|Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6
Vancouver Island Room
|If you are unable to attend the event we encourage you to follow along remotely through the AFN weblink. The agenda is designed to facilitate participation through breakout sessions. If you would like to participate please download the four discussion forms – each one is associated with a topic on the agenda – and fill them out as we move through the session. You can then email your completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org and your comments will be added to the record. Alternatively you can submit a comment or question through email or through the web chat function and we will endeavor to respond.
Negotiations / Mediation
Funding / Process
Claims over $150 million
Specific Claims Tribunal
In 2007 Canada introduced Justice at Last: A Specific Claims Action Plan (JAL). A key component of JAL was the Specific Claims Tribunal Act (SCTA) which came into force in October 2008. The Tribunal provides First Nation claimants dissatisfied with Canada’s response to their claims access to an impartial, binding decision making body.
Canada’s efforts since JAL, however, have led to new challenges for First Nations. Fewer than 15 percent of claims have resulted in settlement – the vast majority of claims have either been “rejected” or simply “closed”. Inadequate funding has also increased pressure on First Nations and the Tribunal, ultimately undermining Canada’s commitments in JAL.
A key component of JAL was a 5-year review of the SCTA. The review was unilaterally undertaken by Canada in 2010. Working with the Chiefs Committee on Claims (CCoC), the AFN carried out significant advocacy to ensure First Nation perspectives were represented. The review was finalized in 2014, but former federal Minister Valcourt refused to release it. In 2016 the new federal Liberal government made the review public, and tabled a Minister’s report to parliament acknowledging First Nation concerns and committing Canada to work with the AFN to develop recommendations for change.
In fall 2016, following the Minister’s report, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) released an audit of the specific claims process. The audit found that Canada had failed to adequately implement JAL and included 10 recommendations for change. Canada accepted the OAG recommendations and again committed to working with First Nations and the AFN to address the specific claims process.
These commitments resulted in the development of an AFN-Canada Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) mandated with examining Canada’s specific claims process and developing recommendations for change. The JTWG began meeting in November, 2016, and has had a number of meetings since then.
The JTWG is made up of AFN policy staff, First Nation technical experts from across Canada, and INAC officials. The JTWG is looking to develop recommendations for review by First Nation leadership by winter 2017.
As part of this process, and to assist the JTWG, the AFN hosted a dialogue session in March and is hosting a second western dialogue session in Vancouver on June 19-20 in Vancouver. The sessions are focused on identifying issues with the specific claims process and developing solutions. If you can’t attend this session it will be webcast by AFN, and the JTWG is accepting submissions from First Nation communities and organizations.
If you want to make a submission to the JTWG please email Aaron Asselstine at Asselstine@afn.ca. The deadline for submissions is July 24, 2017
While registration for the western dialogue session is free for First Nations and First Nation organizations, participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations. If you would like RSVP for the dialogue session in Vancouver please email Rikki at email@example.com.
If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to contact AFN director of Treaties, Rights, and Claims, Craig Gideon at firstname.lastname@example.org.