Abstract Over the last thirty years, Aboriginal peoples, forestry companies and governments in Canada have developed a wide variety of arrangements and mechanisms aimed at fostering collaboration and establishing an increasing Aboriginal role in managing and harvesting forestlands. This paper seeks to facilitate the analysis and investigation of various forms of collaboration by presenting a typology based upon institutional arrangements and desired outcomes. Development of the typology followed an iterative process of categorisation, description, testing and revision, using scientific and grey literature combined with testing against an ever-widening number of communities; firstly in Quebec, then in six provinces and finally with 474 communities across the country. We identify five principal forms of collaborative arrangement, each with a number of sub-types: treaties and other formal agreements that establish roles and responsibilities; planning and management activities; influence on decision-making; forest tenures; and economic roles. The application and utility of this typology is illustrated through the examples of four communities, each of which is engaged in several different collaborative arrangements. The typology demonstrates the variety of arrangements that are available to encourage Aboriginal involvement in Canada's forest sector while also provided a basis for future work in comparing the benefits of different arrangements or in analysing the effectiveness of policies.