Fort William First Nation Boundary Claim Negotiations - Fall 2006

Notice

This website will change as a result of the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and the creation of Indigenous Services Canada and the eventual creation of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. During this transformation, you may also wish to consult the updated Indigenous and Northern Affairs home page.

Overview

The Fort William First Nation, Canada and Ontario are negotiating a resolution to the First Nation's claim that the boundary of the reserve does not reflect the First Nation's understanding of the location and size of the reserve to be set apart pursuant to the Robinson Superior Treaty of 1850.

Negotiations between the three parties have been ongoing since 2000. The parties have agreed that a basis of a settlement of the boundary claim could include financial compensation and a provincial Crown land component.

Milestones

  • The Fort William First Nation submitted its Boundary Claim to Canada and Ontario in 1985. The events alleged in the claim, regarding the size and location of the reserve, date back to the survey of the reserve in 1853 following the signing of the Robinson Superior Treaty.

  • After extensive historical research and legal review by Canada and Ontario, Canada accepted the claim for negotiation in 1994 and Ontario in 2000. Negotiations have been ongoing since that time.

  • The parties agreed on a joint negotiation process to create a general framework for the negotiations. A study process was then initiated to assist the parties in determining fair compensation. To this end, qualified appraisers are assessing the value of the claim area. Loss-of-use studies are also being conducted to assess the economic losses incurred by the First Nation as a result of the lost opportunity to use the claim area. The goal of this ongoing study is to enable the parties to begin discussions on financial compensation.

Basis of a Settlement

Canada, Ontario and the Fort William First Nation have agreed that a basis of a settlement of the claim could include both a provincial Crown land component and financial compensation based on the claim area identified in the map . The only land proposed for inclusion as part of a settlement is the provincial Crown land on Pie Island, including Le Pate Provincial Nature Reserve, and Flatland Island. Financial compensation will be determined through negotiations once the study process has been completed.

No private property will be expropriated to reach a settlement of this claim and existing access to private property will be assured.

Ontario is proposing to transfer the provincial Crown land on Flatland Island and Pie Island, including Le Pate Provincial Nature Reserve, to Canada to be set apart as reserve for Fort William First Nation. See the enclosed map of the proposed Crown land selections.

Upon settlement, the Crown land selections would be proposed for addition to reserve by the First Nation, pursuant to the terms and conditions of a settlement agreement and the federal Additions-to-Reserve Policy.

A future settlement will bring closure to the outstanding issues raised by the claim.

In exchange for financial compensation and land, the First Nation would provide full and final releases for the claim, indemnities to Canada and Ontario and agree to the dismissal of any court actions with respect to the boundary claim.

Next Steps

Before Crown land is included in a final settlement, the Province of Ontario engages in a public consultation process. To this end, meetings to address any land related concerns will be held, as appropriate, with individuals whose interests may be affected by the proposed Crown land component. During the series of Open Houses scheduled for November 2006, input will also be sought from the public on the Crown land component that could form the basis of a settlement.

In conjunction with this consultation, a number of technical processes will be taking place with respect to the Crown land:

  • The proposed Crown land selections will be posted on the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights  web site.

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) will begin to amend the Crown Land Use Atlas to place Pie and Flatland Islands within a single land use area to ensure that only compatible land uses are permitted until the lands are transferred to Canada.

  • The deregulation of Le Pate Provincial Nature Reserve will be carried out in accordance with the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.

  • MNR will begin to de-patent the Ontario Crown patent land on Pie Island.

  • On final settlement, the transfer of Crown land to Canada will be carried out in accordance with the Class Environmental Assessment for MNR Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects.

  • MNR will finalize these processes once public consultation has been completed.

In addition to the work described above, there is still more to be done:

  • The loss-of-use and land appraisal studies must be completed so discussions on financial compensation can begin.

  • A settlement agreement must be drafted once the work on the Crown land component and financial compensation are completed.

  • Then the agreement must be approved and ratified by the membership of the Fort William First Nation, by the Government of Canada and by the Government of Ontario.

The Bottom Line

  • A settlement will bring closure to the outstanding legal issues raised by the claim.

  • The parties will consider and attempt to address the interests of those who may be directly affected by a settlement.

  • No private property will be expropriated to reach a settlement of this claim and existing access to private property will be assured.

  • In addition to resolving this longstanding claim, a future settlement will provide the Fort William First Nation with opportunities for economic and community development, and foster a positive business climate for the First Nation and its non-Aboriginal neighbours.

Contacts

Mike Pelletier, Negotiator
Fort William First Nation
807-623-9543

Kim Hazlett, Negotiator
Specific Claims Branch
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
819-994-4122

Media please call:
819-953-1160

Betty Wires, Negotiator
Ontario Secretariat for Aboriginal Affairs
807-468-2582

Media please call:
416-326-4780

Fort William First Nation, Canada and Ontario developed this newsletter to inform FWFN members and the public about the progress in resolving this claim.

Need More Information?

Attend one of our Information Open Houses:

November 7 Best Western Nor'Wester Resort Hotel
Pointe DuMeuron Room
RR # 4, 2080 Highway # 61
Thunder Bay
2:00-4:00 p.m.
6:00-9:00 p.m.
November 8 Fort William First Nation
Community Centre
2:00-4:00 p.m.
6:00-9:00 p.m.
November 9 Blake Community Hall
RR # 7, 71 Blake Hall Road
Municipality of Neebing
2:00-4:00 p.m.
6:00-9:00 p.m.

For more information about the Fort William First Nation Boundary Claim, see: Frequently Asked Questions and A Brief History of the Fort William Boundary Claim.

Information is also available on the Internet at:

Fort William First Nation 

Ontario Secretariat for Aboriginal