Ktunaxa Nation v British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2017 SCC 54 (November 30, 2017)

On November 2, 2017 the Supreme Court of Canada (“Court”) released its decision in Ktunaxa Nation v British Columbia. The case focused on whether the British Columbia Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations ( “Minister”) erred in approving a ski resort development, despite claims by the Ktunaxa Nation that the Jumbo Glacier ski resort would breach their constitutional right to freedom of religion and to protection of Aboriginal interests under s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

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R. v. Fred Elliott – 74 Year-Old Stz’uminus Elder’s Sentence in Unlawful Fish Sale Case Substantially Reduced on Appeal (July 7, 2016)

On February 25, 2014, Fred Reid Elliott, a 74-year-old elder of the Stz’uminus First Nation, was arrested and placed in handcuffs, and his boat and truck were seized, for selling prawns to an undercover Department of Fisheries (DFO) officer without a commercial licence. The arrest was the culmination of a nearly 7-month investigation that DFO insultingly referred to as “Operation Guppy”.

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Federal Jurisdiction Over Métis and Non-Status Aboriginal People Confirmed (May 12, 2016)

On April 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada declared that the federal government has jurisdiction over Métis and non-status Aboriginal people. The Court’s landmark decision, Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), 2016 SCC 12, ends a long-standing “jurisdictional tug-of-war” over which level of government has constitutional authority over these Aboriginal people. Prior to this case…

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Precedent setting case: SCC to hear appeal involving First Nation spiritual beliefs and religious rights (Apr. 14, 2016)

Ktunaxa Nation has one last opportunity to challenge the proposed Jumbo Glacier ski resort, this time in the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). Glacier Resort Ltd.’s planned development in the Jumbo Valley is in the heart of Qat’muk – a unique and sacred place for Ktunaxa and the Great Spirit Bear. On March 17, 2016, the SCC granted the Ktunaxa Nation leave to appeal the British Columbia Court of Appeal (BCCA) decision…

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Congratulations to the Tla’amin Nation (Apr. 8, 2016)

On April 5, 2016, the Tla’amin Nation became the eighth self-governing First Nation in British Columbia through the implementation of the Tla’amin Final Agreement. The implementation of this modern treaty with Canada and BC involved the passage of 21 Tla’amin laws and the largest electronic land title registration in the history of the province. After more than 20 years of negotiations, the Tla’amin Nation now controls more than 8,300 hectares of land in its traditional territory near Powell River…

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Tzeachten First Nation Matrimonial Real Property Law and Land Code considered in Kumagai v Campbell Estate, 2016 BCSC 450 (Apr. 8, 2016)

On March 15, 2016, the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its decision in Kumagai v Campbell Estate, 2016 BCSC 450. This is the first case to consider a First Nation’s Matrimonial Real Property (“MRP”) Law. It is an example of how a court may use valuation of Certificate of Possession (“CP”) lands and commercial interests on a Land Code reserve in MRP cases. We will be working with First Nations to carry out more analysis in relation to specific Land Codes and MRP Laws…

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Canada’s Failure to Negotiate Honourably (Feb 4, 2016)

On January 28, 2016, the Yukon Supreme Court released its decision in Taku River Tlingit First Nation v Canada (Attorney General), 2016 YKSC 7. The decision will be of interest to First Nations whose comprehensive claims have been accepted by Canada, but where progress has been impeded by Canada’s lack of willingness to move the negotiations forward…

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First Judicial Review of Northern Gateway Pipeline a Success (Jan. 19, 2016)

On January 13, 2016, the British Columbia Supreme Court released its decision in Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia (Environment), 2016 BCSC 34. The judgment is the first in a line of approximately 20 separate legal challenges against the Northern Gateway Pipeline. In finding for the Coastal First Nations and Gitga’at First Nation, the Court held that a 2010 provincial-federal Equivalency Agreement (the “Agreement”) was invalid because it removed the Province’s role of issuing an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the pipeline. Additionally, the Court found that the Province breached its duty…

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