Please note that this information has not been updated recently. For current information on urban reserves in Saskatoon, contact the Office of the City Solicitor, City of Saskatoon.

The Saskatoon experience

The City of Saskatoon was the first municipality in Canada to voluntarily participate in the creation of new reserve lands within City boundaries. As the former City Solicitor for the City of Saskatoon, I was extensively involved in developing the urban reserve agreements, and in dealing with the issues which arose.

The first urban reserve was a "stand-alone" reserve which was not attached to any existing reserve lands. It was created for the purpose of economic development by the Muskeg Lake First Nation and today boasts a variety of First Nation businesses.

The creation of the reserve involved the negotiation of agreements regarding issues such as sale of services, tax loss compensation and bylaw compatibility within an urban setting. It also required the development of an on-going working relationship between the Muskeg Lake First Nation and the City of Saskatoon. The success of the Saskatoon/Muskeg Lake experience was a significant factor in the creation of other urban reserves in cities across Saskatchewan.

New reserve lands under 'The Indian Act' continue to be created both within and adjacent to Saskatoon, as a result of the 1992 'Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement' land claims agreement.


In 1995 I wrote a national study published by the Intergovernmental Committee on Urban and Regional Research (ICURR) of Toronto, Ontario entitled 'The Impact of Aboriginal Land Claims and Self-Government on Canadian Municipalities'.

Included were three case studies from across Canada, a description of the Federal Additions to Reserve Policy, a comparison of the Saskatchewan and Yukon Land Claims Agreements, a survey of municipalities across Canada which have agreements with First Nations, and a summary of the key municipal issues regarding land claims.

An excerpt from this study is in the Resources section below.


Materials about urban reserves which can be downloaded from this site:

  • The Impact of Aboriginal Land Claims and Self-Government on Canadian Municipalities.

    This book was published by ICURR and the research was funded
    by them.
  • Common Questions About Urban Development Centres in Saskatchewan

    This article was written in 2006 in response to ongoing
    inquires about Saskatoon's experience.  It is not intended as
    legal advice but rather as general information on urban
  • Urban Neighbours - Land Entitlement and Urban Reserves

    This is the text of a speech which was presented at a
    Statistics Canada, Future Focus Conference in 1994 to people
    who were new to urban reserves.
  • Economic Development on Aboriginal Lands and Land Use Compatibility.

    This article, which focuses on the issue of land use, was
    first published by the International Municipal Lawyers Association
    of Washington DC and is reproduced here with their permission.