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Specific Claims Tribunal Act (S.C. 2008, c. 22)

Assented to 2008-06-18

Specific Claims Tribunal Act

S.C. 2008, c. 22

Assented to 2008-06-18

An Act to establish the Specific Claims Tribunal and to make consequential amendments to other Acts


This enactment establishes the Specific Claims Tribunal, the mandate of which is to decide issues of validity and compensation relating to specific claims of First Nations, after their submission to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The enactment also makes consequential amendments to other Acts and repeals the Specific Claims Resolution Act.


Recognizing that

it is in the interests of all Canadians that the specific claims of First Nations be addressed;

resolving specific claims will promote reconciliation between First Nations and the Crown and the development and self-sufficiency of First Nations;

there is a need to establish an independent tribunal that can resolve specific claims and is designed to respond to the distinctive task of adjudicating such claims in accordance with law and in a just and timely manner;

the right of First Nations to choose and have access to a specific claims tribunal will create conditions that are appropriate for resolving valid claims through negotiations;

the Assembly of First Nations and the Government of Canada have worked together on a legislative proposal from the Government of Canada culminating in the introduction of this Act;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:


Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Specific Claims Tribunal Act.


Marginal note:Definitions

 The following definitions apply in this Act.


« élément d’actif »

“asset” means tangible property.


« revendicateur »

“claimant” means a First Nation whose specific claim has been filed with the Tribunal.

“claim limit”

« indemnité maximale »

“claim limit” means the maximum amount under paragraph 20(1)(b).


« Sa Majesté »

“Crown” means Her Majesty in right of Canada.

“First Nation”

« première nation »

“First Nation” means

  • (a) a band as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act;

  • (b) a group of persons that was, but is no longer, a band within the meaning of paragraph (a) and that has, under a land claims agreement, retained the right to bring a specific claim; and

  • (c) a group of persons that was a band within the meaning of paragraph (a), that is no longer a band by virtue of an Act or agreement mentioned in the schedule and that has not released its right to bring a specific claim.

“land claims agreement”

« accord sur des revendications territoriales »

“land claims agreement” has the same meaning as in subsection 35(3) of the Constitution Act, 1982.


« ministre »

“Minister” means the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.


« partie »

“party”, in respect of a specific claim, means any claimant, the Crown or any province or First Nation added as a party under section 23 or 24.

“specific claim”

« revendication particulière »

“specific claim” means a claim that is filed under section 14.


« Tribunal »

“Tribunal” means the Specific Claims Tribunal established by subsection 6(1).


Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of this Act is to establish the Specific Claims Tribunal, the mandate of which is to decide issues of validity and compensation relating to specific claims of First Nations.

Marginal note:Inconsistency or conflict

 In the event of any inconsistency or conflict between this Act and any other Act of Parliament, this Act prevails to the extent of the inconsistency or conflict.

Marginal note:Application

 This Act affects the rights of a First Nation only if the First Nation chooses to file a specific claim with the Tribunal and only to the extent that this Act expressly provides.



Marginal note:Tribunal
  •  (1) A tribunal to be known as the Specific Claims Tribunal is established.

  • Marginal note:Establishment of roster

    (2) The Governor in Council shall establish a roster of 6 to 18 superior court judges to act as members of the Tribunal.

  • Marginal note:Chairperson and other members

    (3) The Chairperson and other members shall be appointed from the roster referred to in subsection (2) by the Governor in Council.

  • Marginal note:Membership

    (4) The Tribunal shall consist of

    • (a) no more than six full-time members; or

    • (b) any number of part-time members, or combination of full-time and part-time members, so long as the combined time devoted to their functions and duties does not exceed the combined time that would be devoted by six full-time members.

Marginal note:Tenure
  •  (1) Each member shall be appointed for a term not exceeding five years and holds office so long as he or she remains a superior court judge.

  • Marginal note:Reappointment of members

    (2) Each member, on the expiry of the first term of office, is eligible to be reappointed for one further term.

