Saugeen Shores and SON Finalize Settlement Agreement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
Saugeen Shores and Saugeen Ojibway Nation Finalize Settlement Agreement
The Town of Saugeen Shores and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) have reached an out of court resolution to Saugeen Shore’s involvement in SON’s long-standing legal action in relation to parts of the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula.
SON launched the claim approximately 25 years ago. The claim went to trial in 2019. SON and Saugeen Shores reached an agreement on September 21, 2021, to settle the claim with respect to Saugeen Shores. SON’s claim against the federal, provincial and other municipal governments is continuing, with appeals recently filed at the Ontario Court of Appeal
The full terms of the settlement between Saugeen Shores and SON are confidential. However, some highlights can be shared. The Town of Saugeen Shores has provided approximately 1.7 hectares of municipal property, financial compensation and a commitment for ongoing municipal support for housing development. The Town of Saugeen Shores is also acknowledging the need for reconciliation and protection of the Indigenous significance of other lands in the Summerside development that were recently transferred to the Town. Saugeen Shores will work with SON to rename these lands in the Summerside development.
“We are pleased to close this chapter of our land claim.” said Chief Lester Anoquot (Saugeen First Nation). “Through cooperation, and a spirit of listening and joint respect, we have been able to arrive at an agreement with Saugeen Shores that supports a strong relationship between our communities.”
Chief Veronica Smith (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) added: “Reconciliation is an ongoing process, but each step forward is important and significant. This resolution has strengthened the partnership with our neighbours at the Town of Saugeen Shores and is a positive step forward in our journey together on our traditional lands.”
“The Town is learning more and more about how we can do better by our First Nations friends and partners. This agreement, and our process to get here, represent what’s possible and have reminded us that still more needs to be done,” said Mayor of the Town of Saugeen Shores, Luke Charbonneau. “We are grateful to have worked in collaboration with SON to find a resolution we all support.”
In 2022, the Town looks forward to working with SON on renaming initiatives and to jointly acknowledge our commitment to reconciliation by investing in the property.
For media inquiries contact:
Environment Office | Saugeen Ojibway Nation
Kurt Kivell, Communications Manager
Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP (legal counsel to Saugeen Ojibway Nation)
Cathy Guirguis, Partner
Town of Saugeen Shores
Kara Van Myall, Chief Administrative Officer
Donnelly Murphy Lawyers PC (legal counsel to the Town of Saugeen Shores)
Gregory Stewart, Partner
SON is made up of two First Nations – the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation – with a shared history and ancestry. SON’s traditional homelands – or its territory – includes the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula and about 1 ½ million acres of land to the south of it, stretching from Goderich to Collingwood.
SON launched a claim related to some of the lands on the Peninsula 25 years ago against Canada and Ontario. The case is about the actions of the British Crown who, in 1836, pressed SON to surrender 1.5 million acres of its lands south of Owen Sound. In exchange, SON says that the Crown made an important promise: to protect the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula for SON, forever. But, 18 years later the Crown came back for a surrender of the Peninsula.
SON’s legal action says that this was a breach of the duty the Crown owed to SON, and that the Crown misled SON in the negotiations leading up to the surrender. It seeks the return of lands on the Peninsula that are still owned by Ontario or Canada or have not been bought and paid for by third parties. As such, SON’s claim also includes some municipal road allowances and shore road allowances. That includes roads owned by Saugeen Shores.
An agreement between Saugeen Shores and SON would settle the portion of the claim against Saugeen Shores, but the claim will continue against Canada, Ontario and other municipalities.
The trial began in April 2019, and closing arguments were heard in October 2020. To date, no decision has been released.