Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Release of New Additions to Reserve Policy for Public Comment

OTTAWA, July 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo commented on the Government of Canada's release of a new policy on Additions to Reserve (ATR) for public comment:

"First Nations have been calling for improvements to Canada's Additions to Reserve policy for decades and now, after several years of joint effort by the Assembly of First Nations and the Government of Canada, a new policy is finally being unveiled for review and comment," said National Chief Atleo. "The ability of First Nations to create new reserves for economic development, to accommodate community growth or for cultural and other reasons is absolutely essential but very difficult under the old policy. We need an approach that makes it quicker and easier for First Nations to acquire new lands as reserves. First Nations and the public now have an opportunity to review and comment on this new proposed policy so that it achieves those goals."

The AFN has been mandated for the past 3 years by Chiefs-in-Assembly to work with the Government of Canada on changes to the ATR policy, one which First Nations have found too cumbersome, lengthy and unresponsive to their needs. "We can look to this approach as a way forward in other key areas such as addressing landless band issues, dealing with large specific claims, and the development of a policy to implement modern-day treaties and land claims. These are all issues that could be meaningfully resolved through a collaborative policy process that engages First Nations directly."

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister committed to a new high-level process to review the comprehensive claims policy. "First Nations are looking to this new process to confirm recognition and reconciliation as the foundation for change and the delivery of expeditious, fair comprehensive claims settlements," noted National Chief Atleo. "Resolving these major land issues will help Canada address its outstanding lawful obligations, foster prosperity for First Nations and deliver the certainty needed for sustainable economic development. This benefits First Nations and all Canadians."

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations

For further information:

Please contact:

Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director 613-292-2787 or dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca


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