Marginal note:Role of Chairperson
  •  (1) The Chairperson has supervision over and direction of the work of the Tribunal, including

    • (a) the allocation of work among the members and the assignment of members to preside at hearings of the Tribunal; and

    • (b) the performance of the functions and duties of the Tribunal.

  • Marginal note:Powers of Chairperson

    (2) On application by a party, the Chairperson may order that

    • (a) specific claims be heard together or consecutively if they have issues of law or fact in common;

    • (b) a specific claim is, together with any other specific claim, subject to one claim limit under subsection 20(4); and

    • (c) specific claims be decided together if decisions with respect to the claims could be irreconcilable or if the claims are subject to one claim limit.

  • Marginal note:Absence or incapacity

    (3) If the office of Chairperson is vacant, or the Chairperson is absent or is for any reason unable to act, the powers of the Chairperson shall be exercised and the duties performed by the member who is the senior judge and is able and willing to act.

Marginal note:Acting after termination of appointment
  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), a judge who has ceased to be a member, for any reason other than removal, may, with the authorization of the Chairperson, perform and complete any functions or duties that they would otherwise have had if they had not ceased to be a member and that are in connection with any matter in which that judge became engaged while holding office as a member, and a judge so authorized is, for that purpose, deemed to be a member of the Tribunal.

  • Marginal note:Limitation period

    (2) No judge who has ceased to be a member may, after the expiry of 120 days after ceasing to be a member, take part in the disposition of any matter under the authority granted by the Chairperson under subsection (1).

Administration of the Tribunal

Marginal note:Registry
  •  (1) There shall be a Registry of the Tribunal consisting of an office in the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act.

  • Marginal note:Staff

    (2) The registrar and any staff that is required for the proper conduct of the work of the Tribunal shall be appointed in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.

  • Marginal note:Role of the registrar

    (3) The registrar is responsible for the management of the Tribunal’s administrative affairs and the duties of the staff of the Tribunal.

  • Marginal note:Organization

    (4) The staff of the Tribunal shall be organized and the offices shall be operated in any manner that may be provided by the rules referred to in subsection 12(1).

Functions, Powers and Duties

Marginal note:Functions
  •  (1) The Tribunal is responsible for holding hearings to decide the validity of specific claims and any compensation arising from those claims.

  • Marginal note:Hearings

    (2) A hearing before the Tribunal shall be held before a single member.

  • Marginal note:Decision

    (3) A decision of a member of the Tribunal is a decision of the Tribunal.

Marginal note:Rules of the Tribunal
  •  (1) A committee of no more than six Tribunal members, appointed by the Chairperson, may make general rules for carrying out the work of the Tribunal, the management of its internal affairs and the duties of its staff, as well as rules governing its practice and procedures, including rules governing

    • (a) the giving of notice;

    • (b) the presentation of the positions of the parties with respect to issues before the Tribunal and of matters of fact or law on which the parties rely in support of their positions;

    • (c) the summoning of witnesses;

    • (d) the production and service of documents;

    • (e) applications;

    • (f) discovery proceedings;

    • (g) the taking and preservation of evidence before the start of a hearing;

    • (h) case management, including pre-hearing conferences and the use of mediation;

    • (i) the introduction of evidence;

    • (j) the imposition of time limits; and

    • (k) costs.

  • Marginal note:Advisory committee

    (2) The committee referred to in subsection (1) may establish an advisory committee of interested parties to advise it in the development of the Tribunal’s rules of practice and procedure, including efficiencies.

  • Marginal note:Rules respecting costs

    (3) The Tribunal’s rules respecting costs shall accord with the rules of the Federal Court, with any modifications that the Tribunal considers appropriate.

  • Marginal note:Publication of rules

    (4) The Tribunal shall make its rules available to the public and, if possible, publish them in the First Nations Gazette.

  • Marginal note:Effect of failure to publish

    (5) Failure to publish the rules in the First Nations Gazette does not affect the validity of the rules.


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