THE TREATY COMMISSION OF ONTARIO
Background: “Today, the 133 First Nation communities are located within the artificial boundaries of the Province of Ontario; within these boundaries also exists a complex interrelationship of treaty obligations, federal-provincial division of powers, statutory regimes, inherent jurisdiction, and constitutionally protected Aboriginal and Treaty rights; and a relationship where much reconciling must take place if peaceful coexistence is to be achieved.” (source: Chiefs of Ontario final submission to the Ipperwash Inquiry, Part 1 –July 2006)
The Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry recommended that provincial and First Nation governments should establish a permanent, independent, and impartial agency called the Treaty Commission of Ontario (TCO) to facilitate and over see the settling of land and treaty claims in Ontario. In light of this, the Chiefs in Assembly passed Resolution 08/65 – Creation of Chiefs Advisory and Technical Committees in the Area of the Treaty Commission and Reconciliation Fund) directing the Political Confederacy to create a Chiefs Advisory Committee (CAC) and a Technical Committee whose mandate would be to complete work necessary for the establishment of a Treaty Commission of Ontario. As Resolution 09/09 – Establishment of a Treaty Commission of Ontario further detailed, this included having the CAC scope out all aspects associated with the Commission, including its potential structure, mandate, and operation.
As the leadership made clear in Resolution 11/04 – Treaties –Unifying Our Approach, the Framework on a Treaty Commission in Ontario is an evolving document; intended to guide and assist the First Nations Ipperwash Task Force as its negotiates the form the Commission will take. To date, the Task Force has completed a TCO Interim Initiative to carry out the engagement process and assist First Nations to determine authority and powers of a TCO, based on Treaty regions.