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We are one of Canada's most experienced law firms working for First Nations clients to:
  • Assert, protect and litigate Aboriginal rights and title to land and resources.
  • Provide legal expertise for economic development & corporate organization.
  • Provide effective advice on Band Governance issues.
  • Negotiate treaties, strategic partnerships and other agreements.
  • Utilize all available tax exemptions.
  • Ensure productive employment relationships and reduce employment liabilities.

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Woodward & Company
844 Courtney Street 
2nd Floor
Victoria, BC V8W 1C4
P: (250) 383-2356
F: (250) 380-6560
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Update on Tsilhqot’in & Keewatin Appeals

Thursday Apr 03, 2014
By David M. Robbins

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on aboriginal title in the Tsilhqot’in Nation appeal is expected in 2014. It will be of great significance to aboriginal peoples. One important issue in particular the Court may decide upon is whether the division of federal and provincial Crown powers under Constitution Act, 1867 means aboriginal title is immune from a Province’s legislation - in this case, whether Tsilhqot’in Nation aboriginal title is immune from British Columbia’s Forest Act.

Of note, on May 15, 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to hear the Keewatin appeal that stands to raise a very similar question. An issue that may be decided in Keewatin is whether the division of federal and provincial powers under Constitution Act, 1867 means treaty rights are immune from a Province’s legislation - in that case, whether Treaty No. 3 rights are immune from Ontario’s forestry legislation.

In sum, these two appeals overlap as to whether the Provinces have any jurisdiction to infringe the aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada protected by s. 35 of Constitution Act, 1982. Thus, the Court’s decision in Keewatin may also be of significance to aboriginal peoples in BC, even those with aboriginal rather than treaty rights.

We will keep you posted as the Keewatin case moves forward. On March 26, 2014 the Court granted the Cowichan Tribes, as represented by Woodward & Co., leave to intervene in the appeal. Likewise, the Court granted British Columbia leave to intervene.


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