Have you applied to join the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation

Find out more about the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation enrolment process and the Wells decision implementation.

Wells decision implementation

Implementation of the Wells Federal Court decision for applicants who were denied founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation in 2017 recently concluded. All of the decision letters were mailed to applicants on July 13, 2020.

Applicants who have not received their decision letter within a few weeks after the mail out are asked to verify their mailing address by calling the Government of Canada's Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation toll-free telephone line (1-800-561-2266: TTY: 1-800-465-7735).

Gregory Charles Collins v. Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians

On July 14, 2020, the Federal Court issued an order with respect to Notice of Certification of the class action in Court File No.: T-2044-19, Gregory Charles Collins v. The Attorney General of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.

More information on Collins vs.Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians can be found below.

Help for emotional distress

The Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians recognize that the Qalipu enrolment process has important implications for persons involved. If you are experiencing emotional distress and want to talk to someone, please 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

Are you part of the class action Gregory Charles Collins v. Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians?

What is the Collins class action

The class action is asking the court to:

  • set aside all rejections of applications for Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation band membership made under the 2013 supplemental agreement
  • grant membership to or establish a process to assess membership of all class members pursuant to the 2008 agreement

To consult the notice approved by the Federal Court:

Who is eligible

All individuals whose applications for Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation band membership were rejected in accordance with the 2013 supplement agreement.

For more information you may contact the class counsel:

Koskie Minsky LLP
Telephone: 1-800-315-5570,
Email: qalipuclassaction@kmlaw.ca,
Web: https://kmlaw.ca/cases/qalipu-mikmaq-first-nation-band-class-action

Status of the Wells decision implementation

A total of 7,199 requests for reassessment were received. Following a review by the Enrolment Committee, 582 applications passed the self-identification criterion. Of those, 294 were successfully assessed on the remaining criteria of group acceptance and ancestry.

On July 13, 2020, the Enrolment Committee mailed decision letters to applicants who submitted a request for reassessment.

Applicants who received an acceptance letter from the Enrolment Committee will have their name added to the Founding Members List, which will be recommended to the Governor in Council for approval in an upcoming Order in Council.

Applicants who received a denial letter from the Enrolment Committee will have the right to appeal the decision to the Appeal Master no later than September 14, 2020.

How the Wells decision was implemented

The Federal Court case Wells v. Canada (Attorney General) 2018 FC 483 challenged the denial of applications for founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation based on the self-identification criterion of the enrolment process.

On May 8, 2018, the Federal Court determined that:

  • the requirement to provide self-identification evidence that predates the 2008 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 file

If you submitted a request for reassessment after May 13, 2019, or the extended deadline of August 15, 2019, your file was not reassessed and your decision letter explains that you missed the deadline.

If you did not submit a request by May 13, 2019, or the extended deadline of August 15, 2019 because you were waiting for documents that you requested from Statistics Canada, your application for founding membership was not reassessed and the previous decision on your file stands.

Self-identification reassessment process

Text alternative for the self-identification reassessment process

The chart describes the outcomes of the self-identification reassessment process for the implementation of the Wells Federal Court decision.

Scenario 1
  • You applied for reassessment of your application for founding membership on or before May 13, 2019.
  • You did not meet the updated self-identification criterion.
  • After the self-identification reassessment period, the Enrolment Committee will send you a denial letter with the right to appeal the Enrolment Committee's decision to the Appeal Master.
Scenario 2
  • You applied for re-assessment of your application for founding membership on or before May 13, 2019.
  • You met the updated self-identification criterion.
  • You did not meet the criteria of group acceptance or ancestry.
  • After the reassessment period, the Enrolment Committee will send you a denial letter with the right to appeal the Enrolment Committee's decision to the Appeal Master.
Scenario 3
  • You applied for reassessment of your application for founding membership on or before May 13, 2019.
  • You met the updated self-identification criterion.
  • You met the criteria of group acceptance and ancestry.
  • After the reassessment period, the Enrolment Committee will send you an acceptance letter name. Your name will be added to the Founding Members List, which will be recommended to the Governor in Council for approval in an upcoming Order in Council.

Can you appeal the decision of the Enrolment Committee

If you receive a denial letter from the Enrolment Committee, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Appeal Master no later than September 14, 2020.

All appeals will be handled by the Appeal Master, a neutral and independent third party who was jointly selected by the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.

The Appeal Master will take into consideration:

  • your file that was used by the Enrolment Committee when reaching its decision
  • the reason or reasons you believe the Enrolment Committee erred in considering your application
  • the reason or reasons the Enrolment Committee denied your application
  • whether the documents you submitted meet the requirements of the reassessment process

No new documents will be considered in the appeals process.

If you receive a denial letter from the Enrolment Committee on the basis that you submitted a request for reassessment after May 13, 2019 or the extended deadline of August 15, 2019, you do not have the right to appeal the decision to the Appeal Master.

