Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation enrolment process update
Find out more about the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation enrolment process.
Help for emotional distress
The Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians recognize that the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation enrolment process has important implications for persons involved. If you are experiencing emotional distress and want to talk to someone, call the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or use their new online chat counseling service, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
On this page
- Exploratory discussions and reconsideration initiative
- If you are a member of the Gregory Charles Collins v. Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians class action
- About the creation of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation
Exploratory discussions and reconsideration initiative
The Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians held exploratory discussions as announced in November 2018 regarding persons who were involved in the enrolment process but were denied founding membership based on group acceptance.
The discussions focused on:
- former and current members of the
- Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
- members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and their affiliates
Former and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
A service members agreement was developed by the Government of Canada, the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians to establish criteria for accepting former and current members of the CAF and the RCMP as Qalipu founding members based on the special place of honour they hold in the Mi'kmaw culture as protectors of Canada and their communities. The agreement applies to persons who were part of the enrolment process between 2008 and 2012 but were denied founding membership based on the group acceptance criterion.
The agreement applies to persons who had applied for founding membership and who were denied enrolment as founding member under the 2008 agreement and who, on September 22, 2011, were or had been:
- officers or non-commissioned members of the CAF serving in the Regular Force or the Primary Reserve after completing basic training, including those honourably released
- serving in the Canadian Rangers, including those honourably released
- police officers of the RCMP, including special constables and reservists appointed pursuant to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, excluding those dismissed with cause
- applicants for founding membership under the 2008 agreement
Persons denied based on the group acceptance criterion will be receiving a letter in the coming days, including
- a declaration form
- an acknowledgement and release form
To have your application considered, you must respond to that letter and provide proof of your service by submitting documentation to demonstrate group acceptance under the terms of the new agreement, establishing that you became a member of the CAF or the RCMP on or before September 22, 2011, date of the formation of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation.
If you were no longer a member of the CAF or the RCMP on September 22, 2011, provide:
- the date your service ceased
- the reason for the cessation of your service, for example, voluntary or compulsory retirement or release, disability
To be considered, you must:
- complete the declaration form
- sign the declaration form and the acknowledgement and release form
- provide certified true copies of acceptable documentation that proves you were a member of the CAF or the RCMP on or before September 22, 2011
- send the documents to
Indigenous Services Canada
Winnipeg MB R3C 0M9
Your response must be postmarked no later than March 17, 2023
If you don't respond by that date, the Enrolment Committee or the Appeal Master won't consider your application further. The existing decision of the Enrolment Committee to reject your application for founding membership will remain in effect.
If you've reached out to either the CAF or the RCMP and are waiting for documentation to be sent to you, you must advise the Enrolment Committee before the deadline by providing a certified true copy of the email you submitted. Special consideration will then be given and you won't be penalized.
All documents must be certified true copies.
A certified true copy is a photocopy of a document, judgment or record that is signed and attested to as an accurate and complete reproduction of the original document by a notary public, commissioner of oaths or any other public official authorized to accept affirmation or oaths in the province, state, or country in which you live.
- CAF release certificate, detailing the category for release
- military personnel document, for active CAF members only
- identification card issued by the CAF
- Veteran's Service Card, for former CAF members
- certificate of service, for former CAF members
- service number, for former and current members of the CAF and the RCMP
- statement of employment issued by the RCMP indicating date service began and, if applicable, reason for and date of service cessation
- service card issued by the RCMP indicating date service began
- other documents that include the department of service, dates of service and, if applicable, reason for release will be referred to be the implementation committee for determination on acceptability
If you don't have any of those documents, please contact the CAF or the RCMP directly:
We encourage you to send as many documents as possible.
Acknowledgement and release
Applicants who are members of the class proceeding certified before the Federal Court entitled Collins v. The Attorney General of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and bearing Court File No. T-2044-19 can continue participating in the class action, subject to the terms of the acknowledgment and release as referenced in Chapter 6 of the service members agreement.
Specifically, the acknowledgement and release will require applicants who are members of the class action to acknowledge that any damages, expenses, and/or losses, incurred or being incurred, that they can claim as class action members, cease to accrue as of the date the recognition order is amended to make them a founding member.
For applicants who aren't members of the class action, acknowledgement and release will require them to release the Government of Canada, the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation, and their respective officers, councillors, directors, servants, employees or agents, from, without any exception, all causes of action, claims, and demands relating to the applicant seeking registration under the Indian act, including through and/or in relation to the enrolment process for founding membership in Qalipu as outlined in the 2008 agreement and the supplemental agreement, and any failure to provide the applicant with benefits comparable to those available to other persons registered under the Indian Act.
Acknowledgement and release will only come into effect as of the date the applicant becomes a founding member, which is the date that the recognition order is amended to add to the founding members list of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation the names of applicants who were successful under the service members agreement.
