The Algonquin land claim

Algonquin land claim mapThe largest land claim being negotiated in Ontario. If successful, it will be the province’s first modern-day constitutionally protected treaty.

About the land claim

The claim covers a territory of 36,000 square kilometres in eastern Ontario that is populated by more than 1.2 million people.

If successful, the negotiations will produce the province’s first modern-day constitutionally protected treaty.

The Algonquins of Ontario assert that they have Aboriginal rights and title that have never been extinguished, and have continuing ownership to the Ontario portions of the Ottawa and Mattawa River watersheds and their natural resources.

The boundaries of the claim are based largely on the watershed, which was historically used and occupied by the Algonquin people.

Download the map

Key terms of a possible settlement

The negotiators for the Algonquins of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have agreed to recommend:

  • the transfer of 117,500 acres of Crown Lands to Algonquin ownership
  • $300 million as settlement capital provided by Canada and Ontario
  • defined Algonquin rights related to lands and natural resources

The negotiators have also agreed that:

  • no new reserves will be created
  • Algonquin Park will be preserved for the enjoyment of all
  • land will not be expropriated from private owners as a result of the settlement

Several years of work remain, including another stage of negotiations and consultations, before a Final Agreement can be reached.

Lands

  • land will not be expropriated from private owners
  • no one will lose access to cottages or private property
  • no one will lose access to navigable waterways
  • no new First Nation reserves will be created on lands that are transferred
  • less than 4 % of the Crown land in the claim area is proposed for transfer
  • the vast majority of the Crown land base will remain open to all existing uses
  • after transfer, Algonquin lands will be subject to municipal jurisdiction, including the same land use planning and development approvals and authorities as other private lands
  • land transfers will be in the area of the 10 Algonquin communities represented in the negotiations, close to where their members live – and will:
    • restore historically significant sites to the Algonquins
    • contribute to the social and cultural objectives of Algonquin communities
    • provide a foundation for economic development

Harvesting

  • existing recreation or hunt camps will continue on lands that will be transferred
    • agreements will be negotiated with the Algonquins of Ontario
    • Ontario will facilitate these negotiations
  • Algonquin harvesting rights will be subject to provincial and federal laws necessary for conservation, public health and public safety
  • the Algonquins will continue to develop moose harvesting plans with Ontario

Parks

  • no lands will be transferred from Algonquin Park
  • Ontario will continue managing Ontario parks, with the Algonquins having a greater planning role
  • three non-operating parks and parts of four non-operating parks are proposed for transfer
  • a new 30,000 acre provincial park near Crotch Lake is being recommended
  • for every acre of park land proposed for transfer, six acres of new park land would be added

Timeline

2013

More than 2,000 people attend a series of nine tripartite public information sessions to learn about and provide comments on the Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle.

Members of the Ontario negotiation team hold more than 130 consultation meetings with interest holders.

Algonquins of Ontario hold meetings to review the Preliminary Draft with Algonquin voters.

2012

Negotiators release a Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle for public review and comment. Seeking public input at this stage in negotiations is unprecedented.

2006

All parties reaffirm the shared objectives and the current phase of negotiations begins.

1996

Ontario’s Municipal Advisory Committee and Committee of External Advisors established.

1994

All parties agree to publicly release a Statement of Shared Objectives.

1991-1992

The governments of Canada and Ontario agree to enter negotiations with the Algonquins.

Mid 1980s

The Algonquins formally submit a land claim to Canada and Ontario, asserting that the Crown never entered into a treaty with the Algonquins.

Who is involved

The parties negotiating the claim are:

  • the Government of Canada
  • the Government of Ontario
  • the Algonquins of Ontario

The Algonquins of Ontario

Approximately 10,000 people of Algonquin descent live in the land claim territory. They are represented by a collective called the Algonquins of Ontario in negotiations.

Elected individuals sit at the negotiating table as part of this collective, representing the following communities:

  • the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation
  • Antoine
  • Bancroft
  • Bonnechere
  • Greater Golden Lake
  • Mattawa/North Bay
  • Ottawa
  • Shabot Obaadjiwan
  • Snimikobi
  • Whitney and area

Ontario’s role

The government is negotiating a settlement on behalf of the people of Ontario to:

  • achieve legal certainty regarding the rights of the Algonquins of Ontario with respect to lands and natural resources
  • promote opportunities for economic, cultural and community development for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities affected by the claim
  • improve relationships between the Crown and Aboriginal peoples and between Aboriginal communities and their neighbours

Negotiating team

Ontario’s negotiating team for the Algonquin land claim includes representatives of:

  • Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Ministry of Northern Development and Mines

The team includes the co-chairs of two advisory committees established by Ontario in 1996:

  • Norm Lemke, Co-Chair, Ontario’s Municipal Advisory Committee
  • Al Stewart, Co-Chair, Ontario’s Committee of External Advisors

Ontario’s Chief Negotiator: Brian Crane

How to get involved

As a member of the public, your voice is important to us.

Send your comments and feedback to the negotiation teams:

Algonquins of Ontario
613-735-3759 or 1-855-735-3759 (toll free)

Canada
1-800-567-9604 (toll free) or 1-866-553-0554 (TTY toll free)

Ontario
613-732-8081 or 1-855-690-7070 (toll free)

Publications on the claim

You can request the following publications about the land claim:

  • Preliminary Draft Land Claim Agreement-in-Principle December 2012 (PDF)
  • Tripartite Statement of Shared Objectives
  • Algonquin Hunt Management Plans
  • 2009 Framework for Negotiations Agreement
  • 2009 Consultation Process Interim Measures Agreement
  • 2009 Land Selection Process Paper
  • 2007 Algonquin Declaration Order Made Under the Environmental Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E. 18

To request a copy of one of these publications, please contact:

Ontario Information Centre
Algonquin Land Claim
31 Riverside Drive
Pembroke, ON  K8A 8R6

Phone: (613) 732-8081
Toll Free: 1-855-690-7070

Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Updated: August 14, 2014