Negotiations continue to be Canada’s first choice for resolving claims. Concrete results have been achieved to date to speed up claims resolution. As part of these overall efforts, a new approach is being put in place to ensure better access to mediation for the parties involved in these negotiations.
This new approach to mediation delivers on a commitment made in Canada’s Specific Claims Action Plan. First Nations asked for a faster process with better access to mediation and Canada is now making it easier and faster for individual negotiating tables to engage the services of independent mediators.
These mediation services will be available primarily for specific claim negotiating tables on an “as-requested” basis. However, these services may also be accessed, on a case-by-case basis, by Canada and Aboriginal parties at individual negotiating tables for comprehensive claims, self-government and other agreements.
Mediation is a cost-effective tool that can be used to help parties in a dispute to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Canada recognizes that this tool should be used more often to support claim negotiations and supports increasing its use. In cases where negotiations stall, Canada and First Nations will now have the option to jointly ask an independent mediator to help them find a common solution.
Four regional rosters of independent and experienced mediators are being developed through an open competitive selection process. The parties to the negotiation, Canada and the First Nation, must first agree to seek mediation services and both parties must agree upon which mediator on the roster they will use and the scope of the services to be provided. This would include a set time period and the specific issues for the mediation. The independent mediator will report directly to the negotiating table.
The goal is to have this service available to negotiation tables by fall 2011.
The Government of Canada believes that the best way to resolve outstanding claims is through negotiated settlements. Negotiated settlements lead to “win-win” situations that balance the interests of all Canadians and bring closure, benefits and certainty to all concerned.