Land Claims

In general, there are two types of Aboriginal claims in Canada that are commonly referred to as "land claims" - comprehensive claims and specific claims. Comprehensive claims always involve land, but specific claims are not necessarily land-related.

Comprehensive Claims

Comprehensive claims deal with the unfinished business of treaty-making in Canada. These claims arise in areas of Canada where Aboriginal land rights have not been dealt with by past treaties or through other legal means.  In these areas, forward-looking modern treaties are negotiated between the Aboriginal group, Canada and the province or territory.

Specific Claims

Specific claims deal with past grievances of First Nations related to Canada's obligations under historic treaties or the way it managed First Nations' funds or other assets. To honour its obligations, Canada negotiates settlements with the First Nation and (where applicable) provincial and/or territorial governments.


Canada first established policies on Aboriginal claims in 1973, along with processes and funding for resolving these claims through negotiation. It is important to note that these are optional processes that provide Aboriginal groups with an alternative to going to court to resolve their claims. It is in the best interest of all Canadians, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike, to find mutually-acceptable ways to resolve these claims. Negotiations lead to "win-win" situations that balance the rights of all Canadians.

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