Algonquin Land Claim Consultation Results
During the course of the Algonquin Land Claim negotiations regarding the agreement-in-principle (AIP), an unprecedented amount of information has been provided to the public. The negotiators' initialed proposed AIP is now publicly available.
Ontario's ongoing consultations with the public and stakeholders have resulted in a number of changes to a preliminary draft AIP that was made public in December 2012 by the negotiators for Canada, Ontario and the Algonquins of Ontario.
The main elements of the proposed settlement remain unchanged:
- $300 million in capital funding to the Algonquins from Canada and Ontario
- The transfer of approximately 117,500 acres of Ontario Crown land to Algonquin ownership
- An agreed approach to address Algonquin harvesting rights
Provincial Crown lands identified for potential transfer to Algonquin ownership generated more public interest than any other element of the preliminary draft AIP. As a result of those consultations, modifications were made to 36 of the 221 proposed land parcels. These range from the relocation or elimination of some proposed parcels to reconfiguration of property limits and access roads to accommodate other interests related to the lands.
Changes to provisions regarding Algonquin harvesting rights include:
- Clarifying the definition of conservation
- Clarifying Ontario and Canada's ongoing jurisdiction in relation to fish, wildlife, migratory birds and plants, including their respective habitats
- Identifying proactive interim measures to be undertaken by the Algonquins to increase protection of sensitive fisheries in Algonquin Park
- Clarifying language about the intent of the negotiating parties to develop fisheries management plans for the land claim settlement area with Algonquin Park being the first priority.
The parks chapter of the AIP includes new wording to make it clear that Ontario maintains jurisdiction for protected areas. Third-party interests in lands recommended for additions to the Ontario Parks system may continue in accordance with provincial laws and provisions that are set out in the proposed agreement-in-principle.
Ontario has engaged in extensive consultations to improve public understanding of the negotiation process and the proposed elements of an agreement. Input received has helped enhance the negotiators' understandings of public and stakeholder interests.
Representatives of the Ontario negotiation team have:
- Met with more than 2,000 members of the public who attended public information sessions immediately following the release of the preliminary draft AIP
- Responded to hundreds of inquiries through the Ontario information centre for the Algonquin Land Claim
- Organized more than 150 meetings with land owners, cottage associations and those who hold direct interests in the Crown land parcels identified for potential transfer to Algonquin ownership
- Conducted discussions with local municipal representatives regarding proposed Algonquin land selections in their municipalities
- Met with angler and hunter groups, environmental and park groups, forest industry representatives and other stakeholders
Discussions regarding the preliminary draft AIP resulted in negotiated changes that responded to new information or concerns that came to light. It is anticipated that the proposed AIP will be put forward to the Algonquins of Ontario for a ratification vote. If it ratified, and then approved by the governments of Canada and Ontario, another stage of negotiations will begin. The end result would be a final agreement that will take the form of a modern-day treaty.
Consultation opportunities will be provided to support the next stage of negotiations toward a final agreement. These will include:
- Municipal consultations regarding the transition of Ontario Crown lands to Algonquin ownership
- Consultation regarding the Crown lands proposed for transfer and additions to the Ontario Parks system
- Meetings to discuss future arrangements for those with legal interests in the Crown lands proposed for transfer
- Fisheries management planning for Algonquin Park, including meetings with angler and hunter groups and others with interests in the Crown lands and natural resources in the land claim territory