INAC Legal Fees
The amount attributed by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to legal fees varies from year-to-year, depending on the volume of transactional business requiring legal advice, the pace of negotiations and adjudications, and the nature and magnitude of litigation brought before the courts. Not all of INAC's legal costs are related to defending litigation. In fact, many of the legal costs relate to services and negotiations.
The complexity of Indigenous legal issues is grounded in the centuries-old relationship between the Federal Crown and Indigenous peoples. This relationship has historical, constitutional and legislative underpinnings. For example, Section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982 recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada and is an important part of our shared history. Legal questions arising from these areas contribute to the number of cases before the courts.
The total amount of legal fees paid by INAC in 2016-2017 was $68.8 million.
- Of this amount $33.1 million was spent on litigation.
- $32.4 million was spent on legal services provided by the Department of Justice, for advice and support on funding agreements, as well as additions to reserve, loans, leases, permits and certificates of possession. These are complex transactions for which the Department of Justice provides legal advice, as they relate to Treaty Land Entitlement Agreements, the Federal Real Property and Federal Immoveable Act, as well as land transactions under the Indian Act. Further, the Department of Justice provides legal advice and support for negotiations of Comprehensive Claims and Self Government agreements, and Specific Claims and in Consultation and Accommodation matters.
- The remaining $3.3 million was spent on external legal contracted services.
INAC continues to ensure that its legal costs are managed in a transparent and accountable manner for the mutual benefit of all Canadians. These costs are submitted annually to the Receiver General and the most recent costs are detailed in the 2016-17 Public Accounts.
INAC firmly believes that the best way to address issues with respect to Indigenous peoples (i.e. First Nations, Inuit and Métis) is through collaboration and not through litigation. Negotiated settlements and outcomes are preferred whenever possible.
|Department of Justice:|
|Total cost paid by INAC to the Department of Justice||65.5||62.4||68.2||72.7||73.9||81.9||81.6|
|External Legal Contracted Services for INAC *||3.3||3.6||5.2||5.6||6.5||5.3||7.4|
|Adjudicator Services and Fees for Claimants under the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat **||N/A||N/A||N/A||27.5||25.7||22.9||23.9|
|Total cost paid by INAC for Contracted lawyers/agents||3.3||3.6||5.2||33.1||32.2||28.2||31.3|
|Total Legal Costs for INAC||68.8||66||73.4||105.8||106.1||110.1||112.9|
|* External Legal Contracted Services for INAC includes external services to the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS) and other programs within the department.
** Adjudicator Services: Effective 2014-2015, adjudicators' actuals are no longer reported under Legal Services since adjudicators do not provide legal services or advice to the Government of Canada.
Note: Figures for 2010-11 to 2016-2017 are extracted from and reconcile with INAC's financial system.
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