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Eskasoni First Nation and Canada announce new Addition to Reserve

Press Release

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

November 14, 2023

Today, Eskasoni First Nation and the Government of Canada announced the signing of a conditional ministerial order for an Addition to Reserve to the First Nations community. Once the land transfer is completed, 85.5 hectares will be added to the community’s land base. Parliamentary Secretary Jaime Battiste, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, joined Chief Leroy Denny for the announcement.

Additions to Reserve and reserve creation are part of the Government of Canada’s overall efforts to help advance reconciliation by facilitating First Nations self-determination, self-governance and self-sufficiency.

The land is part of a larger land donation by Dr. Mohan Virick, who practised family medicine in the community for decades.

The new territory is intended primarily for future commercial development purposes, encouraging regional revitalization and economic development, benefitting the Eskasoni community and neighbouring municipalities.

Access to land is at the core of a healthy and thriving community. Land allows for community development; infrastructure, including housing; opportunities for economic growth; and restoration of culture and tradition. This Addition to Reserve provides Eskasoni First Nation with a greater land base, contributing to regional revitalization, and creating community and economic development opportunities for generations to come.


“Very exciting day for my community, as we announce the new addition to our reserve land. We gracefully accept the addition to our reserve! This is a huge stepping stone for my community, with this expansion it comes to us at the perfect time. A community of 5,000 people, we have outgrown our community. I am excited for new ventures, more residential and commercial spaces, and future opportunities.”

Chief Leroy Denny
Eskasoni First Nation

“Mi’kmaw people have walked these lands for many thousands of years. Putting the tools in place to support the Mi’kmaq here in Eskasoni to reclaim these lands is an important step in advancing reconciliation. The economic growth opportunities will also help close socio-economic gaps, creating a healthier, more prosperous community now and into the future.”

Jaime Battiste
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Supporting the growth and future success of Indigenous communities is critical in advancing reconciliation and self-determination. Additions to Reserve enable First Nations to build more sustainable and resilient communities. The future commercial development of this land will no doubt benefit Eskasoni First Nation for generations to come.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Today, we recognize Eskasoni First Nation’s hard work in finalizing this Addition to Reserve. This is the direct result of the community’s leadership. I look forward to seeing the future development of this land and the jobs and economic development it will create for the community.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • Eskasoni First Nation is a Mi’kmaw community with a registered population of approximately 4,760, with approximately 4,000 people living on the reserve.
  • The community is within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia, approximately 40 km from Sydney.
  • A reserve is a parcel of land where legal title is held by the Government of Canada for the use and benefit of a particular First Nation.
  • An Addition to Reserve is the addition of a parcel of land to a First Nation’s existing reserve land or an addition that creates a new reserve.
  • Land can be added adjacent to the existing reserve land or separate from the existing reserve land, and it can be located in a rural or an urban setting.
  • First Nations and Indigenous organizations have highlighted that the current Additions to Reserve Policy and process is too slow, and that the need for transformative change is long overdue. To ensure the needs and priorities of First Nations communities are addressed, the Government of Canada, First Nations and partners representing or providing services to First Nations are working together to redesign the Additions to Reserve Policy.
  • A call for proposals was launched earlier this year with the objective of collecting, through engagement, various perspectives and solutions that will result in the redesign of the Additions to Reserve Policy.

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