News & Analysis as of

Aboriginal Issues

Court Confirms Power of Alberta Aboriginal Consultation Office to Decide Who Gets Consulted

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (Court) provided much-needed clarity about the role of the Alberta Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO) and the duty to consult in Alberta in its decision in Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation...more

Modern Treaty Rights Prevail Over Duty to Consult First Nations Asserting Aboriginal Rights

What happens when a First Nation asserts aboriginal rights or title that conflict with another First Nation’s rights under a modern treaty? In its recent decision, Gamlaxyeltxw v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests, Lands...more

B.C. Court Decision Provides Example of the State of Indigenous Law in Canada

Court decisions can often provide learning opportunities — they establish legal principles, apply those principles to certain facts, and illustrate relative trends, or stability, in the law. The recent decision of the B.C....more

Implementing UNDRIP? Federal Government Releases Draft Environmental Legislation

On February 8, 2018, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-69 to reform the federal environmental impact assessment process, replace the National Energy Board and amend the Navigation Protection Act. Two days earlier,...more

The maturation of the duty to consult: Top ten developments of 2017 in Canadian Aboriginal law

by Dentons on

2017 in Canadian Aboriginal law proved to be a watershed moment for the Crown’s duty to consult, with the confluence of a number of high-profile appellate decisions—including a new trilogy of consultation cases from the...more

American Citizen Secures Aboriginal Rights in Canada

The British Columbia Supreme Court (BCSC) affirmed in R. v. DeSautel (DeSautel) that the constitutional protection of aboriginal rights in s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 extends to an aboriginal group that resides in the...more

Canada Supports UNDRIP Implementation Bill

by Bennett Jones LLP on

On November 20, 2017, the federal government announced that it will support Private Member’s Bill C-262, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Bill C-232, An Act to ensure that the laws of...more

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

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...more

Aboriginal Water Rights, Mining—and the Law & Order Theme Song

by Bennett Jones LLP on

Normally reserved for major league baseball players as they enter the game to take the plate or the mound, lawyers are rarely introduced with walk-up songs. But at the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association’s 25th...more

Ktunaxa Nation: The Supreme Court returns to Haida first principles in dismissal of ski hill duty-to-consult case

by Dentons on

The Supreme Court of Canada (the “Court”) has rejected Crown consultation and spiritual-rights challenges brought by the Ktunaxa Nation (the “Ktunaxa”) against a proposed ski resort in B.C.’s Jumbo Valley area following a...more

Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia: The Duty to Consult and Protecting Religious Freedom Rights

by Bennett Jones LLP on

On November 2, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2017 SCC 54. This case dealt with a novel argument related to the...more

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

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...more

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

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...more

Supreme Court of Canada clarifies when regulatory bodies may be relied on to fulfill the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal...

by Dentons on

As the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) explained in Haida and Carrier Sekani, it is open to legislatures to empower regulatory bodies to play a role in fulfilling the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal peoples. Carrier Sekani...more

Making a constitutional case out of constructing pipelines

by Dentons on

In recent years, one of the most significant challenges faced by major pipeline projects has been the constitutional question of whether governments have satisfied their duty to consult Aboriginal groups as required by...more

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

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...more

Canadian Government's Proposal to Reform Canada's Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Regime

by Bennett Jones LLP on

On June 29, 2017, the federal government released a discussion paper entitled "Environmental and Regulatory Reviews" ("Discussion Paper"), which proposes broad changes to the federal environmental assessment and regulatory...more

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

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...more

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

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...more

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

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...more

Renewal road-maps—and rhetoric? Top ten developments of 2016 in Canadian Aboriginal law

by Dentons on

Opening against newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge of a “renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Aboriginal peoples,” 2016 was a year of great expectations for Canadian Aboriginal law....more

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

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...more

The Supreme Court of Canada’s Fall Term: the Internet Court?

by Bennett Jones LLP on

The Supreme Court of Canada’s Fall term, which began on October 3rd, could probably be labelled the “internet term”, with major cases involving both Google and Facebook. The Court will also be hearing a number of other cases...more

Federal Court of Appeal: Government Failed to Adequately Consult with First Nations on Northern Gateway

by Bennett Jones LLP on

On June 23, 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal delivered the Northern Gateway Project another procedural setback in its decision on Gitxaala Nation v Canada (2016 FCA 187). In a 2-to-1 split decision, the court overturned the...more

Alberta’s Metis Consultation Framework

by Dentons on

On April 4, 2016, the Government of Alberta (“GoA”) released The Government of Alberta’s Policy on Consultation with Metis Settlements on Land and Natural Resource Management, 2015 (the “Policy”) as well as The Government of...more

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