crown: the specific claims process must be consistent with the Honour of the Crown;
  • Independence of all Aspects of Claims Resolution: specifically including funding and oversight of claims and their resolution that must be handled independent of Canada;
  • Recognition of Indigenous Laws: Support the recognition of the laws, legal orders, and dispute resolution mechanisms as articulated by participating First Nations. The recognition of First Nations’ laws may impact the conduct of adjudication, dispute resolution and negotiation; and,
  • No Arbitrary Limits on Compensation: there will be no financial constraints, such as the 150 million dollar cap on the jurisdiction of the Tribunal or the Commission. First Nations should have access to a fair process of redress that fits their needs and priorities.

Background

First Nations have advocated for an independent specific claims process for over four decades, repeatedly raising concerns about Canada’s control over funding, access to negotiations and evidence, and unilateral review of specific claims.

Sparked by the legislated five-year review of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act and a 2016 report of the Office of the Auditor General, Canada committed to work jointly with the AFN and First Nations to substantively reform the specific claims process and policy.

In 2017, the Chiefs-in-Assembly passed AFN Resolution 91-2017, Support for a Fully Independent Specific Claims Process, calling on Canada to work in equal partnership with the AFN and First Nations to develop a fully independent process with “the goal of achieving the just resolution of Canada’s outstanding lawful obligations through good faith negotiations.”

The AFN held a series of dialogue sessions with First Nations in the fall of 2019 to seek input on what a fully independent specific claims process should look like. These sessions and the input collected, along with written submissions from several First Nations, helped to inform the development of a Draft Summary Report. Following the release of the Draft Summary Report, the AFN developed a Draft Specific Claims Reform Proposal to guide the reform the specific claims process.

For additional information about the 2019 dialogue process review our background rources below or contact the AFN directly.

Contacts

For more information, review our Land and Claims page, or contact:

Associate Director

Aaron Asselstine

[email protected]

Policy Analyst

Jesse Donovan

[email protected]

Celso CercadoSpecific Claims Policy Reform