What to do if your address or other information has changed

If your address or other information has changed since your last correspondence, please call the Government of Canada's Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation toll-free telephone line (1-800-561-2266; TTY: 1-800-465-7735) or fax a signed letter to 1-204-984-3032.

Make sure to include:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your file number, if available, found at the upper-right corner of a letter from the Enrolment Committee
  • your previous and new mailing addresses
  • the effective date of your address change
  • your phone number
  • any other information you would like to update, such as name, gender or marital status

2020 updates to the Founding Members List

In total, the names of 300 applicants will be added to the Founding Members List, which will be recommended to the Governor in Council for approval in an upcoming Order in Council.

Next steps in the self-evaluation reassessment process

The following could take up to 12 months to conclude:

July 13, 2020

Enrolment Committee decisions are communicated to applicants.

Step 1

An updated Founding Members List will be finalized for approval by the Governor in Council.

This list will be submitted to the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada.

Step 2

The Minister will recommend this list to the Governor in Council.

Subject to its approval, the updated Founding Members List will take effect.

Step 3

The updated Founding Members List will be provided to the Indian Registrar, who will add these individuals to the Indian Register (gain of Indian Status).

Note: Founding Members will be registered under category 6(1)(b) of the Indian Act.

Step 4

Letters will be mailed to newly registered individuals to provide them with their registration number and with information on individual benefits and how to apply for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status (secure status card) should they require one.

What does it mean for you if your name is added to the Founding Members List

Once your name has been added to the Founding Members List and the updated list has been approved by the Governor in Council, you will be sent a letter from the Indian Registrar that:

When you receive your letter and Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document, you may apply for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status.

To find out more about Indian status and status cards, visit Indian status.

If you did not receive the July 13, 2020, letter containing the Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document, call the Government of Canada's Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation toll-free telephone line (1-800-561-2266; TTY: 1-800-465-7735).

Services and benefits

Once the Governor in Council approves the Founding Members List, your name will be added to the Indian Register. You will then be able to access services and benefits available to Status Indians, such as the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program and the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.

To find out more, visit:

Newly eligible persons

If your parent is newly registered as a Status Indian, you also may be entitled to registration. You will have to submit an application seeking registration under the Indian Act.

To find out more, visit Are you applying for Indian status.

Exploratory discussions

This initiative is separate from the Wells Federal Court decision on the self-identification reassessment process.

The Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians have committed to continue exploratory discussions regarding members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and other Mi'kmaq organizations named in the 2008 agreement, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who were denied founding membership based on the group acceptance criterion and who were involved in the enrolment process.

As the discussions progress, persons affected by this announcement will be contacted as further information becomes available.

Canada recognizes and deeply values the meaningful contributions of our veterans, Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP to the development of our nation, and honours the sacrifices made in the defence of freedom and the pursuit of world peace.

The Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians will continue to work together to address concerns around founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation while upholding the integrity of the Qalipu First Nation enrolment process.

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 people of Newfoundland.

In 2008, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, the group representing the Mi'kmaq people in that province, signed the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq Band (PDF) to establish a landless band for the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland.

As set out in the 2008 agreement, a person was eligible to be enrolled as a Founding Member if, in the assessment of the Enrolment Committee, that person:

Every applicant was required to provide objective evidence to establish their current and substantial connection to the Mi'kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland leading up to September 22, 2011, date of the Recognition Order.

In 2013, 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 Federation of Newfoundland Indians and the Government of Canada, completed the review of all applications in January 2017. Everyone 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 list from 2011 and was given to the Indian Registrar for action throughout summer 2018.

Persons who were newly eligible for founding membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation were registered as a Status Indian under the Indian Act and were sent a letter of confirmation dated July 31, 2018. On August 31, 2018, persons 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.

Results of the enrolment process to date

As a result of the 100,682 applications reviewed during the enrolment process, the Founding Members List now comprises 18,575 members with:

  • 13,479 remaining on the list
  • 5,096 added to the list

Of the 10,396 removed from the list in 2018, approximately 2,700 have had their registration category amended but remain a band member and retain their Indian status.

Applicants numbering 71,711 were denied founding membership, not having met the enrolment criteria.

Of the 57,757 persons eligible for reassessment following the implementation of the Wells Federal Court decision, a total of 7,199 applied, of which:

  • 294 passed the reassessment and their names will be added to the Founding Members List

Based on those numbers, the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation, with a membership of approximately 22,000, 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 people who live in Newfoundland and Labrador and 5% of people who live elsewhere in Canada, reflecting the intent of the 2008 agreement to establish a band composed of persons having a current and substantial connection to the Mi'kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland.

Current Mi'kmaq communities

Locations of Mi'kmaq groups of Indians in Newfoundland:

Related links

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