Supreme Court of Canada Clarifies (some of) the Limits of the Duty to Consult

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On October 28, 2010, the nine justices of Supreme Court of Canada issued a unanimous judgment in the Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. and British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, 2010 SCC 43 appeal that confirmed the decision of the British Columbia Utilities Commission (the “Commission”) to accept the 2007 Electricity Purchase Agreement between BC Hydro and Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. for filing.

The decision is important for what it says about (i) when the Crown duty to consult with Aboriginal groups is triggered—and when it is not; and (ii) the role of administrative tribunals.

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