Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today and to answer questions.
Maybe I can take these in reverse order and follow up on some of the questions that arose when we were here last time with the minister.
On thinking through and planning how this would play out in the communities, there are a number of issues that are useful to keep in mind that we've tried to think through as we've gone through this set of scenarios.
There is already some knowledge and experience in this area. It's not entirely new. Despite section 67, first nations have had the Canadian Human Rights Act apply in some aspects of their operations and work until now. We understand there are 35 to 50 cases a year in some areas under the CHRA, so it's not as if we're in a situation where we're going from an absolute lack of application in all aspects of first nations business to full application. We do have some baseline data there. On that front, I thought a couple of issues might be useful to go through.
Currently, about 60 potential complaints involving first nations are received each year by the CHRC. This is data we have from our research with them, rather than departmental data. Of course, people can submit complaints, and one of the procedural issues is that the commission decides whether or not to accept them. On average, 60 a year are made and 40 a year are retained for further review. I can't speak to the actual disposition of those ultimately, but something like 40 go to subsequent steps.
Complaints that are filed against first nations are different, from what we understand. For example, 15% are on the basis of disability compared to over 40% in the rest of the caseload the CHRC sees. About 12% are on family status compared to about 4% in the rest of the population, if you look at the types of complaints the CHRC receives.
From the information we have, complaints against first nations are more likely to be settled than other complaints. That's consistent with a number of the comments first nations have made about the importance of being able to deal with issues outside the traditional litigation processes. They are less likely to be referred, but they are more likely to be sent on to a tribunal once they are referred to the commission. About 14% end up going to a tribunal, as opposed to 4% in the rest of the business the commission deals with. So there is a certain body of experience so far that we can actually take a look at.
Again, this isn't entirely new. Certainly there are some significant changes here, but it's a good baseline.
Self-governing first nations are, of course, subject to the Canadian Human Rights Act, so we've taken a look at that as well. There was not an enormous influx of complaints launched the moment the gates were lifted, as it were—when it ceased to be an Indian Act regime and went to a self-governing regime. That would be a significant issue in the Yukon and some other places around the country.
The other part we looked at and thought through is that the federal government, and most particularly first nations governments, are already subject to litigation in any number of areas that give rise to CHRC complaints. We have looked at the fact that first nations governments already need to deal very much in an environment where their decisions are subject to not only political review by the citizens of the first nation but to potential litigation as well, and that litigation does come. One of the key differences in the context of the CHRC and the CHRA is that there's a built-in mechanism to have a very different type of mediation in informal processes that you simply don't have built into most civil litigation contexts.
The impact of the repeal flows naturally into federal government machinery. Daniel Ricard, who is here with me, is our director general of the litigation management resolution branch. We handle over 1,000 cases at any given time.
We have mechanisms in the federal government to deal with these things, but I'm aware that first nations and aboriginal groups that have spoken are not as concerned with the department's ability to handle this as they are about their own.
When we think this through and look at the CHRC in its 30 years of experience in managing these types of situations, complaints, and processes, we recognize that first nations already have some significant systems of dispute resolution in place in some cases. We wonder sometimes if that has had an impact on the increased level of being able to resolve issues at the community level that the CHRC has found, as opposed to what we see in other circumstances.