Category: Aboriginal Law

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Yukon Must Follow Land Use Planning Process from Umbrella Final Agreement, SCC Rules

December 4, 2017

On December 1, 2017, in First Nations of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon (Nacho Nyak Dun), the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) overturned a Yukon government decision to open the Peel watershed for development and significantly modify the Peel Watershed Planning Commission’s (Commission) final recommended plan (Plan). The SCC ruled that the final agreements with a number of First Nations,…

Supreme Court Rejects First Nation’s Spiritual Objection to Ski Resort

November 3, 2017

On November 2, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) ruled in Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) that a decision to approve the Jumbo Glacier Resort did not violate the Ktunaxa Nation’s (Ktunaxa) right to freedom of religion and did not breach the Crown’s duty to consult. The decision focuses on the reciprocal obligations…

Claimants of Aboriginal Title Over Private Lands Not Required to Notify Affected Landowners

September 26, 2017

In two decisions from September 2017, the British Columbia Supreme Court (Court) addressed the issue of whether to require a claimant for aboriginal title to serve formal notice on private registered owners of fee simple lands. In Cowichan Tribes v. Canada (Attorney General) (Cowichan Tribes) and The Council of the Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Council of the Haida Nation),…

SCC Confirms the Role of Regulatory Tribunals in Aboriginal Consultation

July 27, 2017

On July 26, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released two decisions on the role of the National Energy Board (NEB) and other regulatory tribunals in aboriginal consultation: Clyde River (Hamlet) v. Petroleum Geo‑Services Inc. (Clyde River) and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v. Enbridge Pipelines Inc. (Chippewas). The decisions are significant in clarifying the law in relation…

Ontario Court Overturns Quarry Licence Due to Government Failure to Adequately Consult First Nations

July 20, 2017

The Ontario Divisional Court (Court) has set aside a quarry licence issued to a private company on the basis that the Ontario government failed to fulfil its constitutional obligation to consult with local First Nations impacted by the project. The Court’s July 14, 2017 decision in Saugeen First Nation v. Ontario (MNRF) provides valuable guidance as to the scope of…

Quebec Court Rules on the Role of Social Acceptability in the Project Approval Process

July 6, 2017

On June 21, 2017, the Superior Court of Québec (Court) ruled against Ressources Strateco inc. (Strateco) in a decision that addresses the issue of social acceptability in the context of project approvals in Northern Quebec. In Ressources Strateco inc. c. Procureure générale du Québec, the Court rejected Strateco’s claim for approximately C$200-million in damages, including punitive damages, against the Attorney…

B.C. Court Denies First Nations Injunction Request to Stop Development Pending Resolution of Action

June 15, 2017

On May 31, 2017, the British Columbia Supreme Court (Court) in Yahey v. British Columbia (Yahey) denied a second injunction application by Blueberry River First Nations (BRFN) to limit future development in certain portions of their traditional territory pending resolution of an underlying infringement claim. The decision demonstrates the reluctance of Canadian courts to issue “all-or-nothing” injunctive relief as an…

Expert Panel’s Recommendations to Increase the Number, Cost and Timing of Federal Environmental Assessments

April 13, 2017

On April 5, 2017, the federal environmental assessment (EA) expert panel released its report, Building Common Ground: A New Vision for Impact Assessment in Canada. The report recommends broadening the scope of assessments to include environmental, economic, social, cultural and health impacts. Only projects that contribute a net positive benefit to present and future generations would be approved. The report’s recommendations…

Beyond Borders: B.C. Court Rules U.S. Resident Has Aboriginal Right to Hunt in Canada

April 10, 2017

On March 27, 2017, in an unprecedented decision, the Provincial Court of British Columbia (Court) ruled in R. v. DeSautel (DeSautel) to recognize the aboriginal rights of a First Nation whose members reside in the United States and to allow for the exercise of those rights in Canada. BACKGROUND On October 1, 2010, the defendant, Mr. DeSautel, shot an elk…

Blakes Annual Aboriginal Law Update

February 23, 2017

Aboriginal issues continue to have significant influence on energy, mining, infrastructure and other projects in Western Canada. As a result, aboriginal law is key to driving change. Understanding recent legal and policy developments is critical to assessing risks and opportunities, and implementing successful business strategies. This seminar discusses the current status of aboriginal law and its impact on business. Topics:…

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