Land Base Statistics

More than 3.5 million hectares in Canada are First Nations lands.

First Nations land base has increased

Since 2006, 348,840 hectares have been added to reserves under the federal Additions to Reserves/New Reserves Policy. [Note 1] There are now 3,377,826 hectares of land area registered as reserve land in the Indian Lands Registry System. [Note 2] This represents approximately a 12% increase of the First Nations land base since 2006.

An addition to reserve (ATR) is a parcel of land that is added to the existing reserve landbase of a First Nation in either a rural or urban setting to fulfill a legal obligation (e.g., specific claim settlement), a community addition (e.g., to accommodate community growth), or to create a new reserve (e.g., for economic development).

During the same time period, 441 hectares of reserve land have been absolutely surrendered (e.g., for road construction) with the consent of the First Nation.  Land parcels surrendered represent less than 0.4% of the total reserve land area registered in the Indian Lands Registry System. Land surrendered is often exchanged for new, more useful land parcels as part of an addition to reserve process.  Land exchanges are included in the addition to reserve totals. 

First Nations control of land has increased

There are 36 First Nations with a total of 159,511 hectares of reserve land currently operating under the First Nations Land Management (FNLM) regime.

Since 2006, 22 First Nations have become operational under the FNLM regime and now manage their reserve lands under their community land laws, adding 68,342 hectares of reserves under First Nation control. This represents a 75% increase of FNLM reserve land since 2006.

Fifty-eight First Nations are developing their own land codes and will add an additional 282,492.9 hectares of reserve land under First Nations control.  When a community approves new land codes, 34 sections of the Indian Act dealing with land, resources and environment no longer to apply to the First Nation.

More than 17,499 hectares of land is managed by 18 self-governing First Nations [Note 3].

Summary Table (figures in hectares)
  Total First Nations Land Base
Indian Land Registry System (Indian Act Land Base) 3,377,826
First Nations Land Registry System (Land Control under FNLM) 159,511
Self-Governing First Nations 17,499
Total Land Base 3,554,836


  1. Information on the federal Additions to Reserves/New Reserves Policy can be found at Frequently Asked Questions - Additions to Reserves. (return to source paragraph)
  2. A land registry is a set of records that anyone can search to find out what ownership, leases, permits and other interests may apply to a parcel of land. The Indian Land Registry System (ILRS) consists of documents related to and interests in reserve (and any surrendered) lands that are administered under the Indian Act. More information on land registration can be found at Land Registration(return to source paragraph)
  3. This figure includes Indian Reserve acreage included as part of self-governing First Nations agreements. It does not cover land under that was not previously reserve land (e.g., territorial land claims or other settlement agreements). (return to source paragraph)

* Recent additions may not yet have been registered and thus may not be reflected in the above figures.

Figures have been adjusted to reflect revised calculation methods.