First Nations and Border Crossing: Engagement 2017

Current status: Closed

The engagement started in January 2017 and closed on August 31, 2017.

Report of the Minister's Special Representative

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The Government of Canada recognizes the impact the Canada-United States (U.S.) border can have on First Nation communities, particularly those that are closest to the border.

Acting on a recommendation made by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada appointed Fred Caron as the Minister's Special Representative (MSR) in December 2016 to:


The MSR will engage with:

The MSR's findings will inform the work of an inter-departmental committee including representatives from:


The purpose of the engagement is to:

The MSR's report will help the inter-departmental committee develop a plan with practical options to make it easier for First Nation community members to cross the Canada-U.S. border and maintain closer cultural and family ties to Native American communities in the U.S., while respecting the need to maintain national security and public safety.

How to participate

You can participate in 3 ways:

  1. attend a meeting hosted by a First Nation organization (some by invitation only)
  2. send an email with your responses to the questions in the discussion guide
  3. send by mail a letter with your responses to the questions in the discussion guide

When and where

Date Meeting Location
January 17, 2017 Assembly of First Nations Special Representative on Border Security and Border Crossing Ottawa
January 25, 2017 Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Akwesasne
February 22, 2017 Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee Ottawa
April 19, 2017 Quebec First Nation border communities, hosted by the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Montreal
April 20, 2017 Iroquois Caucus Kahnawake
May 24-26, 2017 First Nations in British Columbia, hosted by the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Terrace, Osoyoos and Vancouver
May 30, 2017 First Nations in northwestern Ontario, hosted by the Couchiching First Nation Fort Frances
June 6, 2017 First Nations in southern Ontario, hosted by the Walpole Island First Nation Walpole Island
June 14, 2017 Saskatchewan First Nations, hosted by the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council Regina
June 15, 2017 Southern Manitoba First Nations, hosted by the Southern Chiefs' Organization Headingly
July 6, 2017 Assembly of First Nations Working Group on Border Security and Border Crossing Niagara Falls
July 10, 2017 Mi'gmaq First Nations of New Brunswick, hosted by the Mi'gmaw'el Tplu'tagnn Inc. Miramichi
July 11, 2017 Passamaquoddy Recognition Group Fredericton
July 11, 2017 The Maliseet Nation in New Brunswick Fredericton
July 17, 2017 Six Nations of the Grand River Ohsweken
July 26, 2017 Yukon and northern British Columbia First Nations Whitehorse
August 14, 2017 Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee Gatineau
August 16, 2017 Stoney Nakoda/Tsuut'ina Tribal Council Calgary
August 16, 2017 Blackfoot Confederacy Calgary

Related links

Minister's Special Representative

Minister's Special Representative

On December 16, 2016, Fred Caron was appointed as the Minister's Special Representative (MSR) to lead engagement with concerned First Nation communities to obtain a comprehensive picture of the Canada-United States (US) border crossing challenges that they face, as well as their views on potential solutions.

Mr. Caron, who is fluently bilingual, is the former Assistant Deputy Minister of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2004-2010). Prior to that, he served as the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat at the Privy Council Office (1996-2004).

Mr. Caron obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the Faculty of Law at McGill University in 1975 and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1978. In 1992, Mr. Caron was appointed Queen's Counsel in recognition of his exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession. He has extensive knowledge of Aboriginal law as well as of constitutional and international law and, over two decades, held various counsel and senior leadership positions at Justice Canada.

Mr. Caron was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and has received a number of honours as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces' Regular and Reserve components.

In the past six years, Mr. Caron has served as Chief Federal Negotiator on a number of Indigenous files including: rights issues respecting Kanasetake (Oka); Labrador/ Quebec Innu overlap claims; the Qalipu enrolment process; the Dundee specific claim and Akwesasne self-government and lands agreement; Nunavut devolution; and a litigation settlement with Nunavut Tungavik Inc.

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