Treaties and Land Claims: Background Content

Specific Claims


Fed. Govt.

Specifc Claims Tribunal

The Specific Claims Tribunal, established on October 16, 2008, is part of the Federal Government’s Justice at Last policy and joint initiative with the Assembly of First Nations aimed at accelerating the resolution of specific claims in order to provide justice for First Nations claimants and certainty for government, industry and all Canadians.

The term “specific claims” generally refers to monetary damage claims made by a First Nation against the Crown regarding the administration of land and other First Nation assets and to the fulfillment of Indian treaties that have not been accepted for negotiation or that have not been resolved through a negotiated settlement within a specified time frame.

Specific claims can include alleged breaches of the Crown’s legal obligations relating to treaties, reserve lands and resources, or First Nations’ trust funds. The Tribunal is empowered to compensate Claimants for these breaches to a maximum of $150 million.


July 15, 2020


Fed. Govt.

Specific Claims Settlements

Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation

A historic agreement has been concluded for the settlement of the Halifax County 1919 Invalid Surrender Specific Claim with Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation. The parties agreed upon a compensation amount of $49,204,071 to settle the specific claim.

This specific claim addresses the issue of Canada breaching its duties with respect to the surrender and sale of three reserves of the Halifax County Band, which subsequently divided into what is today Sipekne’katik and the Millbrook First Nation. The reserves, IR#15 at Sambro, IR#16 at Ingram River, and IR#18 at Ship Harbour, were set aside in 1784, 1820, and 1848 respectively. Canada accepted this claim for negotiation in 2008 on the basis that Canada failed to conduct a surrender meeting and surrender vote in accordance with the Indian Act.


August 27, 2019


Fed. Govt.

Specific Claims Settlements

Popkum, Chawathil, Shxw’ōw’hámel, Skawahlook, Yale, Peters and Union Bar First Nations

Negotiated settlements resolve a legal obligation owed by Canada to these First Nations when a reserve they held in common was transferred in 1959 to the then-newly formed Seabird Island First Nation without meaningful consent or compensation.

The specific claim settlements will provide each First Nation with just over $21.4 million in compensation for the current value and loss of use of their interest in the Seabird Island Reserve.


March 18, 2019


Fed. Govt.

Specific Claims Settlements

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation

Signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding on reconciliation and the settlement agreement of 29 specific claims related to the surrender of reserve lands. The discussions under the Memorandum of Understanding will cover many topics, including Aboriginal title, rights recognition, socio-economic development, consultation and self-determination. The goal of this process is to move forward together to find shared and balanced solutions that advance reconciliation in a way that respects the interests of the First Nation and all Canadians. A total of 29 individual claims have been negotiated, resulting in a global settlement offer of over $116 million that was accepted by the First Nation leadership and the members of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation through a successful ratification vote.


Other Background Content By Theme


Treaty Land Entitlements

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First Nations Land Management Regime

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Comprehensive Claims and Modern Treaties

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Historical Treaties of Canada and First Nations

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