The Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund leadership and representatives of the governments of Canada and Ontario attended a ceremony and announced a proposed out-of-court settlement in the outstanding litigation around the 1850 Robinson Huron Treaty. Negotiators for the parties have reached a proposed settlement that includes $5 billion from both Canada and Ontario, for a total settlement of $10 billion for past losses. This is a major milestone in ongoing collaborative work to renew the Treaty relationship and honour a treaty promise that dates back to 1850.
The 21 Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations have litigation against Canada and Ontario for breach of Treaty. The First Nations claim that under the Robinson Huron Treaty, the collective annuity to the First Nations and beneficiaries should have increased over time as resource revenues within the Treaty territory increased. The annuity increased only once, rising from approximately $1.70 per person to $4 per person in 1875, and hasn’t increased since.
Canada, Ontario and the 21 Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations have been working together at the negotiation table to find common ground for resolving these matters outside of the courts since April 2022.
The proposed settlement is an opportunity for Canada and Ontario to provide compensation to address past claims and to honour their Treaty obligations and will support the Robinson Huron First Nations to invest in a brighter future for their communities and grow the local economies in the Treaty territory.
As the next step, the First Nations are moving forward with a community engagement process, including consultations with First Nation members and beneficiaries to provide accurate information about the proposed settlement. These sessions will be led by the Honourable Harry S. LaForme in the Office of Mizhinawe for the Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations. Based on the information sessions, the Mizhinawe will prepare a report and recommendations for the Robinson Huron Chiefs and Trustees within the next six to eight months.
- In 2014, the First Nations filed litigation relating to Treaty annuities against the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
- In 2018, the Ontario Superior Court found that the Crown is obligated to increase the annuities provided under the Robinson Treaties to reflect the net revenue the Crown receives from resources harvested in the Treaty territory.
- The proposed settlement announced today is focused only on the resolution of claims related to past annuities.
- Much work remains to be done before this proposed settlement can be concluded. This includes the consultation process with First Nation members and beneficiaries led by the Office of the Mizhinawe.
- The governments of Canada and Ontario will also need to complete their own internal review processes to seek approval to sign the proposed settlement.
- The proposed settlement will not be final until it is approved by all parties and the claim for past compensation has been discontinued on consent of the parties and by order of the Ontario Superior Court.
- The parties look forward to continuing to work together toward shared solutions for the benefit of First Nations communities and all Canadians. This includes exploring forward-looking arrangements on Treaty annuities.