Certainty of legal boundaries for settled land claims is realized through the Canada Lands Survey System. This system provides the professional standards and regulations for the survey work and the registry for legal survey plans necessary for land transactions. Aboriginal land claims are one of many types of lands supported by the Canada Lands Survey System. Natural Resources Canada, through its Surveyor General Branch has the legislated responsibility to regulate all legal surveys on Canada Lands.
The Surveyor General Branch has been significantly involved with the implementation of Comprehensive Land Claims in Northern Canada since the late 1970’s and will continue until completed.
Comprehensive Land Claims deal with the unfinished business of treaty-making in Canada. These claims arise in areas of Canada where Aboriginal land rights have not been dealt with by past treaties or through other legal means. In these areas, forward-looking modern treaties are negotiated between the Aboriginal group, Canada and the province or territory.
The Branch’s responsibility in the implementation of Comprehensive Land Claims is to meet Canada’s obligation with respect to the definition of the extent of land as negotiated within the respective comprehensive claim. More than 99% of the surveying required for the comprehensive claims is carried out by private land surveying companies. These survey programs are the largest legal surveys undertakings in Canada since the settling of the West.
The North covers 40% of Canada's land mass. With world-class mineral, oil and gas deposits, the North is a place of incredible economic opportunity for northerners and all Canadians. The surveys of the land provide greater certainty over rights to land and resources therefore contributing to a positive investment climate and greater potential for economic development and growth.
Progress in meeting various current Land Claim Agreement survey obligations are captured in the results section of the Surveyor General Branch’s Annual Reviews. Find out more about Land Claims on Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s web site.