The Algonquin land claim
The largest land claim being negotiated in Ontario. If successful, it will be the province’s first modern-day constitutionally protected treaty.
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About the land claim
The claim covers a territory of 36,000 square kilometres in eastern Ontario, an area with 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 (AOO) assert that they have Aboriginal rights and title that have never been extinguished and have continuing ownership of 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.
Ontario, Canada and the Algonquins of Ontario are currently engaged in the final stage of treaty negotiations, which the parties anticipate will be concluded in a few more years. If the negotiations are successful, the end result will be a Final Agreement that will take the form of a modern-day treaty.
Ontario’s earlier consultations and ongoing negotiations with the Algonquins of Ontario have resulted in some changes to the package of Crown lands proposed for future transfer to the AOO.
The Agreement-in-Principle signed in 2016 is available for public review. It is based on extensive consultation and feedback on the Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle that was publicly posted in December 2012.
Ontario remains committed to resolving this long-standing Aboriginal rights and title claim through a collaborative negotiation process that features consultation with partners, stakeholders and the public.
Building on the framework established by the Agreement-in-Principle, negotiations and consultations continue toward a Final Agreement.
Under the Agreement-in-Principle:
- land will not be expropriated from private owners
- no one will lose existing access to their cottages or private property
- no one will lose access to navigable waterways
- no new First Nation reserves will be created as part of the treaty
- approximately 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:
- restore historically significant sites to the Algonquins
- contribute to the social and cultural objectives of Algonquin communities
- provide a foundation for economic development for the region
Under the Agreement-in-Principle:
- 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
- fisheries management plans are to be developed for the Algonquin settlement area, with the first priority being protection of the sensitive fisheries of Algonquin Park
Parks and protected areas
Under the Agreement-in-Principle:
- no lands will be transferred from Algonquin Provincial Park
- Ontario will continue managing its provincial parks and conservation reserves, with the Algonquins having a greater collaborative planning role
- the proposed land transfers will affect some non-operating parks in the settlement area
- a new provincial park and an addition to Hungry Lake Conservation Reserve in Frontenac County are being recommended, as well as an addition to Lake St. Peter Provincial Park
Overall, this will mean an increase in the number and area of parks and protected areas within the Algonquins of Ontario settlement area.
Ontario makes a Supplemental Report Draft Environmental Evaluation Report available for public review, providing updated information on the provincial Crown lands proposed for future transfer to the Algonquins of Ontario.
Ontario makes a Draft Environmental Evaluation Report available for public review and conducts a series of public meetings as well as engagement online, by telephone and through correspondence.
Algonquins of Ontario Agreement-in-Principle is ratified and signed by Ontario, Canada and the Algonquin Negotiation Representatives.
Algonquins of Ontario Proposed Agreement-in-Principle is initialed by the negotiators and made publicly available.
More than 2,000 people attend tripartite public information sessions to learn about and provide comments on the Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle.
Members of the Ontario negotiation team:
- organized more than 150 meetings with land owners, cottage associations and those who hold direct interests in the Crown land parcels identified for potential transfer to Algonquins of Ontario ownership
- conducted discussions with local municipal representatives regarding proposed Algonquins of Ontario land selections in their municipalities
- met with angler and hunter groups, environmental and park groups, and other sectoral interests
Algonquins of Ontario hold meetings to review the Preliminary Draft with Algonquin voters.
Negotiators release a Preliminary Draft Agreement-in-Principle for public review and comment. Seeking public input at this stage in negotiations is unprecedented.
All parties reaffirm the shared objectives and the current phase of negotiations begins.
Ontario’s Municipal Advisory Committee and Committee of External Advisors is established.
All parties agree to publicly release a Statement of Shared Objectives and a Framework Agreement to guide the conduct of the negotiations.
The governments of Canada and Ontario agree to enter into negotiations with the Algonquins.
The Algonquins formally submit a land claim to Canada and Ontario, asserting that the Crown never entered into a treaty with the Algonquins and that they have continuing rights over the lands and natural resources in their traditional territory.
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
People of Algonquin descent in the land claim territory are represented in the negotiations by a collective called the Algonquins of Ontario.
Elected individuals at the negotiating table as part of this collective represent the following communities:
- the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation
- Greater Golden Lake
- Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini (Bancroft)
- Mattawa/North Bay
- Shabot Obaadjiwan (Sharbot Lake)
- Snimikobi (Ardoch)
- Whitney and area
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 Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities affected by the claim
- improve relationships between the Crown and Indigenous peoples and between Indigenous communities and their neighbours
Ontario’s negotiating team for the Algonquin land claim is represented by Ontario Chief Negotiator Doug Carr and led by the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, in partnership with other provincial ministries such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
How to get involved
Your voice is important to us.
Send your comments and feedback to the negotiation teams:
Publications on the claim
You can request the following publications about the land claim:
- Supplemental Report to the Draft Environmental Evaluation Report (October 26, 2020)
- Draft Environmental Evaluation Report Proposed Settlement Lands (August 28, 2017)
- Algonquins of Ontario Agreement-in-Principle (October 28, 2016)
- Tripartite Statement of Shared Objectives
- 2009 Consultation Process Interim Measures Agreement
- 2009 Land Selection Process Paper
- 2007 Algonquins of Ontario 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
Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.