If you have any questions about the impact acknowledgment and release may have on your rights or entitlements in the class action, contact the class counsel:
- Telephone: 1-800-315-5570
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The documents provided will be sent to the enrolment committee for assessment and decision. Decisions will be communicated in the summer of 2023 and will provide information on next steps.
Note that if an applicant's Canadian Indian ancestry was not assessed previously, it will be reviewed from their original application package.
Members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and their affiliates
Due to the active litigation on enrolment, the decision to pause further discussions on a potential reconsideration for founding membership for applicants who held a membership in the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and their affiliates is maintained.
If you are a member of the Gregory Charles Collins v. Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians class action
The Collins class action
The Federal Court of Appeal certified this proceeding as a class action (PDF, 731 KB) and appointed Gregory Charles Collins as the representative of all persons whose Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation membership application was rejected under the terms of the supplemental agreement.
The class action lawsuit claims that the establishment and implementation of the supplemental agreement was unlawful. It also claims that Canada breached its fiduciary duties to the class members under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by establishing and implementing the supplemental agreement for unlawful or improper purposes. The lawsuit seeks:
- the setting aside of the rejection of applications pursuant to the supplemental agreement
- the consideration or reconsideration of applications pursuant to the agreement
- damages for breach of fiduciary duties and violations of class members' Charter rights, among other monetary remedies
To consult the notice approved by the Federal Court, visit Was your application for membership to the Qalipu Mi'kmaq Band rejected.
Who is eligible
All persons whose application for Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation membership was rejected under the supplemental agreement are eligible unless they opted out of the class action by January 14, 2021.
To find out more, contact the class counsel:
Koskie Minsky LLP
Web: Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band Class Action
About the creation of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation
The creation of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation is an important step forward for the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland.
In 2008, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, the group representing the Mi'kmaq in that province, signed the agreement for the recognition of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation to establish a landless band for the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland.
As set out in the agreement, a person was eligible to be enrolled as a founding member if, in the assessment of the enrolment committee, that person:
- is of Canadian Indian ancestry
- is a member of a Newfoundland pre-confederation Mi'kmaq community or a descendent of such a person
- was not on the Indian Register on September 22, 2011, date of the recognition order
- was alive on September 22, 2011, date of the recognition order
- self-identified as a member of the Mi'kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland on September 22, 2011, date of the recognition order
- was accepted by the Mi'kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland as a member of the Mi'kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland on September 22, 2011, date of the recognition order
Every applicant needed to provide evidence to establish their current and substantial connection to the Mi'kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland up to September 22, 2011, date of the recognition order.
In 2013, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians signed a supplemental agreement as the way forward to assess the overwhelming number of applications for founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation and to resolve issues that emerged in the implementation of the enrolment process.
The enrolment committee, equally represented by the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, completed the review of all applications in January 2017. Anyone who filed an appeal would have received a decision by mid-April 2018.
The enrolment and appeal processes concluded in April 2018 when the enrolment committee provided an updated founding members list to the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.
The order in council came into force on June 25, 2018. The founding members list replaced the 2011 list and was given to the Registrar for action throughout the summer of 2018.
Applicants who were newly eligible for founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation were registered under the Indian Act and were sent a confirmation letter dated July 31, 2018.
On August 31, 2018, those who no longer met the criteria for founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation either had their names deleted from the Indian Register or, if they were a child of a founding member, underwent a registration category amendment.
The Wells Federal Court case challenged the denial of applications for founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation based on the self-identification criterion.
On May 8, 2018, the Court determined that:
- the need to provide self-identification evidence that predates the agreement in order to fulfill the self-identification criterion was not reasonable
- applicants should be provided with the right to appeal the decision made on their application
Of the newly eligible applicants, a total of 7,199 requested reassessment. Following a review by the enrolment committee, 582 applicants met the self-identification criterion. Of those, 296 were successfully assessed on the remaining criteria of group acceptance and ancestry.
Results of the enrolment process to date
As a result of the 100,682 applications reviewed during the enrolment process, the founding members list was updated in 2018 to comprise 18,575 members with:
- 13,479 remaining on the list
- 5,096 added to the list
Of the 10,396 removed from the previous list, approximately 2,700 had their registration category amended but remained a band member.
Applicants numbering 71,711 were denied founding membership, not having met the enrolment criteria.
With the 2021 updates, the founding members list was comprised of 18,877 persons.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, a review process was completed by the enrolment committee on the basis of disability and residency. Of those who applied for consideration under those initiatives, 113 applicants were added to the founding members list through the 2022 amendment to the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band Order approved by the Governor in Council.
Based on those numbers, the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation, with a membership of 25,114, will continue to be the second largest First Nation by population in Canada. It is anticipated that approximately 95% of the membership will be comprised of persons who live in Newfoundland and Labrador and 5% of persons who live elsewhere in Canada, reflecting the intent of the agreement to establish a band composed of persons having a current and substantial connection to the Mi'kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland.