The process governing specific claims was established to allow First Nations to have their claims addressed through negotiations with the government rather than going through the courts.
The expected time frame to complete the Specific Claim process is five to six years. The Claim should take 12-18 months to prepare for submission to the Specific Claims Branch. Upon submission, Canada has
6 months to undertake a minimum standard review. Once it is determined that the claim has met minimum standard, it is considered as having been submitted to the Minister. From this point in time, Canada has three years to determine whether or not to accept the Claim for negotiation.
If it is shown that Canada has breached its lawful obligation to a First Nation, the claim will be accepted. If a claim is rejected, the First Nation has three options:
- Resubmit the claim along with new evidence and legal argument,
- File a Declaration with the Specific Claims Tribunal, or
- Litigate the claim through the regular court process.
There are 1,308 land claims from 650 First Nations currently filed under the federal government`s special claims policy, 448 have been accepted for negotiation, and 74 are before the courts.