About the flooding claims

 

Ontario is negotiating with the Rainy Lake First Nations and Canada to settle the First Nations’ claims that the dam built across the Rainy River at Fort Frances-International Falls in the early 1900s caused the flooding of their reserve lands on Rainy Lake.

Negotiations will also address the status of the Couchiching and Mitaanjigamiing Two Chain Allowance, a 132-foot wide strip of land surveyed along the pre-flood shoreline of Reserves 16A and 18C.

The goal of these negotiations is to conclude fair and final settlements that will bring closure to these longstanding issues and foster reconciliation. The timely resolution of these claims through negotiation, balancing the rights and interests of all concerned, is in everyone’s best interest.

Negotiated settlements will provide the First Nations with financial compensation for past losses and damages due to flooding, and an arrangement to address continued flooding. They will also bring economic benefits and certainty to the First Nations and neighbouring communities, creating economic opportunities and potential new business partnerships in the region.

The First Nations involved in the Rainy Lake First Nations Flooding Claims are:

  • Couchiching
  • Mitaanjigamiing
  • Naicatchewenin
  • Nigigoonsiminikaaning
  • Seine River

Together, these First Nations have nine reserves fronting on Rainy Lake.

 

Current status

 

Mitaanjigamiing First Nation and Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation reached tripartite settlement agreements with Ontario and Canada for their flooding claims in 2022. Seine River First Nation reached a tripartite settlement with Ontario and Canada for its flooding claim in 2023. The settlements include financial compensation for:

  • past losses and damages due to flooding of reserve lands resulting from the operation of the Fort Frances-International Falls Dam
  • the continued flooding of reserve lands

The Mitaanjigamiing settlement also addresses the status of the Two Chain Allowance, a 132-foot wide strip of land surveyed along the pre-flood shoreline of Reserves 18C.

 

Negotiations overview

Negotiations among four of the five First Nations, Canada and Ontario began in 2009 and negotiations with the fifth began in 2013.

Negotiation protocol agreements were signed by the negotiating partners between 2011 and 2013. Settlement studies were held between 2013 and 2017 to inform the negotiations.

Surveys were undertaken between 2018 and 2022 to locate the natural, pre-flood water’s edge of the nine First Nation Reserves. All nine surveys have been registered in the Canada Lands Survey Records (CLSR).

  • approximately 4,607.82 hectares (11,386.17 acres) of reserve land were impacted by the flooding
  • islands were created where none existed before the flooding

The Mitaanjigamiing and the Couchiching Two Chain Allowance lands were also identified within the surveyed area for Reserve 18C and Reserve 16A. View the map for information about each area of flooded reserve land.

The permanently flooded lands and islands created by the flooding were, at times, administered by Ontario. Past actions taken by Ontario include:

  • regulating islands as part of Rainy Lake Islands Conservation Reserve
  • including islands within the boundaries of allocations for resource harvesting
  • the sale of certain islands

Ontario is taking steps to address circumstances where First Nation reserve lands have been administered by Ontario.

Public information sharing

In August 2018, Ontario hosted open houses to provide the public with an opportunity to review the information available at the time.

Ontario’s negotiator provided background information on the claims and indicated surveys would be done to provide further clarity around the First Nations’ flooded reserve lands.

Ontario’s negotiator also indicated that additional information would be provided when available.

All nine surveys have been undertaken and have been registered in the CLSR. The lands indicated on the recent surveys are under the administration and control of the federal government.

To ensure that information about the proposed settlement of these claims is available, the ministry is continuing to post information on this page. This includes an interactive map showing the First Nation reserve areas affected by flooding.

Information for each First Nation’s flooded reserve lands will be available for review for a 45-day period from the date the information is posted.

First NationReview period statusReview start dateClosing date
Couchiching 16AClosedJuly 6, 2023August 20, 2023
Mitaanjigamiing 18CClosedJune 4, 2021July 20, 2021
Naicatchewenin 17AClosedNovember 28, 2022January 12, 2023
Nigigoonsiminikaaning 26AClosedMarch 14, 2022April 28, 2022
Nigigoonsiminikaaning 26BClosedJune 4, 2021July 20, 2021
Nigigoonsiminikaaning 26CClosedJune 4, 2021July 20, 2021
Seine River 23ClosedJanuary 28, 2022March 15, 2022
Seine River 23AClosedJanuary 28, 2022March 15, 2022
Seine River 23BClosedJanuary 28, 2022March 15, 2022

Interactive map

Provide feedback or learn more

Read our frequently asked questions (PDF) to learn more.

To provide feedback, request additional information or arrange for a video or teleconference meeting, contact:

Lise Hansen
Senior Negotiator
647-262-9941
Email: RLFloodClaim@ontario.ca