Category: Aboriginal Law

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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:…

Federal Court of Appeal Says There is No Duty to Consult on Legislation

December 23, 2016

Does the Crown have a duty to consult when contemplating and introducing legislation that may adversely impact aboriginal rights? In its recent decision in Canada (Governor General in Council) v. Courtoreille, the Federal Court of Appeal (Court) said no, but the Court’s decision may not be the last word on the topic. BACKGROUND Chief Steve Courtoreille, on behalf of himself…

The Indigenous Experience in Corporate Canada

October 24, 2016

Blakes, together with OPG, RBC and TD, hosted a dynamic and insightful panel discussion with professionals of indigenous backgrounds. Our panellists shared their personal stories and experiences working within corporate Canada. They offered their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges for indigenous people working in corporations and the initiatives organizations can undertake to help foster an inclusive and supportive environment. Panel members…

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