The Specific Claims Process:  Key Definitions

The different steps of the specific claims process and key related terms are described below.

Under Assessment

In this step of the process, Canada reviews the claim and decides whether or not to accept it for negotiation. Canada completes a historical and legal review of the facts of each claim to determine whether there is an outstanding lawful obligation to the First Nation. For more information about this step, read the Frequently Asked Questions.

In Negotiation

If an outstanding lawful obligation is found, Canada offers to negotiate a settlement with the First Nation. If the First Nation accepts the offer to negotiate, negotiations take place to determine what compensation would be fair to resolve the claim. The parties in this stage are working together to reach a settlement.


These claims have been resolved through a negotiated settlement between the First Nation and Canada, and (where applicable) the relevant provincial or territorial government. Once the settlement is signed by the parties, implementation proceeds, including the payment of compensation.


This category includes settled claims as well as claims that have been dealt with in ways other than a negotiated settlement. This includes when Canada has not accepted a claim for negotiation and the First Nation has taken no further action on the claim.Claims also fall into this category when the claim has been resolved through a binding decision of the Specific Claims Tribunal.

Other Claims

A claim falls into this category when a First Nation chooses to pursue its claim through the courts or to refer its claim to the Specific Claims Tribunal for a binding decision. Claims also fall into this category when it has been dealt with through other means, such as file closure. Read about the general scenarios in which a First Nation can refer its claim to the Tribunal.

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