The Saskatchewan government is suspending auctions for sales and leases of Crown lands as it works to implement a revised Consultation Policy Framework with Indigenous groups.

Effective immediately, Ministry of Agriculture Crown land auction sales and lease auctions are being paused for two years to allow for implementation of Consultation Policy Framework policy changes. First Nation communities will continue to be able to purchase agricultural Crown land under their Treaty Land Entitlement and Specific Claims agreements. Note that existing agriculture Crown land lessees can continue to apply to purchase their leased lands,” stated a press release from the province.

First Nations and the New Democrats have been staunchly opposed to Crown land sales and leases, with the Onion Lake Cree Nation threatening legal action.

“The loss of use due to Crown Land leases that are up to 33 years result in the unjustifiable infringement of our Treaty Rights to meaningfully hunt, trap, fish, harvest and gather on our traditional territories,” explained Okimaw Henry Lewis in January.

As part of the framework being released today, the province has developed a new Duty to Consult Assessment Chart, which outlines when decisions or actions trigger Duty to Consult requirements.

Timelines for government response have been shortened and consultation timelines for communities have been increased to support participation and reduce the need for extensions,” the release said.

Consultations with First Nations, Metis, industry and communities began in the summer of 2022.

The province is targeting January for implementation of the revised Consultation Policy Framework.