Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada legal fees
On August 28, 2017, the Prime Minister announced the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the creation of two new departments: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).
The Government of Canada is working to right historical wrongs and rebuild our relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis based on affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. We remain committed to negotiating resolutions outside of the courts, as we believe that negotiation is always preferable to litigation.
Litigation costs are not solely incurred by court proceedings. Many of these costs are incurred for out-of-court resolution activities such as recent settlements with regard to Indigenous Childhood Claims Litigation (for example: Sixties Scoop, Residential Day Schools) as well as specific claims settlements, which seek to address historical claims in order to provide justice for Indigenous communities.
Legal fees amounts also vary from year to year based on the volume of transactional business requiring legal advice, the pace of negotiations and adjudications, and the nature and magnitude of litigation brought before the courts. Not all of CIRNAC's legal costs are related to defending litigation. Costs include legal advisory services, exploratory discussions, negotiations and settlement agreement implementation. In the majority of litigation files, Canada is a defendant – while the preferred approach to resolving outstanding grievances is negotiations, Canada continues to recognize that Indigenous peoples are entitled to choose their preferred forum to resolve outstanding claims, which may include litigation. Canada remains open to alternative forms of resolution, such as mediation and negotiation.
The total amount of legal fees paid by CIRNAC in 2019-20 was $58.5 million.
- Of this amount, $36.3 million was spent on litigation provided by the Department of Justice Canada. Litigation is managed jointly between CIRNAC and ISC with the costs reported in the public accounts by CIRNAC, on behalf of both departments. The legal fees identified in ISC's public accounts include the litigation component for ISC's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.
- $20.7 million was spent on legal services provided by the Department of Justice Canada, for advice and support on bills, regulations, contracting, negotiations of comprehensive claims, self- government agreements, specific claims and in consultation and accommodation matters.
- The remaining $1.5 million was spent on external legal contracted services, which are legal services from contracted lawyers or legal agents outside of the Department of Justice Canada.
CIRNAC continues to ensure that its legal costs are managed in a transparent and accountable manner for the mutual benefit of all Canadians. These costs are submitted annually to the Receiver General and the most recent costs are detailed in the 2020 Public Accounts.
CIRNAC believes that the best way to address issues with respect to Indigenous peoples is through collaboration and not through litigation. Negotiated settlements and outcomes are preferred whenever possible.
|Department of Justice Canada|
|Total cost paid to the Department of
|Contracted lawyers and agents|
|External legal contracted servicesFootnote 1||$1.5||$6.5||$4.1||$3.3||$3.6|
|Total cost paid for contracted lawyers and agents||$1.5||$6.5||$4.1||$3.3||$3.6|
|Total legal costs||$58.5||$62.0||$63.2||$68.8||$66.0|