Government Commitments

Treaties and Land Claims

Modern Treaties

Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements

The modern treaty era began in 1973 after the Supreme Court of Canada decision (Calder et al. v. Attorney-General of British Columbia), which recognized Aboriginal rights for the first time. This decision led to the development of the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy and the first modern treaty, the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement signed in 1975.

Modern treaties are nation-to-nation relationships between Indigenous peoples, the federal and provincial Crown and in some cases, a territory. These treaties enable Indigenous peoples to rebuild their communities and nations on their own terms. The first modern treaty came into effect in 1975, and the latest modern treaty to come into effect was in 2016. Modern treaties define the land and resource rights of Indigenous signatories, and are intended to improve the social, cultural, political, and economic well-being of the Indigenous peoples concerned.

Also known as comprehensive land claim agreements, modern treaties are generally signed where Indigenous title and rights have not been settled. To date, 26 modern treaties have been concluded between the Crown and Indigenous peoples, covering over 40 percent of Canada’s land mass.
More modern treaties will be signed in the coming years; more than 70 Indigenous groups are currently negotiating modern treaties with the Government of Canada.

Modern treaties address such matters as:

  • Ownership and use of land, water and natural resources, including the subsurface
  • Management of land, water, and natural resources, including fish and wildlife
  • Harvesting of fish and wildlife
  • Environmental protection and assessment
  • Economic development
  • Employment
  • Government contracting
  • Capital transfers
  • Royalties from resource development
  • Impact benefit agreements
  • Parks and conservation areas
  • Social and cultural enhancement
  • The continuing application of ordinary Indigenous and other general programming and funds
  • Self-government and public government arrangements

Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements

  • James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (Quebec) (1977)
  • Northeastern Quebec Agreement (Quebec) (1978)
  • Inuvialuit Final Agreement (Northwest Territories) (1984)
  • Sechelt Indian Band Self-Government Act (British Columbia) (1986)
  • Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (Northwest Territories) (1992)
  • Council for Yukon Indians Umbrella Final Agreement (Yukon) (1993)
  • Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (Nunavut) (1993)
  • Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (Northwest Territories) (1994)
  • Mi’kmaq Education Agreement (Nova Scotia) (1997)
  • Nisga’a Final Agreement (British Columbia) (2000)
  • Tlicho Agreement (Northwest Territories) (2005)
  • Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement (Newfoundland and Labrador) (2005)
  • Westbank First Nations Self-Government Agreement (British Columbia) (2005)
  • Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2008)
  • Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement (British Columbia) (2009)
  • Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement (British Columbia) (2011)
  • Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement (2012)
  • Sioux Valley Dakota Nation (Manitoba) (2014)