CANADA & WORLD Indigenous claims costs on the rise
Last year’s public accounts estimated feds would have to pay out nearly $20B
OTTAWA—The federal government’s forthcoming annual public accounts will release a trove of numbers that will show how much more Ottawa expects to pay to settle billions of dollars in legal claims made by Indigenous Peoples and their communities.
The contingent liabilities section in last year’s public accounts estimated Ottawa would eventually have to pay out a total of nearly $20 billion to cover 70 outstanding comprehensive Indigenous land claims, 528 smaller specific claims and thousands of other cases of litigation, including those related to the legacy of residential schools. In recent years, the federal public accounts have gradually raised the contingent liability estimates for each of these types of claims. Combined, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde pauses while speaking to a delegate during the AFN annual general assembly on July 26.
the public accounts pegged them at a combined $18.4 billion in 2016, $16.6 billion in 2015 and less than $14.5 billion in 2014.
Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, wants the Auditor General and other fiscal economists to help gauge just how
much of a hit these claims will be for Ottawa.
“I don’t exactly know how they’re quantifying that right now,” Bellegarde said of the federal assessments.