The Five Year Review of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act
October 16, 2013 marked the fifth anniversary of the coming into force of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act. This federal legislation established the Specific Claims Tribunal - an independent body with the power to make binding decisions on First Nation specific claims when other options fail.
In accordance with Section 41 of the Act a review of the mandate, efficiency and effectiveness of the Specific Claims Tribunal has been completed. The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs tabled her report in respect of the review in Parliament on November 25, 2016.
About the Tribunal
- The Specific Claims Tribunal Act came into force on October 16, 2008.
- The Specific Claims Tribunal became operational on June 1, 2011.
- In June 2011, the Tribunal established its own Rules of Practice and Procedure, which are similar to civil court rules.
- To date, the Tribunal has made a total of 15 decisions on the validity of claims.
- To date, First Nations have submitted 82 claims to the Tribunal.
The Government of Canada sought input from First Nations and other interested parties to help inform the five year review of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act.
Canada released an engagement paper, entitled Seeking Comment on the Five Year Review of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act. Mr. Benoît Pelletier was appointed as Ministerial Special Representative to oversee this review process and lead engagement with First Nations and other interested parties. Over the winter and early spring of 2015, engagement took place through various means, including in-person meetings with key groups led by Mr. Pelletier and opportunities for input through online tools. The comment period ran from January to mid-May 2015.
Report on engagement
Mr. Pelletier prepared a report summarizing what was heard during this engagement and outlining recommendations. This independent report does not call for any immediate changes to the Specific Claims Tribunal Act, but contains many recommendations for future consideration and discussion with First Nations, including with respect to the broader specific claims process.
The executive summary and recommendations of Mr. Pelletier's report were made available online on September 16, 2016. A copy of Mr. Pelletier's full report was provided to all those who participated in the review and it is also available to interested parties upon request by contacting: InfoPubs@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs' Report
Mr. Pelletier’s report and the submissions of the First Nations, the Assembly of First Nations, and other interested parties, including the Chair of the Specific Claims Tribunal, have informed the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs’ Report. The Minister’s Report, in respect of the review, was tabled in both Houses of Parliament on November 25, 2016.
Canada has begun a dialogue with the Assembly of First Nations and other interested parties on how best to move forward to address concerns raised during the review of the Act in a spirit of collaboration and renewal for the benefit of all Canadians.