The Ipperwash Inquiry looked into the events surrounding the death of Dudley George, an unarmed First Nation man, who was shot and killed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer during a protest at the Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995. The inquiry highlighted the need for the province to dramatically shift its approach to land claim disputes and led to the forming of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, recently renamed Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. 

Land claims often involve multiple parties and interests. Some of the treaties underlying the land claims were negotiated hundreds of years ago. The Crown and First Nations often have different understandings of what was intended by the treaties.

The ministry has worked with negotiating partners to improve the land claims process and have claims resolved more quickly and efficiently. This includes the ground-breaking agreement-in-principle with the Algonquins of Ontario, which the parties hope will lead to the province’s first modern-day treaty.

These successes stem in part from Ontario’s commitment to working in partnership with First Nations and other Indigenous partners to ensure that treaty relationships are modern and mutually beneficial. The Treaty Strategy is part of this work, promoting public awareness on treaties, facilitating constructive engagement, revitalizing treaty relationships and promoting improved socio-economic outcomes for Indigenous peoples.

Resolving historic grievances is at the heart of the ministry’s strategic direction of which land claims and reconciliation plays a critical part.

The immediate catalyst for most major occupations and protests is a dispute over a land claim, a burial site, resource development, or harvesting, hunting and fishing rights. The fundamental conflict, however, is usually about land.

Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry


  • 22
    Number of land claims resolved since 2007
  • 19,522ha
    Amount of Crown land transferred to Canada by Ontario for the use and benefit of First Nation communities
  • $130m
    Compensation paid to First Nations since 2007
  • 2x
    Rate of land claims settlements since 2007
  • 145yrs
    Amount of time the Lac des Mille Lacs flooding claim was in dispute before a settlement was reached in May 2017
  • 5yrs
    Time it took from filing date for Ontario to sign a land claim agreement with Mishkosiminiziibiing First Nation and the Ojibways of Onigaming in Northwestern Ontario.

Algonquin Agreement-in-Principle sets path for Ontario’s first modern treaty

The Algonquin claim of Aboriginal rights and title covers an area of 36,000 square kilometres of the Ottawa drainage basin in Eastern Ontario and has its roots in Algonquin petitions to the Crown dating back to 1772.

In October 2016, the government of Ontario signed an historic agreement-in-principle with the Algonquins of Ontario. This agreement paved the way for continued negotiations toward a constitutionally protected treaty that will define the ongoing rights of the Algonquins of Ontario to lands and natural resources within the settlement area. The ultimate goal is to create a modern treaty that provides clarity for all who live and work in the claim territory, balance the rights and interests of all concerned, and create new economic opportunities.

This major step toward Ontario's first modern treaty shows what's possible when strong partners work together in the spirit of reconciliation. More than a million people share this land with the Algonquins of Ontario, and a modern treaty will clear a path for neighbours to become partners, bringing new economic opportunities to their communities.

David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation